As globalization, world markets, global village commerce, and the blending of cultures continues to change the landscape of the world, it is vital for organization to develop a strategic plan that will be a guide for the future. In the process of strategic development, one helpful tool that is widely used throughout the world in multiple sectors is a SWOT Analysis. SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (Lu, 2010). Using a SWOT analysis provides organizations with a long term strategic perspective to remain viable in the increasingly dynamic and competitive world (Lu, 2010).
A SWOT analysis is a rational approach of automatic procedures conceived as a set of logical steps following a sequence leading toward enlightenment of organizational effectiveness in the marketplace (Wheelen & Hunger, 2012). Organizations who perform a SWOT analysis are able to see beyond the perceived reality they operate in, and are able to have a broader perspective of the reality they exist within.
Conducting an assessment of strengths, it is important to identify the strong points the organization possesses pragmatically derived from the perspective of internal and external customers (Lee & Ko, 2000). The temptation will be to approach these strengths with a degree of humility, but it is important that an objective approach is utilized.
Conducting an assessment of weaknesses, organizations must consider the perspective of organizational leaders as well as customers (Lee & Ko, 2000). As with the strengths, the temptation will be to side-step objectivity and see weaknesses through caveats and excuses. Though difficult, it is vital to be honest and with the areas of weakness (Lee & Ko, 2000).
Regarding opportunities, this is an assessment of how the organization will remain viable in the marketplace, while threats are those external factors that are out of control (Lee & Ko, 2000).
Lee, S. F., & Ko, A. S. O. (2000). Building balanced scorecard with SWOT analysis, and implementing “Sun Tzu’s The Art of Business Management Strategies” on QFD methodology. Managerial Auditing Journal, 15(1/2), 68–76. http://doi.org/10.1108/02686900010304669
Lu, W. (2010). Improved SWOT Approach for Conducting Strategic Planning in the Construction Industry. Journal of Construction Engineering & Management, 136(12), 1317–1328. http://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000240
Wheelen, T. L., & Hunger, J. D. (2012). Strategic management and business policy: toward global sustainability (13th ed). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Prentice Hall.