Category: Definition Essay

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

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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

A review of literature reveals that De Kluyvers presentation of strategic planning is consistent with the main ideas regarding the process as presented in the articles. According to De Kluyver & Pearce (2012), strategy focuses on positioning an entity, particularly for competitive advantage. De Kluyver asserts that strategy entails making choices regarding the industries that the organization can choose to operate in, the services and produces to offer, as well as how the organization can allocate its resources. Similar views are expressed by Axson (2010) and Vera & Crossan (2004) in their definitions of strategic planning. They support the view that strategic planning is a management function or discipline that entails allocating resources to activities that are supposed to facilitate the achievement of organizational goals and objectives. De Kluyver (2012) argues that the primary purpose of strategic planning is to create values for stakeholders and shareholders through offering customer value. It is not aligned with the purpose of strategic planning outlined by Mizikaci (2006), who argues that the primary purpose of strategic planning is to help an organization establish priorities, as well as to position the organization to better address the needs of its constituency. According to Fulmer, Stumpf & Bleak (2009), a strategic plan ought to be sufficiently practical and flexible, while at the same time offer a guiding framework for implementing programs, assessing the performance of implemented programs and initiating necessary adjustments.

Another important aspect in De Kluyvers elucidation of strategic planning is that strategic planning is concerned with creating a long-term vision although rapid changes should be anticipated and from which the organization should continually learn. Similar sentiments are echoed by Mizikaci (2006), who argues that strategic planning is perceived to take a generally longer-term and broader view when compared to tactical planning, which outlines the specific activities that an organization is going to undertake. Strategic planning has the primary objective of defining the purpose of the organization, the foundation of the organizations competitive differentiation, the markets that the organization will operate in, position of the organization in those markets, as well as how the organization will adapt to changes in the market in order to exploit opportunities and alleviate risks. Strategic planning also encompasses defining targets and key points that can be used in tracking the progress of the organization with respect to the achievement of its goals and objectives.

De Kluyver & Pearce (2012) also emphasize on the importance of strategies aligning capabilities and resources with goals. In this regard, De Kluyver asserts that strategic planning entails the acquisition and allocation of resources and building capabilities. In this regard, it is evident that De Kluyvers view of strategic planning is broader than views of other authors regarding strategic planning. Specifically, De Kluyver and Pearce extend strategic planning to include building capabilities, which is not emphasized by the other authors.

Another important aspect of strategic planning outlined by De Kluyver and Pearce (2012) relates to the various levels of strategic planning, which include functional, business unit and corporate strategies. All these levels are integral in determining an organizations future. Corporate strategy places emphasis on managing the overall portfolio of an organization. Business unit strategy places emphasis on aspects such as the product/service to offer and its development, whereas functional strategy is used in smaller and more focused business divisions such as marketing and research and development among others (De Kluyver & Pearce, 2012).

Impact of the Articles on Leadership Perspective

The impact of the articles on leadership perspective can studied in terms of strategic leadership, which is a form of a leadership style that places emphasis on offering vision and direction for an organization to achieve success and subsequent growth. Essentially, a strategic leader should be able to effectively manage change, which poses a need for a leader to be equipped with the tools and skills needed to formulate and implement strategy. In addition, change management in an uncertain environment requires strategic leaders who are not only capable of providing direction, but should also be capable to align their work groups to work towards the achievement of the organizations vision.

How the Information from the Articles, the De Kluyvers text, and the CIPP Model Can be Integrated for Use Within Continuing Program Education at Miami Dade College

The Stufflebeams Context, Input, Process and Product (CIPP) evaluation model comprises of a comprehensive framework that can be used to perform both summative and formative ratings of evaluation systems, organizations, products, personnel and projects. The CIPP model was particularly designed as a guiding framework for systematic and comprehensive evaluation of both educational and social projects. The CIPP model places emphasis on learning in order to recognize corrections that can be adopted for problems associated with projects. The four components of CIPP include context evaluation, input evaluation, process evaluation and product evaluation. Context evaluation is analogous to needs assessment and helps in the assessment of opportunities, assets and problems in a particular environmental context. Input evaluation is concerned with what ought to be done, including the procedures and educational strategies that can be adopted to achieve the desired outcomes. As a result, input evaluation seeks to identify and evaluate the existing system capabilities and make recommendations on alternative strategies. Process evaluation is concerned with monitoring the implementation of the project with the main objectives of documenting the project and gathering feedbacks associated with the need for adjustments and the degree to which the planned undertakings are executed. Product evaluation focuses on the identification and assessment of the project outcomes, including whether or not the project was a success. In the context of Continuing Program Education at Miami Dade College, the CIPP model can be used in the identification of the learning needs of the university, as well as the community. The input evaluation part of the CIPP can be used in prescribing a responsive project to address the needs that have been identified. For instance, an identified need could be to increase the capacity of the program by increasing the number of classes offered and the number of faculty staff. The process evaluation part of the CIPP can be used in monitoring the alternatives proposed. For example, it identifies whether there will be a need for any adjustments, such as the need to further increase the number of classes offered and the faculty staff beyond the initial established suggestions. Lastly, the product valuation part can be used to assess the outcomes of such strategic alternatives, such as whether the increase in faculty members and classes has translated into an increased enrolment for the program.

The concept of strategic planning can also be applied for Continuing Program Education at Miami Dade College. It will entail first identifying the mission and vision for the program followed by performing internal and external analyses and benchmarking in order to offer a context for the development of strategic issues for the program. The next step involves the development of particular strategies, including tactics, action plans and goals. The Miami Dade College should then undertake periodic evaluations of its strategies in order to review the strategic plan, while taking into consideration evolving changes, as well as emergent strategies.

Conclusion

Current paper has discussed the concept of strategic planning, including an evaluative model, the CIPP. The emphasis of strategic planning is placed on establishing goals and objectives, developing action plans to achieve the predetermined goals, followed by mobilizing resources in order to implement the formulated actions. Effective strategic planning ensures that the organization remains focused. The impact of strategic planning on leadership perspective is performed through strategic leadership, which focuses on offering vision and direction for the organization, as well as aligning work groups to achieve the vision of the organization. In addition, the paper outlines how CIPP can be implemented at the Continuing Program Education at Miami Dade University. More so, CIPP has great potential of improving the program outcomes through its evaluation and developing strategic solutions to address the identified needs and problems associated with the program.