SWOT Analysis

Knowledge Center


Identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.


  1. Summary
  2. Forum
  3. Best Practices
  4. Expert Tips
  5. Resources
  6. Print

SWOT Analysis

What is a SWOT analysis? Description

A SWOT analysis is a tool, used in management and strategy formulation. It can help to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of a particular company. 

Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors that create value or destroy value. They can include assets, skills, or resources that a company has at its disposal, compared to its competitors. They can be measured using internal assessments or external benchmarking.

Opportunities and threats are external factors that create value or destroy value. A company cannot control them. But they emerge from either the competitive dynamics of the industry/market or from demographic, economic, political, technical, social, legal or cultural factors (PEST).

Typical examples of factors in a SWOT Analysis diagram:


  • Specialist marketing expertise
  • Exclusive access to natural resources
  • Patents
  • New, innovative product or service
  • Location of your business
  • Cost advantage through proprietary know-how
  • Quality processes and procedures
  • Strong brand or reputation


  • Lack of marketing expertise
  • Undifferentiated products and service (i.e. in relation to your competitors)
  • Location of your company
  • Competitors have superior access to distribution channels
  • Poor quality of goods or services
  • Damaged reputation


  • Developing market (China, the Internet)
  • Mergers, joint ventures or strategic alliances
  • Moving into new attractive market segments
  • A new international market
  • Loosening of regulations
  • Removal of international trade barriers
  • A market that is led by a weak competitor


  • A new competitor in your own home market
  • Price war
  • Competitor has a new, innovative substitute product or service
  • New regulations
  • Increased trade barriers
  • A potential new taxation on your product or service

Any organization must try to create a fit with its external environment. The SWOT diagram is a very good tool for analyzing the (internal) strengths and weaknesses of a corporation and the (external) opportunities and threats. However, this analysis is just the first step. To really create the fit with the external environment is often the most difficult work.

Confrontation Matrix

A tool to combine the internal factors with the external factors is the Confrontation Matrix.







make the most of these


restore strengths




watch competition closely


turn around

Often in reality the two columns of the SWOT diagram are pointing in opposite directions. Strategists must still deal with the paradox of creating alignment. This can be done via Outside-in strategy formulation (market-driven strategy) or Inside-out strategy formulation (resource-driven).

Note: you can also apply a SWOT analysis to competitors, often providing interesting new perspectives.

SWOT Analysis Forum
  Be Careful with SWOT Analysis. Risks
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 real...
  Using SWOT Analysis for Supplier Audits
This would be a good tool to use during the evaluation of a supplier like when conduction a quality audit.
How would I draft such a report? Would I just comment on each area, e.g., S, W, O and T.
What would a project manager or procurement ...
  Involve Stakeholders in SWOT Analysis
Usually SWOT analysis is used by middle or higher managers/decision makers who are responsible for strategic planning. But don't overlook anyone else in the creation stage!
While it is possible to develop a SWOT analysis in a small group, it wil...
  Be Careful with Viewing Industry Opportunities as Company Opportunities
Managers are advised to guard against considering every industry opportunity as a company opportunity. An opportunity without the MEANS to capture it is an illusion.
To capture an opportunity it must match up with the financial and other resourc...
  SWOT Analysis as a Brainstorming Technique
SWOT analysis can be used in each organization. It can be used as brainstorming technique where individuals come up with distinctive ideas about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the busi...
  WHEN to do a SWOT Analysis?
At what stage should an organization develop a SWOT analysis?
At the inception or developing stage?...
  Internal Opportunities and Threats
What about the opportunities and threats that exist within the organization and we are not aware about them? How we will evaluate them through SWOT framework?...
  SWOT Analysis Strength
I think companies strategies on which company is working and that is giving positive response from a long time is its strength.
"strategies giving positive response is the strength"....
  SWOT Analysis for British Airways and Ryan Air
Would anybody be able to suggest some key points to include under SWOT for the above firms.
I'm having problems keeping it short and succinct as well as assessing what are actually relative strengths and weaknesses....
  Combine SWOT Analysis with 5 Ps
I always do a SWOT analysis against the 5 Ps. People, Product, Promotion, Place and last of all Price....
  Design Shool Theory vs. SWOT
Whats the difference between a SWOT analysis and the Design School Theory?...
  Turning Competitor's Weaknesses Into Opportunities
How can I turn my rival's internal weaknesses into my opportunities since some companies succeed in keeping their internal weaknesses as a secret to themselves?...
  SWOT and Strategic Marketing Process
How does the SWOT analysis relate to the strategic marketing process (SMP)?...
  SWOT Analysis + Weightage
SWOT analysis is a basic tool for any marketing manager to determine their future strategies. But just listing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are not adequate especially for the challenging business environment. Sometimes manage...
  Well suited for Crisis too
In this moment of crisis, I never see a better tool for help us in our decisions. This analysis model gives the necessary matrix for fast and proper action....
  Swot Analysis Well Suited as First Step
Swot becomes an effective tool for analysing competitiveness only when it is used as first step. Other frame work such as Porters' five forces, benchmarking and pest need to come into play before final analysis, decisions and strategy is formulated....
  SWOC Analysis instead of SWOT Analysis
The "T" in SWOT can be changed to "C" for Challenge to create a more positive attitude....
  Competetive Analysis with SWOT
Is only a SWOT Analysis enough for competitive analysis or should it be combined with other techniques?...
  SWOT - Absolutely essential
This is the most important tool companies around the globe will need to survive and grow in our current uncertain economic climate!...

