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Basic Understanding of SWOT Analysis

Dr. LM Foong
 


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SWOT Analysis

It is widely used in the business world but not exposed to many employee. They are used by high level management staffs. This TQM articles writes about a brief concepts of SWOT Analysis aimed to provide interested parties a basic understanding of SWOT Analysis.

What is S. W. O. T. ?

S. W. O. T. is an abbreviation for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. As you can see, the S. W. O. T. consists of four factors which clearly has its own identity and purpose. S. W. O. T is commonly classified an External and Internal Factors. For the External factors, it consists of the Opportunities and threats. Whereas, the Internal Factors are Strengths and Weaknesses.

Where is S. W. O. T.being applied?

S. W. O. T. or S. W. O. T. Analysis as it may sometimes being called can be performed in a variety of application or situation. It can used as a situation analysis as an input into a strategic planning process at corporate of company level. It can also apply to evaluate the situation in terms of its capabilities. We use S. W. O. T. as a situation analysis tool.

When do we perform a S. W. O. T. Analysis?

In common practice, S. W. O. T. Analysis is performed during the Strategic Planning or Business budget session normally done at the end of a financial year. But to perform a S. W. O. T. should not be limited to a yearly affair. You may perform a S. W. O. T. Analysis whenever it is needed to help you to identify causes of a non-conformance and you needed a new solution or strategy.

Who would perform a S. W. O. T. Analysis

In most cases, leaders of an organization perform a S. W. O. T. Analysis. However, it should not be limited to this group of people. In fact, anyone who has an interest and trained can perform a S. W. O. T. Analysis for the situation they are in. I have many situations where heads of a department perform a S. W. O. T. Analysis for their own operation issues because they want to develop solutions based on facts.

Why do you need to perform a S. W. O. T. Analysis

As it can be seen by now, data gathering is an essential part of S. W. O. T. Analysis. Hence, the information collected is likely to be more factual. Any solution derived from S. W. O. T. will be more realistic and reliable.

How to perform a S. W. O. T. Analysis?

As data collection is one of the key activities in S. W. O. T. analysis, it should allow enough time to bring back the data. 1-3 months before S. W. O. T. Analysis session is conducted. Once the data is collected, it should be grouped into the four factors. This can be done individually or in a team. In summary, with some basic understanding of S. W. O. T. Analysis, the solution derived from it can be value add to the organization.

About the Author: Dr. LM Foong, PhD He publishes TQM articles, ebooks, case studies, trainer manual and presentation slides. More TQM case sutdies and articles are available at Resource Center for Total Quality Management

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