Educators vs Entrepreneurs: Traits and bias in the teaching of SWOT

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    A study of the marks allocated by 10 tutors to 263 students' SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analyses on a range of business education courses reveals a largely hidden assumption regarding the balance of the four factors. To investigate the significance of this in light of the suggestion in the trait literature that entrepreneurs are born optimists and therefore are likely to emphasise S and O, above W and T, a detailed study of 10 entrepreneurs' approaches to SWOT was undertaken. This confirmed that, as expected, entrepreneurs' views do not gravitate towards balance in the same way that those of tutors do. However, subsequent quantitative and qualitative evaluations reveal that this is not solely indicative of a bias towards optimism by these entrepreneurs, since in more than half the cases considered it was the traits of tutors towards balance and inclusivity that seem to be misplaced. This conclusion leads the author to suggest that tutors abandon this assumption and accept that the degree of balance will vary.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)287 - 298
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


    • SWOT
    • pedagogy
    • enterprise and business education
    • entrepreneurial traits


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