SWOT analysis: It's time for a product recall
The attempt to improve the corporate strategy development process has fostered a range of approaches which have enjoyed different levels of support and popularity over time. One of the most popular is the SWOT analysis. This article reports on an in-depth review of its use by consuitants who included this as part of their approach to understanding a business from a corporate perspective and as part of the Department of Trade and Industry's Manufacturing Planning and Implementation Scheme. Of the 50 companies reviewed within the scheme, over 20 companies used a SWOT involving 14 consulting companies. All the applications showed similar characteristics—long lists (over 40 factors on average), general (often meaningless) descriptions, a failure to prioritize and no attempt to verify any points. But the most worrying general characteristic was that no-one subsequently used the outputs within the later stages of the strategy process. The continued use of the SWOT analysis, therefore, needs to be questioned.