During your time as a business student, you may be asked to locate or create a SWOT analysis for a public company. A SWOT is one of the most well-known types of business models you will discover while taking classes in the Faculty of Management.
SWOTs are used by business leaders to identify and understand the key issues affecting their businesses which, in turn, can assist in determining the best strategy for the business to move forward.
What Is a SWOT Analysis?
SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
When undertaking a SWOT analysis, students analyze the strengths and weaknesses (internal factors) affecting a company along with the opportunities and threats (external factors) that the company faces. This type of analysis can be very insightful but it is not the only framework you can use to analyze a company.
To learn more about SWOTs, along with other key business and marketing models, click the eBook link below and read Chapter 45 – SWOT Analysis: Analysing growth opportunities at product, team or business level (pages 269-275).
A few of the library’s business database vendors offer access to published SWOT analyses for public companies.
NOTE: If you plan to use a published SWOT analysis in your work, be sure to cite the source you have used.
Business Source Ultimate: SWOT Analysis
Students should already be aware that our Business Source Ultimate (BSU) database is an excellent resource which contains a wide variety of quality materials including scholarly articles, company profiles, industry reports, and much more.
What you may not know is that Business Source Ultimate also offers access to thousands of SWOT analyses. The majority of SWOTs that are housed within BSU are provided by MarketLine (UK) a leading provider of online database and analysis services.
When using the Business Source Ultimate platform, type SWOT analysis into the search box as circled below. You should retrieve over 50,000+ SWOT analyses for various companies.
When searching for a SWOT for a specific company, type SWOT analysis AND the name of the company. In the example below, the search is for Apple Inc. Be sure to select the company entity field.
Business Source Ultimate also allows students to change their results from Relevance to Date Newest to obtain the most current SWOT analysis available.
Select the PDF Full-Text link to access the 8-page SWOT analysis for Apple Inc.
The majority of SWOT analyses in Business Source Ultimate (EBSCO) are authored by MarketLine (UK).
Students will notice that MarketLine provides a copyright statement at the end of each published SWOT analysis.
Please note that, like all research sources, SWOTs require careful evaluation.
Be sure to check the date when the SWOT analysis was created as the information presented may not be current.
D&B Hoovers: SWOT Analysis
D&B Hoovers offers students access to thousands of SWOT analyses. The majority of SWOTs within D&B Hoovers are provided by GlobalData (UK).
When accessing the D&B Hoovers platform, search for your company (e.g., Apple Inc.) and, if a SWOT analysis is available, it will be visible on the left side of your results screen as circled below:
- Copyright © 2021 GlobalData. All Rights Reserved.
- Retrieved from D&B Hoovers Inc., March, 2021.
Video – Finding a SWOT Analysis
To learn more about accessing a SWOT analysis using library-subscribed databases, please take time to watch the following video:
Investext via Mergent Online – SWOT Analysis
Investext contains a variety of company, industry, investment, and market intelligence reports written by analysts from 1700 investment banks, brokerage houses and independent research organizations such as Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Marketline, and Wells Fargo.
Investext reports can be retrieved by company name, ticker symbol, region, country, industry, subject, and category, as well as by using keywords – such as SWOT.
Following the example below, select Keywords and type SWOT in the search bar. Click the SUBMIT button to execute the query. You will see there are more than 29,000 results where SWOT is mentioned in Investext. Next step, select Company Name. Type in Canadian Tire and then click the SUBMIT button. You should receive about 5 results which contain SWOT AND Canadian Tire which you can then choose to Save or View.
Note that the default time frame when querying Investext is the last 12 months. The time frame can easily be changed if you wish.
Shown below is an example of a PDF of a SWOT analysis provided in Global Data’s Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review for Canadian Tire from April 2021.
- Copyright © 2021 GlobalData. All Rights Reserved.
- Retrieved from Investext via Mergent Online, April, 2021.
A reminder that if you choose to use a published SWOT analysis in your work, to avoid plagiarism, you must cite the sources you use in the creation of your assignment/report.
To discover more about your responsibilities with regard to citing your sources, please read the section:
Citing Your Sources in this module.
Need a PESTLE Analysis?
In addition to a SWOT analysis, your professor may suggest that you conduct a PESTLE analysis for your company. PESTLE can sometimes be referred to as either a PEST or PESTEL analysis. The aim of a PESTLE analysis is to identify the external factors that can present opportunities or threats to a company. For example, if the company was planning a global expansion or entering into a new market.
So what does a PESTLE analysis entail? Good question! PESTLE is an acronym for the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental factors affecting a company.
While PESTLE and SWOT offer two different perspectives, they do contain some common factors as shown in the diagram below.
As the diagram demonstrates, it can be useful to conduct a PEST/PESTLE analysis before undertaking a SWOT analysis because a PESTLE analysis can help to identify any external factors which may impact a SWOT’s opportunities and threats.
If you like to learn more about a PEST analysis or other business and marketing models, click this eBook link to read Chapter 33 – PEST: Assessing four major macro factors that shape a company’s future (pages 198-204).