When you study and understand this chapter, you will be able to:


                 ·  Know what we mean by planning.

                 ·  Be familiar with the nature of planning.

                 ·  Know the necessity and importance of planning.

                 ·  Understand and determine the main factors that affect the planning effectiveness level.

                 ·  Distinguish and figure out the main steps to be followed in planning.

                 ·  Acknowledge the planning subsystems.

                 ·  Figure out the different types of plans.


1.1 Introduction

In recent decades, the term “planning and controlling” has become popularized widely in management circles. Most managers today – in business and service organizations – are at least familiar with this term and its general applications.


Planning and control are critical management activities regardless of the type of organization being managed. Modern managers face the challenge of sound planning and control in small and relatively simple organizations as well as in large, more complex ones, and in nonprofit organizations.


1.2 Planning: Its Meaning, Nature, and Importance


1.2.1 Definition of Planning


There are many definitions for the term “planning,” each person has his/her own ideas concerning the meaning of the term “planning.” Among the most common definitions for this term are

    · Planning is the process by which an individual or organization decides in advance on some future course of action  (Omran, 2002, p. 68).

    · Planning is the process of determining how the organization can get where it wants to go (Certo, 2000, p. 126).

    · Planning involves selecting from among alternative future courses of actions for the organization as a whole and for every department or section within it. (Cook, Hunsaker, Coffey, 1999, p. 16).


1.2.2 The Nature of Planning


The essential nature of planning can be highlighted by the four major aspects of planning: contribution to purpose and objective, primacy of planning, pervasiveness of planning, and efficiency of plans.


a) Contribution to Purpose and Objectives:

The purpose of every plan and all derivative plans is to facilitate the accomplishment of enterprise purpose and objectives. This principle derives from the nature of organized enterprise, which exists for the accomplishment of group purpose through deliberate cooperation. This was emphasized by koontz when he said:


“Plans alone can not make an enterprise successful. Action is required; the enterprise must operate. Plans can, however, focus on purposes. They can forecast which actions will tend toward the ultimate objective, which tend away, which will likely offset one another, and which are merely irrelevant. Managerial planning seeks to achieve a consistent, coordinated structure of operations focused on desired ends. Without plans, action must become merely random activity, producing nothing but chaos." (Koontz et al., 1980, p. 157).


b) Primacy of Planning:

Planning is the primary management function, the one that precedes and is the basis for the organizing, influencing, staffing, leading and controlling functions of managers. This can be shown in Figure 1.1.


Figure 1.1: Planning precedes all other managerial functions


Although all the functions intermesh in practice as a system of action, planning is unique in that it establishes the objectives necessary for all group effort. Besides, plans must be made to accomplish these objectives before the manager knows what kind of organization relationships and personal qualifications are needed, along which course subordinates are to be directed and led, and what kind of control is to be applied. And, of course, all the other managerial functions must be planned if they are to be effective.


c) Pervasiveness of Planning:


Planning is a function of all managers, although the character and breadth of planning will vary with their authority and with the nature of policies and plans outlined by their superiors. It is virtually impossible to circumscribe the area of choice where they can exercise no discretion, and unless they have some planning responsibility, it is doubtful that they are truly managers.


Recognition of the pervasiveness of planning goes far in clarifying the attempt on the part of some students of management to distinguish between policy making (the setting of guides for thinking in decision making and administration), or between the “manager” and the administrator” or “supervisor”.


One manager, because of his or her authority delegation or position in the organization, may do more planning or more important planning than another, or the planning of one may be more basic and applicable to a larger portion of the enterprise than that of another.


However, all managers – from presidents to supervisors – plan. The supervisor of a factory crew plans in a limited area under fairly strict rules and procedures. Interestingly, in studies of work satisfactions, a principal factor found to account for the success of supervisors at the lowest organization level has been their ability to plan.


d) Efficiency of Plans:


The efficiency of a plan is measured by the amount it contributes to purpose and objectives as offset by the costs and other unsought consequences required to formulate and operate it. A plan can contribute to the attainment of objectives, but at too high or unnecessarily high costs. This concept of efficiency implies the normal ratio of input to output, but goes beyond the usual understanding of inputs and outputs in terms of pounds, labor hours, or units of production to include such value as individual and group satisfactions.



