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SWOT analysis is defective as a tool for guiding strategic planning because of its subjective, unsystematic, and non‐quantitative nature that lacks predictive power. This paper aims to present an alternative tool that overcomes these defects and is grounded in the resource‐based view of the firm. Meta‐SWOT does not take markets and other factors in the competitive environment as given but invites planners to start from resources and capabilities in determining competitive advantage.
Based on a critique of SWOT analysis, an alternative decision‐support method is presented. Meta‐SWOT is based on the inside‐out approach typical of the resource‐based view of the firm. The method is implemented in a workbook programmed in Microsoft Excel that guides decision‐makers in a systematic step‐by‐step process of questions and answers from an initial brainstorming to a prioritized list of action steps. Input decisions generate a competitive map and a strategy map that assist effective planning. The idea of strategic fit is central to the process.
Systematic analysis of a business and sequential decision‐making can overcome many of the weaknesses of SWOT. The paper demonstrates the implementation of a theory of business in spreadsheets and the derivation of more objective, systematic, and quantitative recommendations.
Meta‐SWOT is an original but relatively simple software that can be used for a wide range of strategic planning exercises. The Excel workbook is made available for free to interested readers.
This paper aims to present Aquinas' psychological theory of action as a useful guide for understanding decision making in management.
A conceptual reconstruction of Aquinas' views on the structure of the moral act is shown to apply to the process of decision making in management.
Grounded in a rich rational psychology, Aquinas' theory of action allows for prescription that harmonizes instrumental rationality, the will, and personal morality. It captures contemporary approaches well and provides better explanations of management success and failure than do models of rational choice. Since the exercise of practical reason can be learned, the model is optimistic about the possibility of management development.
The paper stops at the conceptual level. The interplay between reason and will, or between deliberative and prescriptive stages in decision making, opens up a field of empirical research in management.
Aquinas' virtue ethics has been applied to management, but this is the first suggestion to draw on his theory of action. If fully developed, it promises a radical alternative to models based on functional reasoning and utilitarian values.