• Planning Process

Planning is the first primary function of management that precedes all other functions . The planning function involves the decision of what to do and how it is to be done? So managers focus a lot of their attention on planning and the planning process . Let us take a look at the eight important steps of the planning process.

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The planning function of management is one of the most crucial ones. It involves setting the goals of the company and then managing the resources to achieve such goals. As you can imagine it is a systematic process involving eight well thought out steps. Let us take a look at the planning process.

1] Recognizing Need for Action

An important part of the planning process is to be aware of the business opportunities in the firm’s external environment as well as within the firm.  Once such opportunities get recognized the managers can recognize the actions that need to be taken to realize them. A realistic look must be taken at the prospect of these new opportunities and SWOT analysis should be done.

Say for example the government plans on promoting cottage industries in semi-urban areas. A firm can look to explore this opportunity.

What are the Types of Plan?

2] Setting Objectives

This is the second and perhaps the most important step of the planning process. Here we establish the objectives for the whole organization and also individual departments . Organizational objectives provide a general direction, objectives of departments will be more planned and detailed.

Objectives can be long term and short term as well. They indicate the end result the company wishes to achieve. So objectives will percolate down from the managers and will also guide and push the employees in the correct direction.

Importance, Features, and Limitation of Planning here in detail .

3] Developing Premises

Planning is always done keeping the future in mind, however, the future is always uncertain. So in the function of management certain assumptions will have to be made. These assumptions are the premises. Such assumptions are made in the form of forecasts, existing plans, past policies, etc.

These planning premises are also of two types – internal and external. External assumptions deal with factors such as political environment, social environment , the advancement of technology , competition, government policies , etc. Internal assumptions deal with policies, availability of resources, quality of management , etc.

These assumptions being made should be uniform across the organization. All managers should be aware of these premises and should agree with them.

4] Identifying Alternatives

The fourth step of the planning process is to identify the alternatives available to the managers. There is no one way to achieve the objectives of the firm, there is a multitude of choices. All of these alternative courses should be identified. There must be options available to the manager.

Maybe he chooses an innovative alternative hoping for more efficient results. If he does not want to experiment he will stick to the more routine course of action. The problem with this step is not finding the alternatives but narrowing them down to a reasonable amount of choices so all of them can be thoroughly evaluated.

5] Examining Alternate Course of Action

The next step of the planning process is to evaluate and closely examine each of the alternative plans. Every option will go through an examination where all there pros and cons will be weighed. The alternative plans need to be evaluated in light of the organizational objectives.

For example, if it is a financial plan. Then it that case its risk-return evaluation will be done. Detailed calculation and analysis are done to ensure that the plan is capable of achieving the objectives in the best and most efficient manner possible.

6] Selecting the Alternative

Finally, we reach the decision making stage of the planning process. Now the best and most feasible plan will be chosen to be implemented. The ideal plan is the most profitable one with the least amount of negative consequences and is also adaptable to dynamic situations.

The choice is obviously based on scientific analysis and mathematical equations. But a managers intuition and experience should also play a big part in this decision. Sometimes a few different aspects of different plans are combined to come up with the one ideal plan.

7] Formulating Supporting Plan

Once you have chosen the plan to be implemented, managers will have to come up with one or more supporting plans. These secondary plans help with the implementation of the main plan. For example plans to hire more people, train personnel, expand the office etc are supporting plans for the main plan of launching a new product. So all these secondary plans are in fact part of the main plan.

8] Implementation of the Plan

And finally, we come to the last step of the planning process, implementation of the plan. This is when all the other functions of management come into play and the plan is put into action to achieve the objectives of the organization. The tools required for such implementation involve the types of plans- procedures, policies, budgets, rules, standards etc.

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Q: _______ involves scientific analysis of the decision process

  • Linear Programming
  • Risk Analysis
  • Operations Research
  • None of the above

Ans: The correct option is C. Operation research is the application of scientific and mathematical methods to study and analyse problems involving complex systems. It is a powerful tool for decision making.

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  • Types of Plan
  • Introduction, Meaning, Importance, Features and Limitations of Planning

One response to “Introduction, Meaning, Importance, Features and Limitations of Planning”

You made a good point that I should be wary of dynamic situations when dealing with business planning. Nevertheless, I still think that having a good business plan is essential for the game development company that I’m planning to start in the future. Perhaps hiring a business planning consultant would be a good way to have a good footing from the very beginning of the venture.

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17.2 The Planning Process

  • Outline the planning and controlling processes.

