PMESII-PT In A Nutshell

PMESII-PT is a tool that helps users organize large amounts of operations information. PMESII-PT is an environmental scanning and monitoring technique, like the SWOT, PESTLE, and QUEST analysis. Developed by the United States Army, used as a way to execute a more complex strategy in foreign countries with a complex and uncertain context to map.

Understanding PMESII-PT

PMESII-PT is an environmental scanning and monitoring technique similar to the SWOT, PESTLE, and QUEST analyses.

PMESII-PT was developed by the United States Army as means of executing strategy in foreign countries with high complexity and uncertainty. This enabled soldiers to analyze and then describe the conditions of their operating environment according to a mix of variables. 

Ultimately, soldiers who use PMESII-PT became adaptive, flexible, and versatile decision-makers who could rapidly respond to change. Businesses can also use this tool to examine the variables of the environment in which they operate. Ultimately, the breadth of the analysis allows for detailed strategy formation and a comprehensive understanding of market forces.

There are eight operational variables of the analysis which collectively make up the PMESII-PT acronym. In the following sections, we will provide a general description of these connected and sometimes complex variables.

Political (P)

This describes the political power, structure, and hierarchy within the operational environment (OE). Power may be divided among government or state institutions that exert their influence over tax and trade policy and dictate the level of political stability. 

At the organizational level, power means the ability to make decisions. Who holds ultimate sway over the direction of the company? Are there any unwritten or unofficial leaders? Decision-making power may also more broadly refer to external actors with influence such as volunteer institutions, private organizations, and NGOs.

In some countries, the political variable may also encompass influential groups such as cartels, terrorists, tribes, and criminal organizations.

Military (M)

In the original interpretation of the PMESII-PT analysis, the military variable described the capabilities of all relevant actors (enemy, friendly, or neutral) within the OE.

For the organization, these actors should be identified in the context of a specific industry. Some leaders may even choose to perform a SWOT analysis at this point to complement their research.

Research should focus on the following questions:

  • What are the unique strengths and weaknesses of rival businesses? 
  • Can the weaknesses of a competitor be exploited? 
  • Can the strengths of a competitor be mitigated?
  • Who are the allies and threats to organizational success? 
  • Are there neutral relationships that a business needs to nurture?

Economic (E)

This encompasses the behavior of individuals or groups toward the production, distribution, or consumption of resources. Note that these factors may impact international trade, law enforcement, foreign aid, and financial management

Do illegal economic activities exist within the OE? What is the nature of the banking system? What is the basis of the economy? Is it based on technology, manufacturing, or agriculture?

On the micro-level, economic variables include the location of the business, mandated minimum wage, and local employment competition to name a few. 

Perhaps most importantly, firms must remember that the level of economic development in one country will not be the same as the next. This is often caused by a government that is unable or unwilling to make decisions that benefit the economic prosperity of their citizens. Other drivers of economic variability include debt, investments, financial instruments, and the level of capital flow, knowledge, and education.

Social (S)

What is the ethnic, cultural, or religious composition of the operating environment? That is, what are the beliefs, values, and customs that are practiced by members of society?

Cultural and religious backgrounds can impact organizational procedures and processes. The business model and the business itself must be sensitive to the social norms present in a community. For example, an abattoir business may be unable to operate in a Hindu society where cows are considered sacred.

Some other social variables relate to the following questions:

  • What is the education level of consumers?
  • What is the degree of ethnic or religious diversity? What is the demographic mix?
  • How are different consumer groups distributed and how do they move about?
  • How is the operating environment described in terms of human rights? Is social power concentrated in a specific group or groups?

Information (I)

The information variable describes the nature, scope, and traits of those who collect, process, disseminate, and act on information.

Today, the dissemination of information occurs mostly online with social media a particular focus. However, traditional media is still an influence and should not be overlooked:

  • What is the role of the media? 
  • Is access to valid information unrestricted? 
  • How do the actions of the organization influence media reporting and subsequent public opinion?

To a lesser extent, information also refers to how information is used in electronic warfare and computer warfare as a way to attack, deceive, or manipulate within the OE.

Infrastructure (I)

Infrastructure describes the facilities or services that sustain the efficient functioning of a community or society as a whole.

In business, the infrastructure variable might describe research and development prowess, technological capability, and IT operations. It also describes resources key to business operations, such as electricity, water, transportation, and a capable workforce.

It’s also important to note that different parts of society perceive infrastructure changes in their own way. The developer of a new apartment block may be welcomed by those who need access to inner-city accommodation but derided by existing residents who believe it will detract from the area’s visual amenity.

Physical environment (P)

On the macro level, the physical environment describes the climate, weather, geography, biohazards, rivers, and other natural resources of the operating environment. Businesses must pay particular attention to the resources that comprise their raw materials and the potential for disasters such as heatwaves, floods, and hurricanes to occur in the operating environment.

However, the physical environment variable also describes man-made structures. How is the business integrated with the community it serves? Is it located in an area that experiences foot traffic? Does it have a visible bricks-and-mortar presence or is it entirely online?

Time (T)

What is the timing or duration of activities or events within the OE? How is the timing or duration viewed by various actors?

For example, do business hours reflect the needs of the target audience? How can the business take advantage of holidays, major events, or sales periods such as Black Friday?

In a military context, the time variable influences military operations that have to do with decision-making, operational speed, and planning. Businesses can also consider these qualities to remain agile players in their specific industry.

Key takeaways:

  • PMESII-PT helps businesses assess large amounts of complex and inter-related operations information.
  • PMESII-PT was developed by the United States Army to guide strategy during operations in foreign countries. However, businesses can also use the tool to evaluate their operating environment.
  • PMESII-PT is underpinned by eight variables: political, economic, military, social, information, infrastructure, physical environment, and time.

Read Next: SWOT AnalysisPersonal SWOT AnalysisTOWS MatrixPESTEL AnalysisPorter’s Five ForcesTOWS MatrixSOAR Analysis.

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