Many managers have followed plans, such as in the acquisition of certain aircraft by airlines, where costs were greater than the revenues obtainable. There have actually been some aircraft with which an airline was to make no money. Companies have inefficiently attempted to attain objectives in the face of the unsought consequence of market unacceptability, as happened when a motor car manufacturer tried to capture a market by emphasizing engineering without competitive advances in style.


Plans may also become inefficient in the attainment of objectives by jeopardizing group satisfactions. The new president of a company that was losing money attempted quickly to recognize and cut expenses by wholesale and unplanned layoffs of key personnel. This result in fear, resentment, and loss of morale led to so much lower productivity as to defeat his/her laudable objective of eliminating losses and making profits. And some attempts to install management appraisal and development programs have failed because of group resentment of the methods used, regardless of the basic soundness of the programs.


The nature of planning can be figured out from these four major aspects of planning:

  1. Contribution to purpose and objectives,
  2. Primacy of planning,
  3. Pervasiveness of planning, and
  4. Efficiency of plan


1.2.3 The Importance of Planning


The planning function has four important goals:

a)     To offset uncertainty and change.

b)     To focus attention on objectives,

c)      To gain economical operation, and

d)     To facilitate control.


a) To Offset Uncertainty and Change


Organizational planning has two purposes: protective and affirmative. The protective purpose of planning is to minimize risk by reducing the uncertainties surrounding business conditions and clarifying the consequences of related management actions. The affirmative purpose is to increase the degree of organizational success.


Future uncertainty and change make planning a necessity. Just as the navigator cannot set a course once and forget about it, so the business manager cannot establish a goal and let the matter rest. The future is seldom very certain, and the further in the future the results of a decision must be considered, the less the certainty.


Even when the future is highly certain, some planning is usually necessary. In the first place, there is the necessity of selecting the best way to accomplish an objective with conditions of certainty; this becomes primarily a mathematical problem of calculating on the basis of known facts, which course will field the desired result at the least cost. In the second place, after the course has been decided, it is necessary to lay out plans so that each part of the organization will contribute toward the job to be done.


Even when trends indicating changes are easily discernible, difficult planning problems arise.


Ex:      The manufacture of television sets is a case in point. The change away from black and white to color television did not take place overnight. The manufacturer had to determine what percentage of production should be assigned to color sets and what to black and white and how to retain efficient production of both lines


b) To Focus Attention on Objectives

Because all planning is directed toward achieving enterprise objectives, the very act of planning focuses attention on these objectives. Considered overall plans unify interdepartmental activities. Managers, being typically immersed in immediate problems, are forced through planning to consider the future and even consider the periodic need to revise and extend plans in the interest of achieving their objectives.

 c) To Gain Economical Operation

Planning minimizes costs because of the emphasis on efficient operation and consistency. It substitutes joint directed effort for uncoordinated piecemeal activity, even flow of work for uneven flow, and deliberate decisions for snap judgments.


The economy of planning is plainly seen at the production level. No one who has watched the assembly of automobiles in one of the larger factories can fail to be impressed with the way that the parts and subassemblies come together. This implies extensive detailed planning without which the manufacture of automobiles would be chaotic and impossible costly.


Although every manager sees the imperative economy of importance in other areas, it is occasionally left to chance and too great individual discretion.


d) To Facilitate Control


Managers can not check on their subordinate accomplishments without having planned goals against which to measure. There is no way to measure control without plans to use as standards.


Read and think about this statement

“After I leave my office at five O’clock in the evening, I will not care what happen today, for I can not do anything about it; I will only care about what will happen tomorrow or the next day or next year, because I can do something about it.”


