Strategic Planning Process and Alternative Models

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ABSTRACT
This paper looks at the motive behind strategic planning. The various strategic planning models are illustrated in a concise but well elaborated manner. As a means of analysis and evaluation the strategic planning model is criticised constructively. Alternative approaches to strategic planning are discussed to the extent of assessing if only one approach is suitable and applicable in all situations or there is need for a specific approach for a specific situation or a mix of the approaches in some instances. Keywords: Strategy, Strategic analysis, Strategic choice, Strategy implementation, Strategic planning, Vision, Mission, Values. INTRODUCTION

Many organizations spend most of their time reacting to unexpected changes instead of anticipating and preparing for them. This is called crisis management. Organizations caught off guard may spend a great deal of time and energy "playing catch up". They use up their energy coping with immediate problems, with little energy left to anticipate and prepare for the next challenges. This vicious cycle locks many organizations into a reactive posture. However, a sensible alternative is a well tested process called strategic planning which provides a viable alternative to crisis management (http://www.fpm.iastate.edu/worldclass Accessed 05.03.12). Strategic planning is a step by step process with definite objectives and end products that can be implemented and evaluated. Very simply, it is a process by which we look into the future, paint a picture of that future based on current trends, and influence the forces that will affect us. Research has revealed that those businesses that perform at the highest levels have some sort of formalized strategic plan in place and have implemented it well. On the other hand, those businesses that struggle have no plan in place and seem to flounder in their attempts to be successful. In order for a business to be successful, there needs to be a roadmap for success. (http://www.onlinebusadv.com/?PAGE=171 Accessed 05.03.12) LITERATURE REVIEW

Strategic Panning.
Zan et al (1993) acknowledges that there are so many theoretical and methodological problems in analysing strategic planning processes. Some of the problems are conceptual and definitional in nature. What is a strategy? What operational boundaries are put around the word strategic planning? When indeed is planning strategic and when it is not? There is no universally agreed upon definition of strategic planning. However, the following definition will be adopted for purposes of this academic paper: Strategic planning is an organization's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on efficient allocation of resources to pursue this strategy (Brian, 2000). In order to determine the direction of the organization, it is necessary to understand its current position and the possible avenues through which it can pursue a particular course of action. Strategic Planning Model.

The strategic planning model has three phases that are strategic analysis, strategic choice and strategic implementation (Fig 1). Fig 1: Strategic Planning Model

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Source: Bradford and Duncan (2000).
The strategic planning model is based on the following assumptions. Assumptions
Decision makers are consciously rational, that is they make reasonable and logical decisions •Decision makers seek economic efficiency (maximising profits and minimising costs in order to increase shareholder wealth). •Decision makers always make a choice when presented with different alternatives, sometimes of equal importance. •Decision makers always rank available alternatives in descending order or according to level of significance •Decision makers know the possible consequences or end results of each option in their list of alternatives. •Decision makers will always select the option that is at the top of...
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