Amongst all the novelties, trends, and fashions appearing in the field of strategic management during the last decades, the SWOT analysis, standing for: strengths, weaknesses opportunities, and threats has enjoyed a long lasting popularity among both practitioners and researchers. The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate that SWOT analysis can be used for both businesses and individuals.
In the 60s swot analysis was invented at the Harvard business School for the purpose of analysing case studies,it was the efforts of two business policy professors ; professor George Albert Smith and professor C Roland Christensen. At Harvard in 1963 where a business policy conference was held about the SWOT analysis in which it has been thoroughly discussed and also considered as an important advance in the strategic thinking (Panagiotou 2003)
Since then the swot analysis has been hardly ever used, up until 1982 when Weihrich have first introduced the swot matrix as we all know it today.(appendix 1)
(Appendix1) (Adapted from Ghazinoory, S Et al.2011)
As shown in the matrix swot analysis is composed of four main elements Strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The top part of the swot matrix containing strengths and weaknesses analyses the internal environment of the organisation means whatever it is happening inside the business, such as new product development and human resources management, the elements from the internal environment are much more controllable than the ones in the external environment, in other words managers can control the internal environment of the organisation when making their decisions. However, the bottom part of the swot matrix which analyses the opportunities and threats means what the external environment of the business is offering, as far as this part is concerned it is very difficult to control and what businesses usually do, they try to cope with threats and take as much opportunities the external environment is providing.
As mentioned before the SWOT has enjoyed a long lasting success in the business field, this particular research is showing the number of papers published in academic journals about the swot analysis from the 1980s to 2009. As the diagram shows there was a continuous growth from the 1980s to the year 1999, followed by a dramatic increase from the year 2000 to 2009 reaching 301 paper, this increase could be explained by the words' recession at this time in from the year 2000 as businesses have been trying to improve their productivity to overcome the recession, and probably the use of the SWOT analysis have helped many businesses during this critical period of time to improve. (Appendix 2).
(Appendix2) (Ghazinoory, S Et al.2011)
Even though swot analysis was invented in the United States of to America but this strategic management tool have enjoyed an enormous popularity around the globe as shown in the table below the top 10 countries that have published papers about the SWOT. On the top of the list there's United Kingdom and the United States of America with 52 papers each then followed by India and China.(appendix3)
Number of papers
(Appendix3) (Ghazinoory, S Et al.2011)
Although swot analysis has been one of the major inventions in the strategic management field, this theory has been subject for many criticisms where some researchers and practitioners have pointed out the theory’s weaknesses and suggested some significant solutions in order to modify it and make it even more useful.
Weihrich (1982) pointed two weaknesses when applying the swot one of them is “Time dimension in SWOT matrix” and the other is “the complexity of Interactions of Situational Factors.”( Weihrich...
References: Addams, L. and Allred, A. T. 2013. " THE FIRST STEP IN PROACTIVELY MANAGING STUDENTS 'CAREERS: TEACHING SELF-SWOT ANALYSIS". Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 17 (4).
Ghazinoory, S., Abdi, M., Azadegan-Mehr, M. and Ana. 2011. SWOT methodology: a state-of-the-art review for the past, a framework for the future. Journal of business economics and management, 12 (1), pp. 24--48.
REED, D. 2013. SWOT your way to the future. Industrial Management, 55 (2).
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