This factsheet was last updated in November 2010.
What is SWOT analysis?
SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Occasionally, it may also be found as a ‘WOTS up’ analysis or the TOWS analysis. The technique is credited to Albert Humphrey who led a research project at Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s using data from leading companies involved in long range planning processes.
A SWOT analysis is a planning tool used to understand the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business. It involves stating the objective of the business or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are either supportive or unfavourable to achieving that objective. SWOT is often used as part of a strategic or business planning process, but can be useful in understanding an organisation or situation and decision-making for all sorts of situations.