Planning is a process. Ideally it is future oriented, comprehensive, systematic, integrated, and negotiated. 11 It involves an extensive search for alternatives and analyzes relevant information, is systematic in nature, and is commonly participative. 12 The planning model described in this section breaks the managerial function of planning into several steps, as shown in Exhibit 17.3 . Following this step-by-step procedure helps ensure that organizational planning meets these requirements.

Step 1: Developing an Awareness of the Present State

According to management scholars Harold Koontz and Cyril O’Donnell, the first step in the planning process is awareness. 13 It is at this step that managers build the foundation on which they will develop their plans. This foundation specifies an organization’s current status, pinpoints its commitments, recognizes its strengths and weaknesses, and sets forth a vision of the future. Because the past is instrumental in determining where an organization expects to go in the future, managers at this point must understand their organization and its history. It has been said—“The further you look back, the further you can see ahead.” 14

Step 2: Establishing Outcome Statements

The second step in the planning process consists of deciding “where the organization is headed, or is going to end up.” Ideally, this involves establishing goals. Just as your goal in this course might be to get a certain grade, managers at various levels in an organization’s hierarchy set goals. For example, plans established by a university’s marketing department curriculum committee must fit with and support the plans of the department, which contribute to the goals of the business school, whose plans must, in turn, support the goals of the university. Managers therefore develop an elaborate network of organizational plans, such as that shown in Exhibit 17.4 , to achieve the overall goals of their organization.

Goal vs. Domain Planning

Outcome statements can be constructed around specific goals or framed in terms of moving in a particular direction toward a viable set of outcomes. In goal planning , people set specific goals and then create action statements. 15 For example, freshman Kristin Rude decides that she wants a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry (the goal). She then constructs a four-year academic plan that will help her achieve this goal. Kristin is engaging in goal planning. She first identifies a goal and then develops a course of action to realize her goal.

Another approach to planning is domain/directional planning , in which managers develop a course of action that moves an organization toward one identified domain (and therefore away from other domains). 16 Within the chosen domain may lie a number of acceptable and specific goals. For example, high-school senior Neil Marquardt decides that he wants to major in a business-related discipline in college. During the next four years, he will select a variety of courses from the business school curriculum yet never select a major. After selecting courses based on availability and interest, he earns a sufficient number of credits within this chosen domain that enables him to graduate with a major in marketing. Neil never engaged in goal planning, but in the end he will realize one of many acceptable goals within an accepted domain.

The development of the Post-it® product by the 3M Corporation demonstrates how domain planning works. In the research laboratories at 3M, efforts were being made to develop new forms and strengths of cohesive substances. One result was cohesive material with no known value because of its extremely low cohesive level. A 3M division specialist, Arthur L. Fry, frustrated by page markers falling from his hymn book in church, realized that this material, recently developed by Spencer F. Silver, would stick to paper for long periods and could be removed without destroying the paper. Fry experimented with the material as page markers and note pads—out of this came the highly popular and extremely profitable 3M product Scotch Post-it®. Geoff Nicholson, the driving force behind the Post-it® product, comments that rather than get bogged down in the planning process, innovations must be fast-tracked and decisions made whether to continue or move on early during the product development process. 17

Situations in which managers are likely to engage in domain planning include (1) when there is a recognized need for flexibility, (2) when people cannot agree on goals, (3) when an organization’s external environment is unstable and highly uncertain, and (4) when an organization is starting up or is in a transitional period. In addition, domain planning is likely to prevail at upper levels in an organization, where managers are responsible for dealing with the external environment and when task uncertainty is high. Goal planning (formulating goals compatible with the chosen domain) is likely to prevail in the technical core, where there is less uncertainty.

Hybrid Planning

Occasionally, coupling of domain and goal planning occurs, creating a third approach, called hybrid planning . In this approach, managers begin with the more general domain planning and commit to moving in a particular direction. As time passes, learning occurs, uncertainty is reduced, preferences sharpen, and managers are able to make the transition to goal planning as they identify increasingly specific targets in the selected domain. Movement from domain planning to goal planning occurs as knowledge accumulates, preferences for a particular goal emerge, and action statements are created.

Consequences of Goal, Domain, and Hybrid Planning

Setting goals not only affects performance directly, but also encourages managers to plan more extensively. That is, once goals are set, people are more likely to think systematically about how they should proceed to realize the goals. 18 When people have vague goals, as in domain planning, they find it difficult to draw up detailed action plans and are therefore less likely to perform effectively. When studying the topic of motivation, you will learn about goal theory. Research suggests that goal planning results in higher levels of performance than does domain planning alone. 19

Step 3: Premising

In this step of the planning process, managers establish the premises, or assumptions, on which they will build their action statements. The quality and success of any plan depends on the quality of its underlying assumptions. Throughout the planning process, assumptions about future events must be brought to the surface, monitored, and updated. 20

Managers collect information by scanning their organization’s internal and external environments. They use this information to make assumptions about the likelihood of future events. As Kristin considers her four-year pursuit of her biochemistry major, she anticipates that in addition to her savings and funds supplied by her parents, she will need a full-time summer job for two summers in order to cover the cost of her undergraduate education. Thus, she includes finding full-time summer employment between her senior year of high school and her freshman year and between her freshman and sophomore years of college as part of her plan. The other two summers she will devote to an internship and finding postgraduate employment—much to mom and dad’s delight! Effective planning skills can be used throughout your life. The plan you develop to pay for and complete your education is an especially important one.

