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Evaluate research evidence for addressing unmet needs in health care or nursing

Week 7: Tools for Strategic Planning—Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats Analysis

The leaders at a home health agency hopes to expand their client base by forging a presence in several nearby communities. Those engaged in strategic planning begin to survey the internal environment, evaluating their financial resources, the skills and expertise of staff and administration, and technology infrastructure. In addition, they assess the external environment, examining the needs of their current and potential customers, services offered by competing organizations, the labor market, the economy, and regulatory issues.

Situational analysis involves looking within a group or organization, as well as throughout the external environment to ascertain current conditions and future possibilities. This week you examine how to direct and organize an analysis in preparation for planned change.

For your Course Project, you apply the principles of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats(SWOT) analysis, a well-known tool used to assess internal and external environments relative to a proposed change. By evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the group or organization, as well as the opportunities and threats in the environment, leader-managers can use this information to facilitate effective strategic planning.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

· Apply a strategic planning tool to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a proposed change

· Identify a topic for a culminating project

· Analyze historical data and forecasts to identify opportunities for change

· Evaluate research evidence for addressing unmet needs in health care or nursing

Photo Credit: alexsl/E+/Getty Images

Learning Resources

Note:  To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Ghazinoory, S., Abdi, M., & Azadegan-Mehr, M. (2011). SWOT methodology: A state-of-the-art review for the past, a framework for the future. Journal of Business Economics & Management, 12(1), 24–48.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.


This article provides a valuable introduction to SWOT analysis and presents a SWOT matrix for developing strategies.

Hamidi, K., & Delbahari, V. (2011). Formulating a strategy for a university using SWOT technique: A case study. Australian Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences, 5(12), 264–276.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.


The author examines the application of SWOT analysis at a university.

Houston, K, T., Bradham, T. S., Muñoz, K. F., & Guignard, G. H. (2011). Newborn hearing screening: An analysis of current practices. Volta Review, 111(2), 109–120.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.


This article provides an example of SWOT analysis related to early detection and intervention of hearing problems in newborns.

White, K. R., & Blaiser, K. M. (2011). Strategic planning to improve EHDI programs. Volta Review, 111(2), 83–108.

Retrieved from http://ajbasweb.com/old/ajbas/2011/December-2011/264-276.pdf


This article describes the methods used to conduct a SWOT analysis and then identify specific recommendations for action.

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2013f). Focus on SWOT analysis [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu


Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 2 minutes.


Dr. Carol Huston describes SWOT analysis and explains why it is important.

Accessible player

Discussion: Preparing for a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats Analysis

As SWOT framework does not have a strictly defined structure, sometimes it becomes an art more than a science, which makes it difficult for practitioners to use SWOT and extract strategies from it.

— Sepehr Ghazinoory, Mansoureh Abdi, and Mandana Azadegan-Mehr, “SWOT Methodology: A State-of-the-Art Review for the Past, a Framework for the Future”

How does the statement above resonate with what you have learned about SWOT analysis thus far? This Discussion serves as preparation for the SWOT analysis you are conducting for your Course Project. How would you approach this part of strategic planning to address the unmet need you have identified?

To prepare:

· Review the Learning Resources, including this week’s media presentation, focusing on the elements of a SWOT analysis.

· Think about your Course Project and the data sources you could analyze to conduct a SWOT analysis at your selected location.

· Reflect on who else, besides yourself, should be involved in conducting the SWOT analysis related to the identified unmet need.

· Consider how values and experiences may influence perceptions related to SWOT analysis. Think about the specific group, unit, or organization that is the focus of your Course Project. How would conducting a SWOT analysis in this setting versus another affect the investigation? How would the involvement of certain individuals—and the lack of involvement by others—affect the analysis


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