Not dead yet: the rise, fall and persistence of the BCG Matrix

  • Published March 28, 2017
  • Author(s)
  • DOI
  • Article Info
    Volume 15 2017, Issue #1, pp. 19-34
  • Cited by
    18 articles

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

The BCG Matrix was introduced almost 50 years ago, and is today considered one of the most iconic strategic planning techniques. Using management fashion theory as a theoretical lens, this paper examines the historical rise, fall and persistence of the BCG Matrix. The analysis highlights the role played by fashion-setting actors (e.g., consultants, business schools and business media) in the rise of the BCG Matrix. However, over time, portfolio planning models such as the BCG Matrix were attacked and discredited by a host of different actors, and gradually fell out of favor. Even though the BCG Matrix has fallen from grace, it is still alive and has left an imprint on management education and practice. Despite being largely discredited in academic circles, many practitioners still view it as an important corporate portfolio planning technique.

view full abstract hide full abstract
    • Fig. 1. Search interest for terms related to the BCG Matrix
    • Table 1. The BCG Matrix
    • Table 2. Variations of the BCG Matrix label
    • Table 3. Criticism of the BCG Matrix
    • Table 4. The most important actors involved in diffusing the BCG Matrix
    • Table 5. Portfolio matrices offering by leading consulting firms
    • Table 6. Trends in the adoption and use of the BCG Matrix over time