American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Developing a Strategic Plan for a Program in Communication Sciences and Disorders

Understanding Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT)

What is a SWOT Analysis?

SWOT analysis is an effective way of identifying a program's Strengths and Weaknesses, and of examining the Opportunities and Threats the program faces. Carrying out an analysis using the SWOT framework helps to focus program activities into areas where the program is strong and where the greatest opportunities lie. Carrying out a SWOT analysis will be helpful both in terms of pointing out what needs to be done, and in putting problems into perspective.

How to do a SWOT Analysis

To carry out a SWOT Analysis, write down answers to the following questions.

Strengths

  • What advantages does the program have?
  • What do you do well?
  • What relevant resources do you have access to?
  • What do other people see as your strengths?

Consider this from your own point of view and from the point of view of the people you deal with. Be realistic. In looking at your strengths, think about them in relation to your competitors.

Weaknesses

  • What could you improve?
  • What do you do badly?
  • What should you avoid?

Again, consider this from an internal and external basis: Do other people seem to perceive weaknesses that you do not see? Are your competitors doing any better than you? It is best to be realistic now and face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.

Opportunities

  • Where are the good opportunities facing you?
  • What are the interesting trends you are aware of?

A useful approach to looking at opportunities is to look at your strengths and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities. Alternatively, look at your weaknesses and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating them.

Threats

  • What obstacles do you face?
  • What is your competition doing?
  • Are the requirements for your program changing?
  • Is program funding a problem?
  • Are changing demographics threatening your program?
  • Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your program?

By looking both inside and outside of your program for things that could damage your program, you may be better able to see the big picture and deal with threats in a timely manner.

Share This Page

Print This Page