SWOT (Strenghts, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats)
Why is this tool used in evaluation?
SWOT analysis (Strengths - Weaknesses - Opportunities - Threats) is a strategy analysis tool. It combines the study of the strengths and weaknesses of an organisation, a geographical area, or a sector, with the study of the opportunities and threats to their environment. As such, it is instrumental in development strategy formulation.
The aim of the analysis is to take into account internal and external factors, maximising the potential of strengths and opportunities, while minimising the impact of weaknesses and threats.
SWOT analysis is usually prepared through meetings with the stakeholders or experts concerned with the strategy.
What use can be made of SWOT analysis?
SWOT analysis can be used to identify possible strategic approaches. Although originally designed for planning, this tool is used in evaluation to ensure that the implemented strategy is appropriate to the situation described in the analysis. Thus, it may either be used for:
How is a swot analysis carried out?
What are the tool's conditions for use?
The prerequisites for its use in country evaluations almost exclusively relate to the selection of the participants.
How is the level of analysis chosen?
How should the sessions be prepared?
Whatever the methodology, the preparation of meetings should include, as a minimum, documentary analysis and interviews with key resource people.
Planning how to select the group, its size and its possible division into subgroups (thematic, regional, types of actors, etc.) are also crucial at this stage.
How are the 4 components selected and studied?
The sequence, and the way to determine and study the 4 components (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), may greatly differ.
Study of the strengths
Strengths are positive internal factors that are controlled by the organisation, or the country, and which provide foundations for the future.
Study of the weaknesses
In contrast to the strengths, weaknesses are negative internal elements, which are controlled by the organisation, and for which key improvements can be made.
As SWOT analysis is based on the participants' judgements, it is subjective and qualitative by nature. If the study of the strengths and weaknesses needs to be developed, 2 complementary tools can be used: resources audit and analysis of best practice (comparison within a country between what works and what is lacking, with respect to specific indicators).
Study of the opportunities
Opportunities are the external positive possibilities which can be taken advantage of in the context of contemporary strengths and weaknesses. They are often beyond the influence of a country, or at the margins (for example, the evolution of international consumers' taste concerning one of the country's commodities, the improvement of the economy in a "client" country, the increase of Internet trade).
Study of the threats
Threats are difficulties, impediments, or external limitations which can prevent or impede the development of a country, or a sector (for example, the industry). Threats are often beyond the influence of a country, or at its margin (for example, consumers avoiding national products which are economically important for the country, large increases in energy prices, general decrease in the development assistance).
How can the swot components be combined to develop a synthesis?
This stage focuses on strategies to maximise the use of information.
During this stage, the evaluator should systematically study all 10 possibilities presented in this chart, from information provided by the SWOT analysis. This task should ideally be carried out with groups during the sessions.
What are the preconditions for its use?
What are the advantages and limitations of the tool?