The SWOT analytical framework or SWOT matrix has been a popular tool for analyzing the internal and external situation of an organization. However, despite its notable advantages and applications, it has limitations and drawbacks that collectively correspond to insufficiencies in results.
The Problems with SWOT Analysis
1. One of the major drawbacks of SWOT analysis is that its users are prone to generating a long list of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The problem with this is that the framework does not include any mechanism for prioritizing the items within this list.
2. A tendency toward a one-dimensional perspective is another problem. The SWOT framework ignores the fact that an item or more specifically, a factor or condition can both be a strength and a weakness or an opportunity and a threat. There is no way to deal with overlaps.
3. Subjectivity is another drawback of SWOT analysis. The tool generally relies on observations. Note that data are important to improve the integrity of the analysis. However, people with no background in research are prone to use dubious data and generalizations.
4. Another limitation of the SWOT framework is that it is too simple. It can be easily designed and utilized. This simplicity translates to susceptibility to identify misrepresented factors or conditions or misinterpretation of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.