| MetaSWOT: A Strategic Planning Tool for Sports Teams
by Ravikant Agarwal, Paul Bursik, Wolfgang Grassl and Joy Pahl, St. Norbert College
Management science has developed several decision support tools for facilitating the process of strategic planning. Like SWOT analysis and the Five-Forces Model, most of these begin with an analysis of the business environment in order to identify opportunities which organizations are then expected to capture. All of these planning tools have come under strong criticism for lacking both a theoretical rationale and success in making prescriptive predictions. Such outside-in approaches are of little value for the strategic planning of sports teams, because these generally show little adaptability, at least over a short term, to external opportunities. Sports teams are primarily driven by organizational factors such as the location of stadiums and other facilities, the availability and quality of athletes and coaches or trainers, support by a loyal fan base, etc., which suggest developing strategy by starting from the specific resources and capabilities of organizations. Because of the relative uniqueness of sports teams, which are monopolists in a specific region, or are associated with a particular academic institution, an inside-out approach to planning will be preferred. The theoretical background is provided by the resource-based view of firms.
As an alternative to outside-in planning methods such as SWOT analysis, a software tool is presented that takes a resource-based approach and guides planners in a series of systematic question-and-answer steps from an identification of critical success factors to an automatic suggestion of a strategy. MetaSWOT has been adjusted to the needs of sports teams regardless of types of athletic performance. It does not chart a strategy for a particular game or competition but serves as a planning tool to determine a winning strategy over competitors over strategic planning cycles. Entry of information can, depending data availability, be made at the metric or ordinal levels. MetaSWOT was developed by faculty members of St. Norbert College and can be used by organizations engaged in any sport at any level in order to develop better strategies including their financial and marketing components.