Difference Between SWOT and TOWS


Though SWOT and TOWS appear to mere shuffle of letters, beyond that, there is a difference between SWOT and TOWS in terms of the sequence of analysis. In the current competitive business environment, it is a huge challenge for the managers to make decisions on behalf of the organization. Therefore, in order to make crucial strategic decisions they are concerned about various tools and techniques such as SWOT and TOWS analysis. Both these techniques can be useful in analyzing a company’s macro and micro environment. This article presents to you an analysis of the difference between SWOT and TOWS.

What is SWOT?

SWOT analysis can be identified as one of the important strategic planning tools that can be used in evaluating a company’s micro and macro environment. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats as indicated in the below diagram.

Difference Between SWOT and TOWS


Strengths include the areas in which the company is good at. Identifying these areas would be highly beneficial when making plans for the development of the company. These may include things like the company reputation, competent workforce, innovative product designs and the geographical location, cost advantages of the company, etc. 


Weaknesses may include the areas that need to be improved such as lack of advanced technological equipment, lack of efficiency in the workforce, etc. 


Organizational threats may include threats of the competitors, threats of substitutes, bargaining power of customers, bargaining power of suppliers, threats of new entrants. 


Opportunities are the benefits gained through external environmental factors such as opportunities for business expansions or favorable government regulations.

After analyzing these factors, management would be able to make the plans in order to get the advantages of the company strengths and opportunities while minimizing the risks created by external threats and internal weaknesses.

What is TOWS?

A TOWS analysis is almost similar to SWOT analysis, but in TOWS analysis the threats and the opportunities are initially analyzed and the weaknesses and strengths are analyzed at last. TOWS analysis may lead towards productive managerial discussions about the things that happen in the external environment rather than considering about the company’s internal strengths and weaknesses.

After analyzing all the factors related to threats, opportunities, weaknesses and strengths, managers can make plans for the company to take the advantages of opportunities and strengths by minimizing the negative impact of weaknesses and threats.

What is the difference between SWOT and TOWS?

• The major difference between SWOT and TOWS analysis is the order that the managers are concerned about the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities in making strategic decisions.

• In TOWS analysis, initial focus is on threats and opportunities, which may lead towards productive managerial discussions about the things which happen in the external environment rather than considering about the company’s strengths and weaknesses.

• In SWOT, inward analysis starts first; that is, the company’s strengths and weaknesses are analysed first in order to harp on the strengths to capture the opportunities and identify the weakness to overcome them.