SWOT ANALYSIS IN STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT: Definition, Importance, Limitations

steps limitations and importance of swot analysis in strategic management

Companies that are successful build on their strengths, correct their weaknesses and take precautions against both internal and external challenges. Additionally, they keep an eye on their overall business strategic management and are quicker than their competitors to find and take advantage of new opportunities. This article talks about the steps and limitations of SWOT analysis in strategic management.

What Is SWOT Analysis?

An analysis of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, or SWOT, is a planning procedure that aids in overcoming obstacles and identifying potential new business prospects. A SWOT analysis’ main goal is to assist enterprises in fully understanding all the variables that go into choosing a course of action. 

During a study to determine the reasons why business planning repeatedly failed, Albert Humphrey of the Stanford Research Institute developed this strategy in the 1960s.  Since its inception, SWOT analysis has emerged as one of the most effective tools for business owners to launch and expand their companies. Without first totally evaluating it from all perspectives, which includes a thorough examination of both internal and external factors, it is impossible to accurately map out a small trade’s future.

Elements of SWOT Analysis

The four classes listed below will be included in every SWOT analysis in strategic management.  A SWOT analysis is incomplete without each of the following elements. Even if the details and findings within these classes vary from firm to firm.

#1. Strengths

Strengths are things that a business excels at and that set it apart from the competition. For example, a strong brand, a devoted client base, a strong balance sheet, innovative technology, etc.  A hedge fund, for instance, may have created a proprietary trading method that outperforms the market.  After that, it must decide how to leverage those results to draw in more investors.

#2. Weaknesses

An organization’s weaknesses prevent it from operating at its highest potential.  A bad brand, higher-than-average turnover, high levels of debt, lack of supply chain, or a lack of cash are examples of areas where the company needs to improve in order to stay competitive.

#3. Opportunities

Opportunities are useful outside changes that might provide a company with a competitive edge. For instance, if a nation lowers its tariffs, a car producer may export its vehicles to a new market, helping sales and market share.

#4. Threats

Threats are things that could do something bad to an organization.  A company that produces wheat, for instance, is at risk from a drought since it could ruin crop yield.  Other frequent dangers include things like escalating material costs, fiercer competition, a lack of workers, and so forth.

The Important of SWOT Analysis in Strategic Management

Below are the important uses of SWOT analysis in strategic management: 

#1.Business Visibility

SWOT analysis is important to strategic management because it gives firms insight into their present competitive landscape.  They can also use it to learn corporate performance and how to put strategies into practice.  The majority of firms use SWOT analysis in strategic management to examine their strengths. They also use it to improve market penetration and achieve corporate goals.

#2. It Measures the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Company

The main goal of the SWOT analysis is to assist companies in analyzing their strengths and weaknesses. It also identifies the areas that require development and estimates the company’s opportunity to learn what the CHANGE of an organization is doing effectively.  An organization is able to direct a single endeavour, a directive process, or the resources of an organization as a whole through strategic management and the use of SWOT analysis.

#3. Examining the Organization as a Whole

An easy-to-use system called a SWOT analysis can be used to evaluate the organization’s overall strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You can concentrate on your advantages.  It reduces risks and makes the most of the chances that are shown to you.  SWOT analysis for an effective leader who is responsible for developing a strategic plan that must result in corporate change and support the operations of human aid management systems.  One of the most popular strategic management tools among executives, SWOT analysis is chosen for wide corporate analysis for good reason.

#4. Brainstorming for Companies

Before implementing a strategic plan, it’s vital to conduct a corporate brainstorming exercise. One of the important benefits of SWOT analysis in strategic management is that it provides a system for managing a range of company concerns.  This method turns it into a really valuable tool to support some brainstorming sessions.  Through a thorough SWOT analysis in strategic management, it is feasible to offer senses based on the company’s strengths, anticipated problems, and current chances.  The management tool allows you to understand your organization’s advantages, dangers, and areas for development.

How to Do a SWOT Analysis in Strategic Analysis

A SWOT analysis can be divided into numerous sections with concrete offers before and after assessing the four parts.  The following steps will often be involved in a SWOT analysis in strategic management.

#1. Get the Right Individuals Together

Make sure you have models from all of the departments and teams in your firm by bringing in people from various parts of the organization.  It will be crucial for your SWOT analysis to be successful if you discover that various groups within your firm will have radically different opinions.

#2. Throw Ideas Against the Wall.

There are proper and wrong ways to conduct a SWOT analysis, which is similar to brainstorming sessions. Before you start, I advise handing out sticky notes to everyone. Also, ask them to quietly come up with ideas on their own. Groupthink is avoided, and everybody’s voice is heard as a result.

