How to Write a Good SWOT Analysis
A successfully conducted SWOT involves identifying the following:
• The things an organisation does particularly well (strengths) or badly (weaknesses) at present;
• The factors that in the future may give the organisation potential to grow and increase its profits (opportunities) or may make its position weaker (threats). Opportunities and threats normally arise from changes in the environment, but sometimes have their origin inside the organisation – for example, if key machinery or people, functioning very effectively at present, are likely to break down or retire in a few years’ time, that is a threat.
It is important to bear in mind what a SWOT is for. It is intended to summarise a strategic situation, with a view to deciding what the organisation should do next. A SWOT analysis should contain sufficient information for any reader to be able to see why a particular issue counts as a strength, weakness, opportunity or threat, and what the implications are for the firm that you are analysing.
For the same reason, there is no room for equivocation in a SWOT analysis – a factor can be a strength or a weakness, but not both. For example, a firm’s IT system may provide good management reports but poor production control information. It is pointless to put this down as both a strength and a weakness that partially cancel each other out, since manager have only two choices: either they upgrade the system or they do not (Mintzberg, 1990). This means that you need to come to definite answer to the question: On balance, is the IT system a strength or a weakness? Perhaps the lack of good production information is important, in which case the system needs to be upgraded. Perhaps it is vital to maintain the flow of management information, in which case the system should not be touched (Thompson, 2002). SWOT analysis aims to differentiate factors from being bad or good for the company’s performance. In a SWOT analysis, the...