SWOT Analysis Special Interest Group

Special Interest Group

SWOT Analysis Education & Events

Find Trainings, Seminars and Events

Best Practices - SWOT Analysis Premium
  How to Proceed after the SWOT Analysis to the Strategy?
What should we do after the SWOT analysis. In other words, depending on the SWOT outcomes, what strategy can we use?...
  Combining SWOT with other Strategy Tools
It is my experience that the SWOT analysis as a standalone tool is not better than a simple brainstorming process focused on the four different issues.
In order to make it work, it is necessary to work several other analysis e.g.  
  Uses of SWOT analysis
A SWOT analysis is frequently used in an early stage of strategic or marketing planning for decision-making, problem solving, and as a tool to increase the awareness of certain people about the situation the firm is in. But you can also use SWOT as a...

Expert Tips - SWOT Analysis Premium

Steps of Typical SWOT Process

Here's a list of typical phases in a medium size SWOT process (modify as needed).
1. Determine clear objective(s)
2. Determine SWOT t...
Usage (application): SWOT Analysis

SWOT Strengths and VRIO test

In order to analyze true, valid strengths in a SWOT Analysis, you can use the VRIO test:
VALUE - Does the strength generate efficie...
Usage (application): Thoroughly Analyzing Strengths

SWOT Dos and Donts

- Do create an environment that stimulates active contribution of all members participating in the SWOT analysis.
- Do take into consideration, w...
Usage (application): Successful Implementation

10 SWOT Golden Rules

1. Precisely specify all factors to be listed. Avoid gray areas and misinterpretable data.
2. Consider realistically strengths and weaknesses of ...
Usage (application): SWOT Implementation, SWOT Best Practices

SWOT Applications and Aims

The SWOT Analysis can be generally carried out on: a product, a brand, a servic...
Usage (application): SWOT Insight

Critics on SWOT Analysis

Although over the last 40 years SWOT Analysis has been widely used and appreciated as an effective technique for strategic analysis, some major academ...
Usage (application): SWOT PItfalls, Improve your Usage of SWOT

How to Attribute Scores to All SWOT Factors

A typical best practice in implementing a SWOT Analysis is to attribute a score to all factors that represent strengths, weaknesses, threats and oppor...
Usage (application): SWOT Analysis Implementation

SWOT Disadvantages

Here are the main disadvantages of using a SWOT Analysis for Strategic Planning<...
Usage (application): SWOT in Strategic Planning

SWOT Advantages

Here following are the main advantages of using a SWOT analysis for Strategic Pl...
Usage (application): SWOT in Strategic Planning

Questions to Analyze the External Environment

When performing a SWOT Analysis, a common practice is to ask the following 7 questions to analyze the external environment:
1. How can int...
Usage (application): External Environment Analysis

History of SWOT. Early Strategic Planning

The origin of the SWOT Analysis has been credited to Albert Humphrey in the 1960s. At that time he was leading a research project at Stanford Universi...
Usage (application): Background SWOT Analysis

Resources - SWOT Analysis Premium

Internal Analysis

Comprehensive presentation about the internal part of strategic analysis. Includes: SWOT, BSC, defining objectives, recognizing importance of customer...
Usage (application): Strategic Analysis

SWOT Analysis

Presentation by Shabbar Suterwala with some good graphics....
Usage (application): SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis with Example

Lecture about SWOT Analysis by Shashi includes self analysis....
Usage (application): Self SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis

Short presentation by Carlos A. Benito about SWOT analysis distinguishes internal factors and external factors plus some guidelines....
Usage (application): SWOT Analysis

Techniques for Entrepreneurial Thinking

This presentation elaborates on the different types of thinking for successful entrepreneurship. The presentation includes the following sections:
Usage (application): Entrepreneurship, Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Lateral Thinking, Entrepreneurial Thinking

SWOT, SOFT Diagrams

Download and edit this 12manage PowerPoint graphic for limited personal, educational and business use. Republishing in intranets, websites, books, ma...
Usage (application): SWOT, SOFT Analysis

TOWS Matrix (Heinrich)

In-depth article by Prof. Klaus Weihrich introducing and explaining the TOWS Matrix. Also called confrontation matrix....
Usage (application): TOWS Analysis, SWOT Analysis


Swot Analysis


Swot Concept


Swot Analysis


Swot Concept


Swot Analysis


Swot Concept


Swot Analysis


Swot Concept

Compare with: Core Competence  |  Parenting Advantage  |  Porter's five forces model  |  Outsourcing  |  Industry Change  |  OODA Loop  |  BCG Matrix  |  GE Matrix

Return to Management Hub: Change & Organization  |  Decision-making & Valuation  |  Ethics & Responsibility  |  Finance & Investing  |  Marketing  |  Strategy

More Management Methods, Models and Theory

Special Interest Group Leader

You here

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us | Privacy | Terms of Service
Copyright 2017 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V14.1 - Last updated: 17-8-2017. All names tm by their owners.