With the rise of multibusiness enterprises in the 20th century, companies began to struggle with managing a number of business units profitably. In response, management thinkers developed frameworks to address this new complexity. One that arose in the early 1970s was the GE–McKinsey nine-box framework, following on the heels of the Boston Consulting Group’s well-known growth share matrix.
The nine-box matrix offers a systematic approach for the decentralized corporation to determine where best to invest its cash. Rather than rely on each business unit’s projections of its future prospects, the company can judge a unit by two factors that will determine whether it’s going to do well in the future: the attractiveness of the relevant industry and the unit’s competitive strength within that industry.