1.2.4 Factors that may Make Planning Effective


The research data indicate that under most circumstances planning is a positive force for organizational goal attainment. It is also true that a great many chief executives of large corporations view it as important. However, there are many factors that may make planning effective, among them:


a)     Effectively done, planning can contribute to reduced role ambiguity and role conflict. When policy planning has been carried out, and clear role prescriptions have resulted, individuals are more likely to know what they are supposed to do and the probability that conflicting forces will push them in two directions at once is considerably reduced.


b)     Closely allied to the first point, effective planning tends to limit arbitrary actions by individual superiors.


c)      Because role prescriptions are the ultimate result, planning leads to a reduction of uncertainty within the organization.


d)     Planning produces a greater capacity to deal with uncertainty in the environment external to a company, as well as internal uncertainty. Effective planning makes it much less likely that a company will be caught off guard and suffers accordingly. Thus positive adjustment to a sudden shift in market demand is much more likely if such a shift has been forecast and new role prescriptions established for dealing with this contingency.


e)     The very process of planning tends to lead to decision making that deals with more factors and takes more considerations into account. Systematic planning requires a look at a long list of variables which might influence events. Without such a systematic consideration of influences and alternatives, the likelihood that something of importance will be overlooked is very high. Thus, planning by its very nature tends to force a manager to take into account factors that might not otherwise be considered, and to tie plans more closely to operative goals involving both task and maintenance.


f)        Planning is important in that it contributes to the performance of other management functions. Typically the tie between planning and control has been emphasized, as shown in Figure 1.2.

Figure 1.2: Why planning is needed?


1.3 Planning Process

How to set a plan? (Steps in planning process): The planning process consists of the following steps that can be shown in Figure 1.3.





Figure 1.3: Main steps in the planning process


1.3.1 Being Aware of Opportunity


Although preceding actual planning and therefore not strictly a part of the planning process, awareness of an opportunity is the real starting point for planning. It includes a preliminary look at possible future opportunities and the ability to see them clearly and completely, knowledge of where we stand in the light of our strengths and weaknesses, an understanding of why we wish to solve uncertainties, and a vision of what we expect to gain. Setting realistic objectives depends on this awareness. Planning requires realistic diagnosis of the opportunity situation.


1.3.2 Establishing Objectives


The first step in planning itself is to establish objectives for the entire enterprise and then for each subordinate unit. Objectives specifying the results expected indicate the end points of what is to be done, where the primary emphasis is to be placed, and what is to be accomplished by the network of strategies, policies, procedures, rules, budgets and programs.

Enterprise objectives should give direction to the nature of all major plans which, by reflecting these objectives, define the objectives of major departments. Major department objectives, in turn, control the objectives of subordinate departments, and so on down the line. The objectives of lesser departments will be better framed, however, if subdivision managers understand the overall enterprise objectives and the implied derivative goals and if they are given an opportunity to contribute their ideas to them and to the setting of their own goals.


An objective can be defined as the end point goal toward which management directs its efforts and resources. (Sisk, 1993, p. 112).

The statement of an objective is in effect a statement of purpose, and when applied to a business organization becomes the statement of that firm’s reason for existing.


However, there are four outstanding benefits that result from the statement of objectives, these are:


a)    Objectives provide direction

b)   Objectives serve as motivators

c)    Objectives contribute to the management process

d)   Objectives are the basis for management philosophy

e)    Objectives serve as a guide for organizational consistency


Meanwhile, the objectives can be separated into four categories: organizational, individual, internal, and external objectives.


1.3.3 Considering the Planning Premises


Another logical step in planning is to establish, obtain agreement to utilize and disseminate critical planning premises. These are forecast data of a factual nature, applicable basic policies, and existing company plans. Premises, then, are planning assumptions – in other words, the expected environment of plans in operation. This step leads to one of the major principles of planning.


The more individuals charged with planning understand and agree to utilize consistent planning premises, the more coordinated enterprise planning will be.


Forecasting is important in premising; for example,


         ·           What kind of markets will there be?

         ·           What quantity of sales?

         ·           What are the products and its prices?

         ·           What are the technical developments required?

         ·           What are the costs?

         ·           What are the required policies?

         ·           How will expansion be financed?

         ·           What is the expected nature of political and social environment?  


Planning premises include far more than the usual basic forecasts of population, prices, costs, production, markets, and similar matters.


·        A difficulty of establishing complete premises and keeping them up-to-date is that every major plan, and many minor ones, becomes a premise for the future.

·        As one moves down the organization hierarchy, the composition of planning premises changes somehow.


