Myth of the History of SWOT – Learned, Christensen, Andrews and Guth – why do so many writers get it wrong?
There are 100s of websites that claim to know the origins of the SWOT Analysis. But it seems that lazy writers copy from others without checking their facts!
Myth of the History of SWOT – Learned, Christensen, Andrews and Guth
Some researchers reference the 1965 publication “Business Policy, Text and Cases” by Learned, Christensen, Andrews and Guth
It is close but not a SWOT as any reader today would recognise.
Myth of the History of SWOT – “Business Policy, Text and Cases” by Learned, Christensen, Andrews and Guth – (from Harvard University) in which a framework is used which closely resembles a SWOT analysis, however these words are not used and certainly the framework is not described as succinctly as we know it today. In this book the terms used are:
Strengths, Weaknesses, opportunities, risks, environment & problems of other industries.
The terms SWOT Analysis or THREATS is not used in the 1965 version of the book “Business Policy, Text and Cases” – Many websites cite this incorrectly.
How do I know? Simple I bought the book and checked!
Background & History of the SWOT Analysis
The origins of the SWOT analysis technique is credited by Albert Humphrey, who led a research project at Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s using data from many top companies. The goal was to identify why corporate planning failed. The resulting research identified a number of key areas and the tool used to explore each of the critical areas was called SOFT analysis. Humphrey and the original research team used the categories “What is good in the present is Satisfactory, good in the future is an Opportunity; bad in the present is a Fault and bad in the future is a Threat.”
This was the first real time this model was published in this way.
How many other writers on this subject have done this?
In fact these authors reference a course note from K R Andrews “A Concept of Corporate Strategy “. The SWOT analysis on its own, is said to be meaningless (we at RapidBI fully agree!). It works best when part of an overall strategy or in a given context or situation. This strategy may be as simple as:
- Goal or objective
- SWOT analysis
- Evaluation or measures of success strategy
When you look for history or origins of management terms on the internet – be careful what you read.
100s of hours research
Over the years I have spend hours (days) looking at original documents. Why this myth keep perpetuating on main sites attempting to educate young managers is beyond me. It seems may writers are lazy. If any researcher wants to view the original copy of the book or a scan let me know!
Background & History of the SWOT Analysis see our main piece on this
Myth of the History of SWOT – Learned, Christensen, Andrews and Guth 100s of website have this wrong – why is this? What is the real origin of the SWOT Analysis? – why do so many writers get it wrong?