Strategic Planning

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Organization and Administration of Social Services (SOWK-SW 23B)

Tutorial Assignment: Question 4
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What is Strategic Planning? Explain its relevance to the management of a Human Service Organization of your choice. What is building a house without a blueprint? In everything we do, planning is essential, it serves as a guideline. With reference to the question, strategic planning offers many benefits to social service organizations, operating within an environment, funding cutbacks and emerging competition, (Finley et al, 2001). According to Florence Green (2009), strategic planning is an interactive activity that focuses on discussions and consensus building, which clarifies and builds commitment to the organizations future direction and priorities, within a changing environment. The result of the processor activity of strategic planning is a document. Planning overshadows the importance of the final document. Planning alone does not produce results, however well developed planning increases the likelihood that the operations of the organizations will be coordinated and integrated, leading towards the desired results. Strategic planning focuses on decisions that help position the organization to respond successfully to an ever-changing environment and an unpredictable future (Mintzberg, 1994). This type of planning expects new trends to develop and changes to occur, sometimes at lightning speed. An organization engaged in strategic planning anticipates a range of possible future and develops strategies based on an assessment of the current environment. According to Green (2009), this type of planning is characterized by asking the questions "what business should we be in” and “are we doing the right thing". In addition, the process of strategic planning is ongoing. Through interaction, results improve as well as experience and as the strategic plan continues to be reviewed and renewed, and the organization learns to think more strategically and more purposefully, the organization will continue to operate at its highest level. Strategic planning will be one of the most effective tools available to senior management and their board of representatives as the value of the process becomes apparent to the organization and its stakeholders. Just like a profit oriented organization, nonprofit oriented organizations use strategic planning. Through this, the clients are taken into consideration as to how any particular changes made within the organization may influence them (Finley et al, 2001). As a result, strategic planning in nonprofit organizations is highly influence by mission, vision, objectives and goals. Take for instance the Programme for Advancement through Health and Education (PATH), as a nonprofit organization; it was developed through strategic planning in order to deliver financial aid to the poorest members of society. Before PATH the three major safety net programmes, The Food Stamp Programme, The Poor Relief and the Public Assistance Programme, were failing. They proved ineffective and inefficient and as such the Government had to carry out a detailed evaluation by rationalizing their operations, eliminating the duplication of resources and expensive administrative costs, and further streamline the use of the resources in order to increase effectiveness and programme delivery, (Levy and Ohls, 2010). The PATH programme was created and later implemented in year 2001. According to Mathematica, (2009), PATH was created with an aim to deliver benefits by way of cash grants to the most needy and vulnerable in the society. Operating under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, it has as its vision which is to contribute to national development through the provision of effective and efficient labour and social security services within a global economy. Its shared vision is to effectively manage social protection programmes including those for groups with special needs such as households below the...
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