Step 4: Determining a Course of Action (Action Statements)

In this stage of the planning process, managers decide how to move from their current position toward their goal (or toward their domain). They develop an action statement that details what needs to be done, when, how, and by whom. The course of action determines how an organization will get from its current position to its desired future position. Choosing a course of action involves determining alternatives by drawing on research, experimentation, and experience; evaluating alternatives in light of how well each would help the organization reach its goals or approach its desired domain; and selecting a course of action after identifying and carefully considering the merits of each alternative.

Step 5: Formulating Supportive Plans

The planning process seldom stops with the adoption of a general plan. Managers often need to develop one or more supportive or derivative plans to bolster and explain their basic plan. Suppose an organization decides to switch from a 5-day, 40-hour workweek (5/40) to a 4-day, 40-hour workweek (4/40) in an attempt to reduce employee turnover. This major plan requires the creation of a number of supportive plans. Managers might need to develop personnel policies dealing with payment of daily overtime. New administrative plans will be needed for scheduling meetings, handling phone calls, and dealing with customers and suppliers.

Planning, Implementation, and Controlling

After managers have moved through the five steps of the planning process and have drawn up and implemented specific plans, they must monitor and maintain their plans. Through the controlling function (to be discussed in greater detail later in this chapter), managers observe ongoing human behavior and organizational activity, compare it to the outcome and action statements formulated during the planning process, and take corrective action if they observe unexpected and unwanted deviations. Thus, planning and controlling activities are closely interrelated (planning ➨ controlling ➨ planning . . .). Planning feeds controlling by establishing the standards against which behavior will be evaluated during the controlling process. Monitoring organizational behavior (the control activity) provides managers with input that helps them prepare for the upcoming planning period—it adds meaning to the awareness step of the planning process.

Influenced by total quality management (TQM) and the importance of achieving continuous improvement in the processes used, as well as the goods and services produced, organizations such as IBM-Rochester have linked their planning and controlling activities by adopting the Deming cycle (also known as the Shewhart cycle).

It has been noted on numerous occasions that many organizations that do plan fail to recognize the importance of continuous learning. Their plans are either placed on the shelf and collect dust or are created, implemented, and adhered to without a systematic review and modification process. Frequently, plans are implemented without first measuring where the organization currently stands so that future comparisons and evaluations of the plan’s effectiveness cannot be determined. The Deming cycle , shown in Exhibit 17.6 , helps managers assess the effects of planned action by integrating organizational learning into the planning process. The cycle consists of four key stages: (1) Plan—create the plan using the model discussed earlier. (2) Do—implement the plan. (3) Check—monitor the results of the planned course of action; organizational learning about the effectiveness of the plan occurs at this stage. (4) Act—act on what was learned, modify the plan, and return to the first stage in the cycle, and the cycle begins again as the organization strives for continuous learning and improvement.

Concept Check

  • What are the five steps in the planning process?
  • What is the difference between goal, domain, and hybrid planning?
  • How are planning, implementation, and controlling related?

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  • Authors: David S. Bright, Anastasia H. Cortes
  • Publisher/website: OpenStax
  • Book title: Principles of Management
  • Publication date: Mar 20, 2019
  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Book URL: https://openstax.org/books/principles-management/pages/1-introduction
  • Section URL: https://openstax.org/books/principles-management/pages/17-2-the-planning-process

© Jan 9, 2024 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.

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COMMENTS

  1. Planning Process: 8 Important Steps of Planning, Videos and

    Start the business planning process with a pitch, which gives a simple outline of your business strategy. Your pitch should include: Your main proposition. A summary of the problem you are solving. Your solution to this problem. Description of who your target customer is. An overview of who your company's competitors are.

  2. 17.2 The Planning Process

    The Deming cycle, shown in Exhibit 17.6, helps managers assess the effects of planned action by integrating organizational learning into the planning process. The cycle consists of four key stages: (1) Plan—create the plan using the model discussed earlier. (2) Do—implement the plan. (3) Check—monitor the results of the planned course of ...