[G06] SWOT analysis

Module: Strategic reasoning

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If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.

- Francis Bacon

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(Image from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWOT_analysis)

SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. These four factors are used to analyze an individual, product, or organization. Strengths and weaknesses correspond to the good and bad aspects that are relatively internal to the entity in question. Opportunities and threats correspond to the positive features and potential problems in the external environment.

To carry out a SWOT analysis is to draw a table like the one above, and list the relevant points in the appropriate boxes.

The SWOT framework offers a systematic approach for assessing an organization, especially when formulating future plans. When a company is deciding how to expand its business or face off competitors, it might start with a SWOT analysis. It is perhaps one of the most popular and practical strategic thinking tools in business and management. But what is also noteworthy is that the tool is equally applicable to individuals. Many people live a busy life with little time for reflection. SWOT is a useful tool we can use now and then to step back and look at the bigger picture, to review where we are in life and where we want to go.

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