SWOT analysis problems and solutions: Practitioners’ feedback into the ongoing academic debate
Keywords:academic-practitioner divide, strategic management tools, SWOT
AbstractThe literature on SWOT is characterized by a debate among academics who have identified problems and proposed solutions for the strategic management tool, yet little research to date has captured practitioners’ perspectives. Recent literature indicates that SWOT is still the most popular strategic management tool among competitive intelligence (CI) professionals. The purpose of this study is to bridge this academic-practitioner divide in the SWOT literature by conducting a cross-sectional survey that gathers practitioners’ feedback regarding whether they are experiencing the problems or employing the solutions proposed by academia. A survey was distributed via LinkedIn to collect data from CI and other business professionals who conduct SWOT in the workforce. The findings confirm that practitioners experience select problems identified by the literature. Specifically, they may have too many factors per SWOT category, may be defining factors with ambiguous and unclear words, and may not have a means for resolving conflicts when factors fall in multiple categories (e.g., opportunity and threat). The findings also indicate that practitioners may not be consistently conducting SWOT as a structured business process, as proposed in the literature. The feedback provided by CI and other business professionals aids in closing the academic-practitioner divide by more clearly identifying persistent issues with SWOT and creating valuable and actionable insights that will drive the continual improvement of this popular strategic management tool.
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