Because the future environment of plans is so complex, it would not be profitable or realistic to make assumptions about every detail of the future environment of a plan.


Since agreement to utilize a given set of premises is important to coordinate planning, it becomes a major responsibility of managers, starting with those at the top, to make sure that subordinate managers understand the premises upon which they are expected to plan. It is not unusual for chief executives in well- managed companies to force top managers with differing views, through group deliberation, to arrive at a set of major premises that all can accept.


1.3.4 Determining and Identifying the Alternative Courses


Once the organizational objectives have been clearly stated and the planning premises have been developed, the manager should list as many available alternatives as possible for reaching those objectives.


The focus of this step is to search for and examine alternative courses of action, especially those not immediately apparent. There is seldom a plan for which reasonable alternatives do not exist, and quite often an alternative that is not obvious proves to be the best.


The more common problem is not finding alternatives, but reducing the number of alternatives so that the most promising may be analyzed. Even with mathematical techniques and the computer, there is a limit to the number of alternatives that may be examined. It is therefore usually necessary for the planner to reduce by preliminary examination the number of alternatives to those promising the most fruitful possibilities or by mathematically eliminating, through the process of approximation, the least promising ones.


1.3.5 Evaluating these Alternative Courses


Having sought out alternative courses and examined their strong and weak points, the following step is to evaluate them by weighing the various factors in the light of premises and goals. One course may appear to be the most profitable but require a large cash outlay and a slow payback; another may be less profitable but involve less risk; still another may better suit the company in long–range objectives.


If the only objective were to examine profits in a certain business immediately, if the future were not uncertain, if cash position and capital availability were not worrisome, and if most factors could be reduced to definite data, this evaluation should be relatively easy. But typical planning is replete with uncertainties, problems of capital shortages, and intangible factors, and so evaluation is usually very difficult, even with relatively simple problems. A company may wish to enter a new product line primarily for purposes of prestige; the forecast of expected results may show a clear financial loss, but the question is still open as to whether the loss is worth the gain.


Because the number of alternative courses in most situations is legion and the numerous variables and limitations are involved, evaluation can be also exceedingly complex.

Due to these complexities, the newer methodologies and applications of operation research and analysis are helpful.


1.3.6 Selecting the Appropriate Course of Action


An evaluation of alternatives must include an evaluation of the premises on which the alternatives are based. A manager usually finds that some premises are unreasonable and can therefore be excluded from further consideration. This elimination process helps the manager determine which alternative would best accomplish organizational objectives.


1.3.7 Developing Plans to Pursue the Chosen Alternative


After the appropriate alternative has been chosen, a manager begins to develop strategic (long range) and tactical (short–range) plans.



1.3.8 Numberizing Plans by Budgeting


After decisions are made and plans are set, the final step to give them meaning is to numberize them by converting them to budgets. The overall budgets of an enterprise represent the sum total of income and expenses with resultant profit or surplus and budgets of major balance–sheet items such as cash and capital expenditures. Each department or program of a business or other enterprise can have its own budgets, usually of expenses and capital expenditures, which tie into the overall budget.


If this process is done well, budgets become a means of adding together the various plans and also important standards against which planning progress can be measured.


1.3.9 Putting the Plans into Action


Once plans that furnish the organization with both long-range and short-range direction have been developed, they must be implemented. Obviously, the organization can not directly benefit from planning process until this step is performed.


The planning subsystem:


We can illustrate the planning subsystems in Figure 1.4.


Figure 1.4: Planning subsystem


1.4 Teams: Special Kinds of Groups 

Before illustrating the main types of plans and applications, let us present the major dimensions of plans in Figure 1.5.





Figure 1.5: Major dimensions of plans


a)     Repetitiveness dimension of a plan refers to the extent to which the plan is used over and over again. Some plans are specially designed for one situation that is relatively short-term in nature. Other plans are designed to be used time after time for long-term recurring situations.


b)     The time dimension refers to the length of time the plan covers. Strategic planning was defined as long- term in nature, while tactical planning was defined as short- termed.


c)     The scope dimension refers to the proportion of the total management system at which the plan is aimed. Some plans are designed to cover the entire open management system. This plan is often referred to as a master plan. Other plans are developed to cover only a portion of management system.


d)     The level dimension refers to the level of the organization at which the plan is aimed. Top level plans are those designed for the organization’s top management, whereas middle and lower level plans are designed for middle and lower management.


