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SWOT Analysis (or SWOT Matrix) Part II




SWOT analysis (or SWOT matrix)


SWOT analysis is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and is a structured planning method that evaluates those four elements of an organization,project or business venture.



A SWOT analysis can be carried out for a company, product, place, industry, or person. It involves specifying the objectives of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve that objective.


Some authors credit SWOT to Albert Humphrey, who led a convention at the Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) in the 1960s and 1970s using data from Fortune 500companies.


However, Humphrey himself did not claim the creation of SWOT, and the origins remain obscure. The degree to which the internal environment of the firm matches with the external environment is expressed by the concept of strategic fit.
  • Strengths: characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others

  • Weaknesses: characteristics of the business that place the business or project at a disadvantage relative to others

  • Opportunities: elements in the environment that the business or project could exploit to its advantage

  • Threats: elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project
Identification of SWOTs is important because they can inform later steps in planning to achieve the objective. First, decision-makers should consider whether the objective is attainable, given the SWOTs. If the objective is notattainable, they must select a different objective and repeat the process.
Users of SWOT analysis must ask and answer questions that generate meaningful information for each category (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) to make the analysis useful and find their competitive advantage.





Internal and external factors[edit]So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss. If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose. If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
The Art of War by Sun Tzu

SWOT analysis aims to identify the key internal and external factors seen as important to achieving an objective. SWOT analysis groups key pieces of information into two main categories:
  • Internal factors – the strengths and weaknesses internal to the organization
  • External factors – the opportunities and threats presented by the environment external to the organization


Analysis may view the internal factors as strengths or as weaknesses depending upon their effect on the organization's objectives. What may represent strengths with respect to one objective may be weaknesses (distractions, competition) for another objective. The factors may include all of the 4Ps as well as personnel, finance, manufacturing capabilities, and so on.


The external factors may include macroeconomic matters, technological change, legislation, and sociocultural changes, as well as changes in the marketplace or in competitive position. The results are often presented in the form of a matrix.


SWOT analysis is just one method of categorization and has its own weaknesses. For example, it may tend to persuade its users to compile lists rather than to think about actual important factors in achieving objectives. It also presents the resulting lists uncritically and without clear prioritization so that, for example, weak opportunities may appear to balance strong threats.


It is prudent not to eliminate any candidate SWOT entry too quickly. The importance of individual SWOTs will be revealed by the value of the strategies they generate. A SWOT item that produces valuable strategies is important. A SWOT item that generates no strategies is not important.
Use[edit]The usefulness of SWOT analysis is not limited to profit-seeking organizations. SWOT analysis may be used in any decision-making situation when a desired end-state (objective) is defined. Examples include non-profit organizations, governmental units, and individuals. SWOT analysis may also be used in pre-crisis planning and preventive crisis management. SWOT analysis may also be used in creating a recommendation during a viability study/survey.

Strategy building[edit]SWOT analysis can be used effectively to build organizational or personal strategy. Steps necessary to execute strategy-oriented analysis involve identification of internal and external factors (using the popular 2x2 matrix), selection and evaluation of the most important factors, and identification of relations existing between internal and external features.[3]
For instance, strong relations between strengths and opportunities can suggest good conditions in the company and allow using an aggressive strategy. On the other hand, strong interactions between weaknesses and threats could be analyzed as a potential warning and advice for using a defensive strategy.[4]

Matching and converting[edit]One way of using SWOT is matching and converting. Matching is used to find competitive advantage by matching the strengths to opportunities. Another tactic is to convert weaknesses or threats into strengths or opportunities. An example of a conversion strategy is to find new markets. If the threats or weaknesses cannot be converted, a company should try to minimize or avoid them.[5]
凡事唯有投入,結果才能深入; 凡事唯有付出,結果才能傑出; 凡事唯有磨鍊,結果才能熟練; 凡事唯有不煩,結果才能不凡。
能與智者同行,你會不同凡響;能與高人為伍,你能登上巔峰。
你雖不能改變環境, 但卻可以轉換心境;你雖不能樣樣勝利,但卻可以事事盡力。
Dr. Chao Yuang Shiang (PH.D in management), Assistant Professor,Dep. of Finance & Institute of financial management, Nan Hua University.
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