“Strategic Planning is inextricably interwoven into the entire fabric of management; it is not something separate and distinct from the process of management” (Steiner, 1979:7). In simpler terms, Steiner goes on further to explain how Strategic Planning is an organizational management activity. This activity is used in order to set priorities, focus energy, strengthen operations, ensure common goals are met, establish agreement around intended outcomes/results, and assesses/adjust the organization's direction in response to a changing environment. Mintzberg, (2000) denotes that when strategic planning arrived on the scene, in the mid 1960’s, corporate leaders embraced it as “the one best way” to devise and implement strategies that would enhance the competitiveness of each business unit. Throughout this essay, empirical evidence along with sound academic theories will be used in order to critically analyse the topic of Strategic Planning. Furthermore, alternative technique’s adopted by other business’ will then also be identified and analysed, before concluding this essay by discussing ‘the best’ technique for Business to apply, and why. According to work by Dettmer, (2003) Mintzberg et al originally identified 10 schools of strategic thought, with each individual school differing in its assumptions, characteristics and areas of emphasis. Dettmer elaborates on Mintzberg’s theory and explains how the first 3 schools are quite different to the remaining 7, these schools are the design, planning and positioning schools of thought. These specific schools are said to be prescriptive, deliberate and largely objective. With this is mind, it is clear to see that Strategic planning falls into mintzberg’s ‘Planning’ school of thought as it is described as a formal process, by which, “A rigorous set of steps are taken, from the analysis situation to the execution of the strategy” (Pettigrew and Thomas et al, 2002:423)
With over 275 companies operating in over 60 countries throughout the world, (Jnj.com, 2014), ‘Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies’ have established themselves as a highly successful Multi National Enterprise that operates using a strategic planning process. According to the financial website affiliated with Johnson & Johnson (investor.jnj, 2014); Executive management alongside the Board of Directors are the people responsible for setting the fundamental strategic direction of the Company to remain a broadly-based human health care company for the consumer. Johnson & Johnson’s Strategic planning is guided by ethical principles tailored towards unifying consumers worldwide whilst maintaining a set of common values and providing a constant reminder of the Company's responsibilities to all of its constituents. J & J’s strategic planning process sees them hold Board and Committee meetings on an on-going basis throughout the year in order to discuss the strategic direction and major developments of the Company's various businesses. J&J shows how strategic planning is still used as a very useful tool for a company to use in order to maintain clear direction and long term focus. In this particular case, strategic planning seems to have been very successful for Johnson and Johnson as their 2013 Full-Year Sales saw them hit “$71.3 Billion” (J&J,2014:12), an increase of 6.1% from the previous year. Yet another multinational enterprise that chooses to maintain its use strategic planning in order to develop its organisational strategy is Shell. Shell opt for the ‘scenario planning’ approach. According to their website; Shell, (2014) this approach entails Shell to continuously develop specific scenarios and they have been doing so, in order to explore the future since the early 1970s. Scenario planning sees scenarios put in place to consider a range of plausible futures and how these could emerge from the realities of today. Shell maintains their strategic planning process aswell as documenting it through...
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