Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Exploring treated wastewater issues related to agriculture in Europe, employing a quantitative SWOT analysis

Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Exploring treated wastewater issues related to agriculture in Europe, employing a quantitative SWOT analysis


This journal article uses a quantitative SWOT analysis for the SuWaNu research project funded by the “EU Commission FP7 framework.” The objective of the study is to identify impediments and factors for the application of sustainable water treatment and options for nutrient reuse in the EU.

  1. The methodological framework used in this study is a quantitative Delphi method supplemented by a concluding SWOT analysis. The survey sampled 25 experts who are keenly aware of the complexities of wastewater management. These subject matter experts were selected because they were invested stakeholders in Greece and Western Macedonia. The importance of the Delphi method in this particular case is that it is the first time the method is used with SWOT in a treated wastewater study. 
  1. The Delphi method uses a questionnaire that uses three steps, the first being the narrowing of important factors, and the ranking and listing of said factors. Included in the first step is a Likert-type scale value to allow a ranking file to be established from 0 (strongly disagree) to 9 (strongly agree).  In step two, it was sent to the pool of experts who were told to list 6 important strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to treated wastewater reuse and rank them accordingly. The ranking is step three by use of the Likert-type scale to rank all the subsets listed in each SWOT sector. 
  1. In the final analysis of the study, strengths of wastewater reuse were found in the markets, followed by economic aspects, and then legislation sector. Opportunities held high scores in technology transference; followed by economic aspects, water availability, and social aspects. For weaknesses, economic aspects followed by technical aspects, and markets held the highest scores. Finally, for threats, it was found technical aspects, social aspects, agriculture, and markets had the highest scores. 
In the conclusion, it was found that traditional farming in West Macedonia; a lack of innovation in applied agriculture technology; and a current economic crisis in Greece were major influencing factors for the results found in the study. Strengths for the future have forecasts to be in research and development capabilities to local agricultural research institutions.

The use of the Delphi method and SWOT are combined in this study to produce a forecast, intended to increase efficiency of agriculture and wastewater reuse in Western Macedonia. This study is important because it is the first time SWOT is used in wastewater issues. The study, though vague on the subsets listed under each SWOT area for major impacts to the results, still gives a good understanding of where agriculture can be taken in Western Macedonia.


Karasavvoglou, A. G., Kyrkilis, D., Polychronidou, P., Michailidis, A., Papadaki-Klavdianou, A., Apostolidou, I., et al. (2015). The Economies of Balkan and Eastern Europe Countries in the Changed World (EBEEC 2015) Exploring Treated Wastewater Issues Related to Agriculture in Europe, Employing a Quantitative SWOT Analysis. Procedia Economics and Finance, 33, 367-375.

SWOT Methodology: A State-of-the-Art Review for the Past, A Framework for the Future

SWOT Methodology: 

A State-of-the-Art Review for the Past, A Framework for the Future


In the research of Ghazinoory et. al. (2011), they undertook an exhaustive survey of SWOT literature till the end of 2009.  They concluded that notable usages of the SWOT methodology were used frequently in “Health & Healthcare” and the “General Management of Companies.” Additionally, they found that SWOT analysis was most likely to be used widely in corporate, national, and regional planning. Finally, they assessed that the SWOT method was not going to be neglected in the future as long as additional analytic components were added to its overall simple usability. The article was additionally divided up into six distinct sections with independent conclusions of one another.
  • In section one, the authors outlined the organization of the article in which they introduced what SWOT entails and when SWOT was first introduced to the research community.  Their intention was to aid the reader with the specific objective, “to improve our knowledge in this field,” and how to promote the future development of SWOT.
  • Section two was dedicated to the collection and review of all published SWOT articles which exist in the field up to the end of 2009.  In total, 557 papers had been published and could queried in the utilized databases. Additionally, they found that between 2005-2009 54% of all published papers had been produced showing a developing demand for SWOT usage and exponential growth from the method’s origins in the early 1980s.  Finally, it was found that the U.S., U.K., and India were the top producers of SWOT literature with emphasis on “Marketing Intelligence & Planning Health Policy,” with clear distinctions between methodological papers and applied-methodological approaches.
  • Section three surprisingly found that “Agriculture” was the number one field which utilized SWOT to determine future or current outcomes followed closely by Health & and Healthcare. This section also determined that in most studies where SWOT was used -- it generally was reserved for policy makers, decision making, and strategy making (or planning).
  • Section four swiftly provided insight to the methodological development of SWOT, most importantly on the simplicity of the method for quantitative analysis from a coding system and the ability to mesh effectively with additional methods as furthered in section five.
  • Section five systematically evaluates cases where SWOT was integrated into other methods for “improving the effectiveness of SWOT.” The authors took particular interest in Proctor (2000), Kurttila et. al. (2000) and Rudder and Louw (1998). Each of these added multi-pronged approaches to increasing the accuracy of SWOT. A Finnish team Kurttila et. al. (2000) developed Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to better add to the effectiveness of strategic decision-making abilities over other traditional SWOT methodologies
  •  Finally, in section six, the authors concluded in recapping on the overall key findings of their study.  They were most impressed that SWOT was not limited to the management field, but that SWOT research was found in various other scientific fields.  Also, they were fascinated that in countries like Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia that the queries for SWOT were on the rise.  Finding additionally three key trends, 1.) Integration of SWOT with other scientific techniques specifically decision making and quantifying techniques; 2.) Making intelligent SWOT by using corresponding techniques; 3.) Time dynamism of SWOT needs more attention and usually gets neglected by most of the authors.


Ghazinoory et. al. (2011) does an effective job at surveying the extant literature, however, lacks at taking the necessary time to effectively show how new approaches attached to SWOT effectively increases forecasting accuracy as they claim. However, they did make contribution to the overall body of literature in assessing how different research fields are in utilizing the SWOT methodology and are optimistic for its analytic survival in the near term when coupled effectively with other necessary analytic dimensions.


Ghazinoory, Sepehr et. al. (2011). SWOT Methodology: A State-of-the-Art Review for the Past, A   Framework for the Future. Journal of Business Economics and Management, 12: 1, 24-48.