SWOT, Heinz Weihrich (1982)

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a business or organization. It provides a structured framework for assessing the internal and external factors that can impact an entity’s performance and competitiveness. The acronym “SWOT” stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

SWOT analysis was first introduced by Albert Humphrey in the 1960s at the Stanford Research Institute. However, the credited author of the SWOT matrix as we know it today is Heinz Weihrich, a management professor and author who included the concept in his book “The TOWS Matrix—A Tool for Situational Analysis” in 1982.

Here’s a brief overview of each component of SWOT analysis:

  • Strengths: These are internal factors that give a business an advantage over its competitors. They can include unique capabilities, resources, expertise, strong brand reputation, or competitive advantages in the market.
  • Weaknesses: These are internal factors that put a business at a disadvantage compared to its competitors. They can include limitations, lack of resources or skills, poor infrastructure, or vulnerabilities in the business model.
  • Opportunities: These are external factors in the market or industry that can be leveraged to the business’s advantage. Opportunities can arise from emerging trends, technological advancements, changes in consumer preferences, new market segments, or favorable economic conditions.
  • Threats: These are external factors that pose risks or challenges to the business. Threats can include intense competition, changing regulations, economic downturns, shifts in consumer behavior, emerging technologies that disrupt the industry, or supplier or distribution chain issues.

SWOT analysis is typically conducted by gathering relevant information and insights through internal assessments, market research, competitor analysis, and environmental scanning. Once the analysis is complete, the findings can be used to develop strategies, make informed decisions, and identify areas for improvement or potential growth.

It’s worth noting that SWOT analysis is a versatile tool that can be applied to various levels, including individual projects, business units, or the overall organization. It provides a structured framework for strategic planning and helps organizations identify their competitive position and make informed decisions to achieve their objectives.