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Management Jargon

Understanding Management Terminology

SWOT analysis

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and can be used to analyse a current situation and plan future action accordingly. 

The model first identifies current strengths and weaknesses, and then, leading on from that, opportunities to be maximised, and threats to be minimised or avoided.  SWOT is a flexible tool which can be applied to organisations or individuals, and provides an objective analytical framework for decision making and planning.

PESTLE analysis

PESTLE is an analytical tool which considers external factors and helps you to think about their impact.  The factors in a PESTLE analysis are Political, Environmental, Social, Technological, Legal and Economic (you may sometimes see this referred to simply as PEST, which uses just the first four factors).  In contrast to a SWOT, PESTLE encourages you to think about the wider environment and what might be happening now and in the future which will either benefit or disadvantage the organisation, individual etc – a kind of radar which picks up trends and developments in the outside world which can be used to inform longer term planning and strategy making.

Cost/benefit analysis

As the name suggests, a tool to weigh up the costs of implementing a recommendation or proposed change, versus the benefit to be gained from it.  A cost benefit analysis is often quantative, and might include the cost of equipment, employee time or training in introducing change, versus the benefits of money saved.  However, it is not always possible to put exact figures on the benefits or costs side, if these are intangible, and it becomes a less objective, more general comparison tool.


A method of quickly generating innovative ideas.  A group of people is encouraged to contribute ideas and possible solutions to a given problem or situation.  Ideas should be given quickly and spontaneously, without criticism or feedback from the group.  The aim is to encourage thinking outside the box and to break down barriers to creativity, to come up with a large number of radical ideas which can then be discussed and developed at a later stage.

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