SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool which is often used by organizations and project managers in order to examine four key elements: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

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Problems and Purpose

The SWOT analysis or matrix is a structured planning method used by organizations (projects, business ventures) to assess four key elements: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The ultimate goal of the analysis is to determine the 'strategic fit'; that is, the degree to which the internal environment of the organization conforms to its external surroundings. 

According to the Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas, the SWOT analysis can serve several purposes:

  • Explore possibilities for new efforts or solutions to problems.
  • Make decisions about the best path for your initiative. Identifying your opportunities for success in context of threats to success can clarify directions and choices.
  • Determine where change is possible. If you are at a juncture or turning point, an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses can reveal priorities as well as possibilities.
  • Adjust and refine plans mid-course. A new opportunity might open wider avenues, while a new threat could close a path that once existed.

Origins and Development

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How it Works

The analysis is usually done by those within the organization so selection of participants depends on the hiring practices. Outside analysis may be sought but the method of participant selection would remain unaltered.

Analysis and Lessons Learned

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See Also

Participatory Rural Appraisal 


External Links 

A strategic approach to participatory development planning: the case of a rural community in Belize  


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