SWOT Analysis: Converting Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats into Strengths
SWOT is an acronym for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats. SWOT analysis is a tool, which was found in the 1960s by Albert S. Humphery, which contains 4 quadrants. These quadrants are further divided into internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) and external factors (opportunities and threats). Internal factors assess efficiency and effectiveness of the production, management, sales, supply departments whereas the external factors help in assessing the environment of the world outside of your business which include competitors, economic development, changes in customers’ needs and wants etc. SWOT analysis can be used to analyse not only an organization but also product range, a person, location, project or an objective.
In SWOT analysis, the first quadrant includes the internal factors that make a business/person stand out as compared to its competitor. It helps one in further classifying the core competencies to its competitors and in assessing all its combined strengths. For instance, the strengths for School ‘A’ can include a location. If school ‘A’ is located in a densely populated area, there are more chances of getting new admissions every year as compared to School ‘B’.
Moreover, in terms of the teaching staff, if the teachers of School ‘A’ are well trained and have sufficient subject knowledge in their own specialist area, there is likeliness that the lesson taught to students will be well delivered. Hence, the lesson will be retained by the students for a longer period of time. This retention will help the students in future in their practical lives.
Thus, the strengths of the school, in general, can be well-trained staff and the location to generate greater revenue and goodwill as compared to other schools in the vicinity.
However, the criteria for assessing strengths may vary from organisation to organisation according to the services and the skills they possess.
Factors included in the second quadrant of SWOT analysis are weaknesses which are drawbacks or the area in which an organisation lacks behind than that of its competitors. Carrying forward the example of the schools mentioned above, the weaknesses could include the poor use of technology. If School ‘A’ still uses chalkboards as a tool for writing and explanation and School ‘B’ uses information and communication technologies (ICT) in teaching, then it is a weakness for School ‘A’ as it lacks behind in implementing the technological change. The students of School ‘B’ may have a better understanding of the content being taught because they will get a chance to watch videos and have better access to real life and current examples related to the subject. However, the students of the School ‘A’ will be heavily dependent on the verbal examples delivered by their course instructor.
The advancement in technology of School ‘B’ will not only attract the parents but will also give the teaching staff a chance to get trained for effective use of technology and gain personal benefits. Also, the revenues generated by School ‘B’ as compared to School ‘A’ will be higher because of using advance teaching methodology. Moreover, School ‘B’ will get a chance to capture a larger student base as compared to School ‘A’.
As to overcome weaknesses, one should be far-sighted in order to take an action to improve before the competitors get to know about it.
Opportunities include in the third quadrant of the SWOT analysis are factors that can be explored and implemented. These can be related to a change in technology, government policy, and change in the customers’ needs or overall population. In the light of technology, if School ‘A’ successfully installs the ‘Smart board’ in each classroom as they were launched, then it has catered to the technology change. Now School ‘A’ has an edge over all the other schools.
Adding more, all the school a chance to expand in terms of area and staff if there is an increase in total population. However, the 1st school to take this action can get a chance to earn revenue before its competitors.
The fourth and the last quadrant of SWOT analysis has external factors can adversely affect an organization or a person. The threats can be either the competitors or a dynamic economic environment. Following the example mentioned above, the competitors’ schools play a major role in determining the progress of the school. This is due to the changing needs of the society and economics. Since the world is facing a paradigm shift towards technology, it’s necessary to cope up with the change. For instance, if School ‘B’ consists of faculty who are updated regarding technology and is the only teaching courses related to technology, it is a threat for School ‘A’ and all the other schools as they are not adapting to the change. School ‘A’ must train its staff accordingly to secure its position in the industry.
Moreover, School ‘A’ must be proactive in taking an action against its competitors. Also, School ‘A’ must work to create a core competency to stand out in terms of skills and services to overcome the fear of threats.
In conclusion, SWOT analysis is a tool used to analyse all the current strengths, shortcomings that can be converted into favorable circumstances, unexplored opportunities and current or upcoming threats. It is important to critically analyse the situation to contribute towards betterment. Moreover, a business/person who is being analysed should set up objectives for improvement such that most the ‘Weaknesses’ and ‘Threats’ window contains minimum particulars.