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Marketing Intelligence & Planning
Emerald Article: Making SWOT Analysis Work Nigel Piercy, William Giles

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To cite this document: Nigel Piercy, William Giles, (1993),"Making SWOT Analysis Work", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 7 Iss: 5 pp. 5 - 7 Permanent link to this document: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/EUM0000000001042 Downloaded on: 08-05-2012 Citations: This document has been cited by 1 other documents To copy this document: permissions@emeraldinsight.com This document has been downloaded 11370 times.

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MAKING SWOT ANALYSIS WORK
by Nigel Piercy and William Giles
Cardiff Business School and Strategic Marketing Development Unit, Marlow Introduction Without doubt SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis is the commonest practical analytical tool for strategic planning, which is actually used by executives and consultants. As most readers will recognise, SWOT analysis is a simple structured approach to evaluating a company's strategic position w h e n planning, t o identify the company's strengths and weaknesses and to compare these to opportunities and threats in the environment. We have been unable to discover the original source of the technique, but one of the best technical descriptions, w h i c h links SWOT analysis to market segmentation and strategy is given by Abell and Hammond (1979).

The attractions of SWOT analysis are that this technique is familiar and easily understandable by users and it provides a good structuring device for sorting out ideas about the future and a company's ability to exploit that future. In fact, the technique is so well-known that we had some reservations about writing a paper on the topic — managers do not take kindly to consultants and writers "rediscovering the wheel"! This said, our experience suggests that there is a market for our ideas about revitalising this tool, for the reasons outlined below. It is our view that the use of this tool has generally become sloppy and unfocused — a classic example perhaps of familiarity breeding contempt! It must surely be admitted that SWOT analysis is frequently done badly, but this does not have to be the way the technique is used. On the basis of our experiences in using the technique with companies, we suggest a number of guidelines below for making the technique work dynamically to generate new insights and strategies. First, however, it should not be forgotten that the reason SWOT analysis has come to be so widely known (and we suggest misused!) is because of its inherent attractions. These are: • the technique is simple enough in concept to be immediately and readily accessible to managers — no computer or management scientist is needed; the model can be used without extensive corporate or market information systems — but is flexible enough to incorporate these where appropriate;...
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