Be Careful with SWOT Analysis. Issues and Risks of SWOT

SWOT Analysis
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Bernhard Keim
Business Consultant, Germany

Be Careful with SWOT Analysis. Issues and Risks of SWOT

I am not that happy with SWOT Analysis. My issue does not concern the tool itself, but the way it is often used. People like to make some statements with it, but the list in each of its quadrants can be endless. Everything is true, but what does really matter from all the points listed? So be careful with cherry picking (giving selective attention to particular things) to draw conclusions from a SWOT-Analysis.
Here's an example of what I mean. Let's think about the situation of a horse shoe manufacturer 110 years ago:

  • Strengths: how did it help you to be the best horse shoe manufacturer?
  • Weaknesses: did it make a difference for your future, that your marketing was weak?
  • Opportunities: there were a lot of competitors you could buy for little money.
  • Threats: there are automobiles coming up, but how can these loud and unreliable vehicles affect the business?
If you had been the boss of such a company: what might your reaction have been?
Now think of today: are you sure that your company is not acting like the horse shoe manufacturer? Too often SWOT makes people think more sophisticated, but inside the box.

  Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

Risks of SWOT Analysis: Biases

I agree Bernard. Giving selective attention to par...

  James Antwi
HR Consultant, Ghana

How to Avoid Biases in SWOT Analysis

Quite often SWOT is used for generating a ''shop l...

  Dr. Alan Williams
Professor, Thailand

Be Careful of SWOT Analysis

I insist that all my department managers attend ev...

  David Stehlik
Professor, United States

History Exonerates the Horseshoe Company

Bernhard makes a great point. His concern can be c...

  Paul Bailey
Consultant, Canada

Tendency in SWOT to Overly Focus on the Negative

Great comments from everyone. I have found that f...

  Johannes Crol
Consultant, Switzerland

Use Trends for External Analysis!

I don't like opportunities and threats as implicit...

  Charles Alter
Consultant, United States

Use SWOT as a Starting Point

I have successfully used SWOT analysis as a starti...

  Murali Sundararaju
Coach, India

SWOT Analysis Using Collective Intelligence

Great comments by everyone and great learning. I ...

  Connie James

Avoid Strategies in SWOTs

I agree if you anchor opportunities in industry tr...

Manager, Zimbabwe

SWOT Analysis is not Complete on Itself

I agree this tool should be used in combination wi...

  Connie James

Reduce Bias in SWOT

The 1-2 page SWOTs we do, have ±50 citations that ...

  Trevor Hudson
Consultant, United Kingdom

Use SWOT in Combination with Other Tools

In my view, for all the reasons outlined above, SW...

  Gregory McGuire
Business Consultant

SWOT is a Summary Tool

I use SWOT Analysis as a summary tool. Merely usin...

  Huw Morris
Management Consultant, United Kingdom

A SWOT Needs to Be Informed by Other Analysis

I have seen very few insightful SWOT analyses. Tho...

Partner, China

Very Often, SWOT Analysis Becomes a Formality

I have seen many SWOT analyses become a routine an...

  Bernhard Keim
Business Consultant, Germany

SWOT Analysis Provides Little Gain for Strategy

SWOT Analysis just tells you what you should know ...

  Johan Bergstroem
HR Consultant, Sweden

SWOT Step 2 Threat Assesment

I agree with @Bernhard Keim, SWOT is basically but...

  David Stehlik
Professor, United States

How many hours, on average, such SWOT report takes to compile?

@Connie James: Thanks. That's a great distinction...

  Chris Hoe
Director, Australia

SWOT a Primitive Tool, but…

@Bernhard Keim: Analysis is done to tell you what ...

  Augusto Carreira
Partner, Portugal

Frankly, it Entertains a Lot!

I once worked as a Business Unit Director for a la...

  Pedro Ferrao
Teacher, Portugal

SWOT Follow-up: Intersecting SW with OT

In order to find strategies and actions, you must ...

  Sridhar Gopal
Management Consultant, India

Liked This SOAR

@Paul Bailey: I concur with the idea that the appl...

  Charles Alter
Consultant, United States

Determining SWOT Priorities

@Connie James: Excellent approach and a way of fo...

Manager, Jordan

Uncertainty and SWOT

I have a similar point of view. I see that round t...

  najib mohammed Saif
Turnaround Manager, Yemen

SWOT is Just a First Step, Not the Final One

Thank you Mr Bernhard for your SWOT advice. @All:...

  Pradeep Sinha
Management Consultant, India

Combining SWOT with PESTLE

I have found that SWOT combined with PESTLE gives ...

  Maurice Hogarth
Consultant, United Kingdom

GIGO & SWOT Analysis

Processes are designed for rational use. As long a...

  Connie James

Hours Needed for a Well-researched SWOT

@DSTEHL: In reply to your question, ±10 hours for ...


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