#3. Gather Inspiration

The team tasked with guiding the study should start by jotting down ideas under each of the four classes of the SWOT analysis.

#4. Strategic Management

Porter defined strategy as a crucial tool for companies to differentiate from competitors and create a sustainable advantage for the company (Cao, Zhao, Yang, Xiong, 2015). Currently, strategy is one of the key factors for the company. Its purpose can be seen in a number of domestic and foreign publications dealing with strategic management. Strategic management consists of formulating the vision, mission, and goals of the organization.

It also includes examining the external and internal environment of the organization; choosing an appropriate strategy at a local, regional, or national level depending on the level of government; corporate design changes; administrative measures; and control systems for implementing the strategy (Geckováa, Papcunováb, 2014).

Likewise, strategic management defines goals for the working environment of the organization, which should be gained through mindful and planned methods (Güçlü, 2003).

The Steps of SWOT Analysis in Strategic Management

Below are the steps of SWOT analysis in strategic management: 

#1.External Environmental Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a study of the external environment. This includes factors that affect an organization’s potential for financial success or failure. It aims to identify the major technological, political, financial, social, cultural, demographic, natural, and ecological forces that are most likely to have an impact on the organization.

#2. Industry and Competitive Analysis

One of the steps of SWOT analysis in strategic management is the SWOT analysis’s competition and market analysis.  The following indicators are present: Examine the terrain of conflict; analyze how companies are built. Additionally, this second step of SWOT analysis in strategic management determines and evaluates specific rivals and also notices the main threats and chances facing the sector.

#3. Identification of Opportunities and Threats

You can identify dangers and chances in the external environment with the help of external analysis. This is one of the SWOT analysis processes. Simply ranking environmental features in terms of opportunity potential and threat potential is one way to conduct an opportunity and threat analysis. The management must see to it that the data gathered from environmental scanning is compiled and characterized in order to identify hazards and threats.

#4. Internal Environmental Analysis

The internal environmental analysis is the sup-step of the steps of SWOT analysis, recognizing the areas for scrutiny (for instance, product position, financial position, etc.). Equally important, this step of SWOT analysis in strategic management evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of their strategy-making implications. It also identifies the organization’s internal weaknesses and resource shortages.

#5. Concluding SWOT Analysis and Drawing Conclusion

This is the final step of the SWOT analysis in strategic management. This step identifies the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. It also identifies threats to an organization’s condition in order to evaluate how attractive it is and determine whether or not strategic action is required.

The Limitations of SWOT Analysis in Strategic Management

A SWOT analysis is just one step in the process of business planning, so keep that in mind as you go through it.  Making decisions on difficult issues usually involves a more thorough investigation and analysis. Remember that a SWOT analysis only addresses problems that can be classified into strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, or threats.  Due to this, it can be challenging to handle unclear or dual aspects with a SWOT analysis, such as those that could be both a strength and a weakness (e.g., you might have a prominent location, but the lease can be expensive).

Limitations to SWOT Analysis that are not in the Control of Strategic Management

  •  Increase in price.
  •  Inputs/raw materials;
  •  Government legislation;
  • Economic environment;
  •  Looking for a new market for the product which does not have an overseas market due to import restrictions, etc.

Internal Limitations of SWOT Analysis in Strategic Management

  • Inadequate research and development structures
  • Faulty products due to poor quality control
  • Poor industrial relations;
  • Lack of skilled and efficient labor, etc.


In strategic management, SWOT analysis helps your company analyze its strengths and weaknesses in order to better pierce the market and meet business targets. It also evaluates your company’s opportunity to know what the change of an organization is doing well and identify the areas of needed development. It lets you understand business performance and ways to execute strategies.

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FAQs on SWOT analysis in strategic management

Why is SWOT important in strategic management?

You will find the parts of your organization that are doing well by conducting a SWOT analysis. These are your crucial success elements, and they provide your company with an edge over the competition. By recognizing these assets, you can also ensure that you hold onto them and preserve your competitive advantage.

What are the characteristic of SWOT analysis?

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are the four main components of a SWOT analysis, although these components represent much more. 

Your internal factors are your strengths and limitations, while external variables and measurements are your opportunities and threats.

What are examples of opportuniyies and threats?

  • Threats and opportunities come from events outside of your business, in the wider market. 
  • Opportunities and threats can be seized, and you can take precautions to avoid them, but you cannot alter them. 
  • Examples include rivals, raw material costs, and consumer shopping patterns.