SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It is an analysis that can be used whenever creativity is required. From product creation to service implementation, the challenges and objectives a company faces can be met head-on with this tool that can be used to brainstorm strategic planning needs and other competitive forms of analysis.
The SWOT analysis pros and cons show that it can be a beneficial tool to use, but it may not be the correct tool for some situations. Here are the key points to consider.
What Are the Pros of SWOT Analysis?
1. It helps condense a large amount of data into something that is manageable.
What a SWOT analysis does well is encourage simplification. There are many different situations that may have multiple influence factors that occur simultaneously or on a regular basis. By using this tool, it becomes possible to have a greater overall understanding of the big picture while still being able to focus on the fine details that the smaller picture requires.
2. You can identify threats and opportunities.
Businesses can use a SWOT analysis to identify their primary opportunities and threats that exist in any given market. This tool offers scalable results as well, which means any local community can have the data expanded to the regional, national, or international level. This allows the business to identify and then use their strengths and weaknesses to the greatest possible advantage.
3. It allows for additional tool identification.
A SWOT analysis also allows a group to be able to decide what the most appropriate tools will be to accomplish a goal or exercise. These tools can be evaluated for their usefulness and methods can be analyzed before implementation to determine effectiveness. This, in turn, helps the organization to take advantage of whatever opportunities may be available at any given moment.
What Are the Cons of SWOT Analysis?
1. It can sometimes encourage oversimplification.
When you’re able to simplify some concepts, then you make them approachable to more people. The only problem is that SWOT can be used to keep encouraging simplicity, which results in an oversimplification of an issue or concern at the highest levels. This makes it difficult to address the situation that may be unfolding because a full overview is not obtained.
2. SWOT analysis is not always objective.
Individuals who are involved in SWOT analysis have their own natural bias and tendencies that will be brought forth. If some have vested interests in what is happening, they may not even apply the analysis in an objective way. These traits must be taken into account before beginning the process, otherwise a true beneficial outcome may be difficult to achieve.
3. There are no limits in place.
When a SWOT analysis is being used, there are no real limits that are naturally in place. This can make it difficult, especially during the initial stages, to determine what may be relevant and what may not be.
4. Unknown factors will influence expected outcomes.
Even with the best planning and expertise available, a SWOT analysis can only operate based on the known factors that are present. Unknown factors may be present and influence results in unexpected ways. Something as simple as an inadequate definition of current factors can be enough to influence an expected outcome in a negative way.
5. The terms used can be vague, ambiguous, or even meaningless.
Because a SWOT analysis works more on generalities instead of specificities, the outcome of this tool can sometimes be viewed as a waste of time. This is because the simplification process looks to find common ground wherever it is located. It often leads to the use of certain phrasing or internal jargon that can be interpreted in multiple ways.
6. There is no obligation to verify.
This means statements or analysis aspects that are provided are taken at their word. There is no research requirement, which allows someone to influence results in a way that may be personally beneficial. A SWOT analysis also offers no suggestion for solving a disagreement which may occur, creating the possibility of a stalemate happening if there are two opposing sides that are unwilling to compromise.
The SWOT analysis pros and cons show that there are several drawbacks that must be considered, but the positive benefits are often worth the effort. By taking each key point seriously, it becomes possible to maximize these benefits on a regular basis.