Wednesday, August 31, 2016

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.


  1. Did the article state, what reason SWOT was found to be most effective with "Agriculture."

  2. Roland, thank you for your question. As for a clear reason as to why "agriculture" was found to be most effective method there is not a strait forward answer. However, that said, this article is a survey into how practitioners and scholars are implementing SWOT as a method of analysis in various fields since the method's creation. Further, the authors of this paper found that most countries who were utilizing SWOT as a form of analysis for agriculture were classified as "developing" nations, specifically India. If you have further interest, Faesel and Hill (1995) and Wah and Merican (2009) are further articles which discuss SWOT and agriculture referenced in the reviewed paper. The link to the article is provided in the above citation.

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  4. Did the researchers of this study explain the process of integrating the Analytic Hierarchy Process with SWOT to improve the effectiveness of strategic decision-making?

  5. Aubrey, great question! The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is a hybrid method otherwise considered: AWOT. There is a study the authors reference, Kurttila et. al. (2000), where they believe SWOT, "lacks the possibility of comprehensibly appraising the strategic decision-making situation..." So, given that reality of the standard SWOT method, the following AWOT process was presented:

    Step 1. SWOT analysis is carried out;
    Step 2. Pairwise comparisons between SWOT factors are carried out within every SWOT group;
    Step 3. Pairwise comparisons are made between the four SWOT groups;
    Step 4. The results are utilized in the strategy formulation and evaluation process.