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Appears in:
Pages: 7069-7074
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain

HOW TO EVALUATE THE WORK-LIFE BALANCE OF PART-TIME. BUSINESS STUDENTS AND HENCE REDUCE DROP-OUTS: A PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE SWOT-ANALYSIS TOOL

B. Koenig

University of Applied Sciences Burgenland (AUSTRIA)
The SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis is a common ingredient of any strategic analysis tool kit and is particularly well known as a helpful basic framework to investigate and analyse given business situations and to support managerial decision making. A powerful tool with some significant limitations, it is, however, not yet fully explored in its possible application for change management, notably in the tertiary education sector. This paper aims to shed light on an amplified application of the SWOT tool, used to evaluate the work-life balance of part-time business students and hence to reduce drop-outs among this group.

In 2008, 31% of all students at Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) throughout Austria were part-time students [1]. This is perfectly mirrored in the student body of the UAS Burgenland: There is a growing tendency of students starting part-time higher business education in order to enhance their capabilities and to increase their opportunities and employability. It can be observed, however, that amongst these students there is rather a high drop-out rate within the first two semesters compared with full-time students. This is hardly due to a lack of knowledge or academic ability but rather because of underestimating the particular constraints that part-time studies combined with a job and family live, puts on those students. To avoid irrational decisions to abandon their studies prematurely based on emotions which would later be regretted, an amplified SWOT analysis supports part-time students in evaluating internal (personal) and external pros and cons.
Students themselves are requested to identify their competencies and within the SWOT framework also to envisage the benefits of pursuing their studies as well as the risks they incur for themselves and their respective careers if they drop-out. This simple visualisation helps to see their situation more clearly and increases their awareness of possible consequences of premature drop-out decisions.

Still, the conventional SWOT framework offers just a “passive” list of elements – neither weighted nor with any concrete action items. Thus an important amplification is the so-called Confrontation Matrix [2], which combines the personal competencies with the external opportunities and risks. The result are four “strategy fields” stating precise measures on a) how to pursue opportunities with existing personal strengths, b) how to turn a weakness into a strength in order to make use of opportunities, c) how to use one’s strengths to defend one’s self against threats and finally d) how to turn weaknesses into strengths to avoid any upcoming risk. Adding a Confrontation Matrix to a conventional SWOT analysis is an innovative way of verbalising possible solutions to a problem and turning a simple list of pros and cons into a tangible decision.

References:
[1] Austrian Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (FHK), “Factbox_September08”, http://www.fhk.ac.at/fileadmin/fhkdata/MarketingleiterInnen/Factbox_September08.xlsReference 2, (July 2009).
[2] Nijssen, Edwin J., Frambach, Ruud T., “Creating Customer Value Through Strategic Marketing Planning – A Management Approach”, (2001).
@InProceedings{KOENIG2009HOW,
author = {Koenig, B.},
title = {HOW TO EVALUATE THE WORK-LIFE BALANCE OF PART-TIME. BUSINESS STUDENTS AND HENCE REDUCE DROP-OUTS: A PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE SWOT-ANALYSIS TOOL},
series = {2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-2953-3},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {7069-7074}}
TY - CONF
AU - B. Koenig
TI - HOW TO EVALUATE THE WORK-LIFE BALANCE OF PART-TIME. BUSINESS STUDENTS AND HENCE REDUCE DROP-OUTS: A PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE SWOT-ANALYSIS TOOL
SN - 978-84-613-2953-3/2340-1095
PY - 2009
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2009
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2009 Proceedings
SP - 7069
EP - 7074
ER -
B. Koenig (2009) HOW TO EVALUATE THE WORK-LIFE BALANCE OF PART-TIME. BUSINESS STUDENTS AND HENCE REDUCE DROP-OUTS: A PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE SWOT-ANALYSIS TOOL, ICERI2009 Proceedings, pp. 7069-7074.
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