SWOT has been used by countless practitioners, marketing researchers, and is a frequent and popular tool for business marketing and strategy students. Its simplicity and catchy acronym perpetuates its usage in business and beyond as the tool is used to assess alternatives and complex decision situations. In the business arena the grouping of internal and external issues is a frequent starting point for strategic planning. It can be constructed quickly and can benefit from multiple viewpoints as a brainstorming exercise. Typically, managers first consider internal strengths and weaknesses (at the top row of the 2 × 2 grid) which can include image, structure, access to natural resources, capacity and efficiency, and financial resources. At the bottom row of the SWOT grid, external opportunities and threats including customers, competitors, trends in the market, partners and suppliers, social changes and new technology, and various environmental economic, political and regulatory issues are included. SWOT analysis assists in the identification of environmental relationships as well as the development of suitable paths for countries, organizations, or other entities to follow ( Proctor, 1992).  Glaister and Falshaw (1999) agree SWOT analysis is one of the most respected and prevalent tools of strategic planning.  Dickson (2002) agrees the traditional SWOT analysis can be re-conceptualized in terms of the direction and momentum where the market can still be changed. This provides insight into teaching marketing strategy and competitive rationality skills.  Valentin (2001) advocates SWOT analysis as the traditional means for searching for insights into ways of crafting and maintaining a profitable fit between a commercial venture and its environment. SWOT is used to identify cultural impediments and advantages and external governmental roles as well as internal company issues.  Glaister and Falshaw (1999) found SWOT analysis one of the highest ranked set of tools and analysis techniques used in strategic planning in companies in the UK.  Panagiotou (2003) contends SWOT analysis is used more than any other strategic planning tool. Purpose of the research paper
While SWOT is a pervasive, accepted concept in strategic management, the tool itself has not been subjected to analysis. The purpose of this paper is to review the last decade of SWOT's usage in the academic literature and categorize the levels and types of applications for further analysis and extension as well as to aid subsequent theory building. Methodology
For the past decade from June 1, 1999 through June 30, 2009, the authors searched peer-reviewed academic research included in the database ABInform Global® for SWOT analysis studies and articles to identity SWOTs uses, trends, and recommendations. This database includes over 3,020 publications, primarily about business conditions, management techniques, business trends, management practice and theory, corporate strategy and tactics, and competitive landscape (www.proquest.com) which is the typical domain for SWOT analysis research. Its coverage of business and management journals over time, it provides a unique historical perspective on hundreds of topics, including corporate strategies, management techniques, marketing, product development, and industry conditions worldwide. "SWOT" was used as the only search term and the search was limited to academic research, published in peer-reviewed journals only. A total of 145 research studies emerged using the search criteria; three were eliminated because they were duplicate entries in the database and another article was eliminated as the reference to "SWOT" did not relate to SWOT analysis, leaving a total of 141 studies over the decade of study. As the field of strategic management has grown with the changing international economic landscape, the last ten years was selected as an important time frame to judge both usage of the...
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