SWOT Profile

When the analysis has been completed, a SWOT profile can be generated and used as the basis of goal setting, strategy formulation, and implementation. The completed SWOT profile sometimes is arranged as follows:

Strengths

Weaknesses

1.

2.

3.

4 .

5.

.

1.

2.

3.

4 .

5

.

Opportunities

Threats

1.

2.

3.

4 .

5

.

1.

2.

3.

4 .

5

.

When formulating strategy, the interaction of the quadrants in the SWOT profile becomes important. For example, the strengths can be leveraged to pursue opportunities and to avoid threats, and managers can be alerted to weaknesses that might need to be overcome in order to successfully pursue opportunities.

Multiple Perspectives Needed

The method used to acquire the inputs to the SWOT matrix will affect the quality of the analysis. If the information is obtained hastily during a quick interview with the CEO, even though this one person may have a broad view of the company and industry, the information would represent a single viewpoint. The quality of the analysis will be improved greatly if interviews are held with a spectrum of stakeholders such as employees, suppliers, customers, strategic partners, etc.

SWOT Analysis Limitations

While useful for reducing a large quantity of situational factors into a more manageable profile, the SWOT framework has a tendency to oversimplify the situation by classifying the firm’s environmental factors into categories in which they may not always fit. The classification of some factors as strengths for weaknesses, or as opportunities or threats is somewhat arbitrary. For example, a particular company culture can be either a strength or a weakness. A technological change can be a either a threat or an opportunity. Perhaps what is more important than the superficial classification of these factors is the firm’s awareness of them and its development of a strategic plan to use them to its advantage.