Be Careful with SWOT Analysis. Issues and Risks of SWOT

SWOT Analysis > Best Practices > Be Careful with SWOT Analysis. Issues and Risks of SWOT

Be Careful with SWOT Analysis. Issues and Risks of SWOT
Bernhard Keim, Business Consultant, Germany, Premium Member
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.
  • Thre...Sign up

Risks of SWOT Analysis: Biases
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
I agree Bernard. Giving selective attention to particular findings and then drawing conclusions based on that is indeed a dangerous tendency of human ...Sign up

How to Avoid Biases in SWOT Analysis
James Antwi, HR Consultant, Swaziland, Member
Quite often SWOT is used for generating a ''shop list'' of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. But indeed what to do with this sh...Sign up

Be Careful of SWOT Analysis
Dr. Alan Williams, Professor, Thailand, Member
I insist that all my department managers attend every senior management meeting and also I insist that they all contribute to all discussions whether ...Sign up

History Exonerates the Horseshoe Company
DSTEHL, Strategy Consultant, United States, Member
Bernhard makes a great point. His concern can be covered by an approach encouraging strate...Sign up

Tendency in SWOT to Overly Focus on the Negative
Paul Bailey, Consultant, Canada, Member
Great comments from everyone.
I have found that for most groups, when conducting SWOT analysis, there is a tendency to spend the bulk of the ...Sign up

Use Trends for External Analysis!
Johannes Crol, Consultant, Switzerland, Member
I don't like opportunities and threats as implicitly they contain the strengths and weaknesses.
Instead, I use external TRENDS and confront these...Sign up

Use SWOT as a Starting Point
Charles Alter, Consultant, United States, Member
I have successfully used SWOT analysis as a starting point for big picture strategic planning and small picture continuous improvement projects.
...Sign up

SWOT Analysis Using Collective Intelligence
Murali Sundararaju, Coach, India, Member
Great comments by everyone and great learning.
I see many other versions being mentioned such as SOAR, SWOCC, etc.. While they are great and prov...Sign up

Avoid Strategies in SWOTs
Connie James, Professor, Member
I agree if you anchor opportunities in industry trends and data (not firm-specific strategies), it will minimize the confirmation bias. Similarly by c...Sign up

SWOT Analysis is not Complete on Itself
Musagwiza, Manager, Zimbabwe, Member
I agree this tool should be used in combination with other tools like Porter’s 5 Forces, Scen...Sign up

Reduce Bias in SWOT
Connie James, Professor, Member
The 1-2 page SWOTs we do, have ±50 citations that show the variety and quality of sources, forcing out individual opinions.
We then rate each bul...Sign up

Use SWOT in Combination with Other Tools
Trevor Hudson, Consultant, United Kingdom, Member
In my view, for all the reasons outlined above, SWOT should absolutely not be used as a decision making tool. Instead it should be used in combination...Sign up

SWOT is a Summary Tool
Gregory McGuire, Business Consultant, Member
I use SWOT Analysis as a summary tool. Merely using the tool to fill out the quadrants is a recipe for failure. It is a quick and dirty way to complet...Sign up

A SWOT Needs to Be Informed by Other Analysis
Huw Morris, Management Consultant, United Kingdom, Member
I have seen very few insightful SWOT analyses. Those that were helpful were informed by other analysis - for example a Porter 5 Force analysis reinfor...Sign up

Very Often, SWOT Analysis Becomes a Formality
Jeny, Partner, China, Member
I have seen many SWOT analyses become a routine and formality in companies that does no good while really a waster of time.
As senior lead...Sign up

SWOT Analysis Provides Little Gain for Strategy
Bernhard Keim, Business Consultant, Germany, Premium Member
SWOT Analysis just tells you what you should know anyhow. It is not strategic, but might deliver some insights. It does not tell you, what to do, but ...Sign up

SWOT Step 2 Threat Assesment
Johan Bergstroem, HR Consultant, Sweden, Member
I agree with @Bernhard Keim, SWOT is basically but a list of threats, etc.
This is where the work starts. N...Sign up

How many hours, on average, such SWOT report takes to compile?
DSTEHL, Strategy Consultant, United States, Member
@Connie James: Thanks. That's a great distinction. I have a follow-up inquiry.
High, medium, and low are grea...Sign up

SWOT a Primitive Tool, but…
Chris Hoe, Director, Australia, Member
@Bernhard Keim: Analysis is done to tell you what you don't know. That is what research is all about - not just col...Sign up

Frankly, it Entertains a Lot!
Augusto Carreira, Partner, Portugal, Member
I once worked as a Business Unit Director for a large multinational whose top management decided it would be a good thing to perform a SWOT analysis o...Sign up

SWOT Follow-up: Intersecting SW with OT
Pedro Ferrao, Teacher, Portugal, Member
In order to find strategies and actions, you must intersect the internal components (SW) with the external analysis (OT).
For instance, if you ar...Sign up

Liked This SOAR
Sridhar Gopal, Management Consultant, India, Member
@Paul Bailey: I concur with the idea that the application of SWOT has been considerably diluted over a period of ti...Sign up

Determining SWOT Priorities
Charles Alter, Consultant, United States, Member
@Connie James: Excellent approach and a way of forcing prioritization for SWOT topics. This would help reducing th...Sign up

Uncertainty and SWOT
Eyad, Manager, Jordan, Member
I have a similar point of view. I see that round table discussions including variety of industry relevant people, and having as much market intelligen...Sign up

SWOT is Just a First Step, Not the Final One
najib mohammed Saif, Turnaround Manager, Yemen, Member
Thank you Mr Bernhard for your SWOT advice.
@All: Remember a SWOT analysis is not the final step, but it does give us some information about our ...Sign up

Combining SWOT with PESTLE
Pradeep Sinha, Management Consultant, India, Member
I have found that SWOT combined with PESTLE gives a better perspective and is more comprehensive. Organization will be able to focus on company's cont...Sign up

GIGO & SWOT Analysis
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
Processes are designed for rational use. As long as those who use them have an emotional stake in the outcomes (as is often the case) then thinking ha...Sign up

Hours Needed for a Well-researched SWOT
Connie James, Professor, Member
@DSTEHL: In reply to your question, ±10 hours for an expert who knows the organization and 20 or more for a novice....Sign up

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