Introduction of Strategic Planning as Used in Organizations
Management scholars consent that strategic planning plays a significant role in the execution of an organizations mission. Effective strategic planning offers a framework that can be used in making decisions with respect to how organizational resources can be allocated, how challenges can be addressed and how organizations can exploit their opportunities. Strategic planning places emphasis in setting the priorities and directions for the organization, as well as identifying opportunities and obstacles that may facilitate or hinder the execution of the organizations mission. Through an effective strategic planning, an organizations leadership is in a position to elucidate and confirm the organizational values and mission, as well as defining the role of the organization within the community. Organizations also deploy strategic planning in identifying the external and internal opportunities and challenges that the organization may encounter. It helps in developing well-thought-measures that can be used to address the identified opportunities and challenges. When utilized properly, Fulmer, Stumpf, & Bleak, (2009) considers strategic planning as a powerful tool that can be used in ensuring that the organization remains effective, focused and energized.
Definitions of Terms Used by Authors
Strategic planning commenced as a military concept and later incorporated into the private sector. In the private sector, the General Electric Company pioneered the concept of strategic planning during the mid-1950s . By the end of 1960s, the concept of strategic planning received a widespread acceptance and recognition and was quickly adopted by several private organizations. There are several definitions of strategic planning. Nevertheless, the underlying emphasis of strategic planning is answering the questions what will be undertaken. Strategic planning as both a leadership process and instrument. For Vara & Crossan (2004), strategic planning commences with the establishment of the goals and objectives of an organization and then developing means and ways that can be used in the achievement of set goals and objectives. Strategic planning also offers direction with respect to the implementation of tactical planning. Hu, Kapucu, & O’Byrne (2014) defined strategic planning as a process that involves setting future directions and reducing risk. For Hu, Kapucu, & O’Byrne (2014), strategic planning entails making strategic decisions, developing consensus among an organizations top managers and developing a long-range plan. Another definition of strategic planning is provided by , who defines strategic planning as a method of guiding mangers in order for their actions and decisions to have an impact on the future of the organization in a manner that is both rational and consistent. Axson (2010) defined strategic planning as a process that involves the development of approaches aimed at achieving a defined objective. In line with such definition, it can be argued that strategic development entails defining goals and objectives followed by describing the approaches that the organization can undertake in order to achieve the pre-determined goals and objectives (Axson, 2010). From the various definitions of strategic planning three themes are evident, which include: (a) a management function or discipline that entails allocating resources to activities that are supposed to facilitate the achievement of organizational goals and objectives; (b) disciplined effort that is aimed at producing crucial actions and decisions that define what an organization is, what the organization does, including the reasons for its existence and actions; (c) a plan that integrates the goals and objectives of an organization, action sequences and organizational policies into a single unit. Overall, despite the fact that strategic planning has several definitions, it generally entails establishing goals, performing actions aimed at achieving the goals and then mobilizing resources in order to implement the actions.
How This Organizational Activity is Perceived by Constituents
According to Axson (2010), a strategic plan ought to reflect the wants, ideas, feelings and thoughts of developers and ensure that they are aligned with the mission and vision of the organization. Strategic planning requires extensive examination, discussion and probing of the constituents and leaders views that take part in the preparation of the strategic plan. Nevertheless, in most case, the developing of the strategic plan tends to be less complicated when compared to its implementation. It can be attributed to the fact that implementation divides the strategic plan as it requires the involvement of the entire organization (Hu, Kapucu, & O’Byrne, 2014).
Despite the fact that strategic planning plays a pivotal role in helping organizations think strategically and adapt to changes that take place in their external environments, organizations usually face challenges when integrating strategic planning into their management practice. In addition, strategic planning is perceived to be time-consuming and requires extra financial and human resources. Despite the challenges associated with strategic planning, the practice has been extensively adopted by various organizations including not-for-profit, private and public entities. The benefits of strategic planning to organizations has been documented in literature, including helping organizations improve their capability to adapt to changes that occur in the environment, improving decision-making within the organization, building and enhancing stakeholder relationships among others. According to Vera & Crossan (2004), strategic planning also results in a change of roles, board and structure of the management and the mission of the organization. Strategic planning has been linked to a number of benefits for organizations, including improving decision-making, problem solving, performance and clarification of the direction that the organization is supposed to take. Another perceived benefit of strategic planning was reported in a survey of managers by Fulmer, Stumpf & Bleak (2009). They reported that managers perceived strategic planning to help organizations better use their scarce resources and assess external challenges and opportunities instead of placing emphasis on the daily operations of the organization.
How the Main Ideas of the Articles Align with or Differ from DeKluyvers Presentation of Strategic Planning