The plan’s four major dimensions are:

·        Repetitiveness

·        Time

·        Scope

·        Level


Based on the previous discussion about the plan’s dimensions; we can summarize the most common types of plans according to the repetitiveness dimension in Figure 1.6.

Figure 1.6: Types of plans

1.4.1 The Standing Plans


Those include plans that are used over and over again because they focus on organizational situations that occur repeatedly. Examples for them are


a)     The policy: is a standing plan that furnishes broad guidelines for action, consistent with reaching organizational objectives.

b)     Procedures: are standing plans that outline a series of related actions that must be taken to accomplish a particular task.

c)      Rules: are standing plans that are designate specific required action. A rule indicates what an organization member should or should not do and allows no room for interpretation.


1.4.2 The Single Used Plans


Single used plans such as:

a)     Program: is a single use plan designed to carry out a specific project within an organization. The project itself is not intended to remain in existence over the entire life of the organization. Rather, it exists to achieve some purpose. That if accomplished, will contribute to the organization’s long- term success.

b)     Budget: is a single use financial plan that covers a specified length of time. It is a statement that expresses the expected results in numerical terms. It may be referred to as “a numberized program”.


Also, we can brief the most common types of plans according to the time dimension in the following;


a) Strategies:


The strategy is the process of achieving a fit between an organization’s capabilities and its evolving environment to achieve a favorable position within the competitive marketplace. Strategies pertain to those destiny-shaping decisions concerning:

                 ·   The choice of technologies on which products are based

                 ·   The development and release of new products

                 ·   The processes for producing products and services

                 ·   The way they are marketed, distributed, and priced

                 ·   The way the firm responds to rivals


However, the planning process cannot and should not cover every aspect of an individual’s job or an organization’s activity. Planning should cover the key elements of what is to be accomplished rather than the details which are not critical to the achievement of overall goals or objectives


b) Tactical or Operational Plan


This is concerned primarily with establishing short- term goals and action programs. Organizations usually carry out formal operational plans on a regular yearly basis however, there are some differences between the strategic and the tactical plans, and we can show these differences in Table 1.1.


Table 1.1: Major differences between strategic and tactical planning

Area of difference

Strategic Planning

Tactical Planning

·   Individuals involved

· developed mainly by upper-level management

· Developed mainly by lower-level management.

·   Facts on which to base planning

· are relatively difficult to gather

· are relatively easy to gather.

·   Amount of detail in plans

· Plans contain relatively little amount of details

· Plans contain substantial amount of details.

·   Length of time plans cover

· Plans cover long period of time

· Plans cover short period of time

How we can develop a strategic plan?

Strategic planning is a good example of the planning process. Basically strategic planning includes developing alternative courses of actions and choosing one of them. Thus, developing strategic plan involves the following steps:

Step one: Determine the current domain of the enterprise in terms of the scope (i.e., determining the products and services it offers and to whom).

Step two: What are the political, social, and economic trends we have to consider? What product and/or technological changes we anticipate will affect our organization?

Step three: Determine the current strengths and weaknesses. This means that management must analyze the organizations operational, financial, and managerial strengths and weaknesses.

Step four: Decide what target domain (or business) we want to be in and the best strategy for being there. This means, that management must develop alternatives and analyze each in light of the organization’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats it will face.

Step five: Set specific objectives. Once you have developed a new strategic plan, it should be quantified in terms of goals such as:


Ex.: Obtain a 20% share of the soft drink market within 5 years, and double advertising expenditures each year for the next 5 years.

What are the main principles for having effective planning?

There are many, among the most important of them:

(1)     Develop accurate forecasts

(2)     Gain acceptance for the plan

(3)     Make sure the plan is sound

(4)     Assign responsibility for planning

(5)     Be objective

(6)     Keep the plan flexible

(7)     Revise your long- term plan every year

(8)     Make sure that the plan fits the situation

Why plans fail?

If managers know why plans fail, they can take steps to eliminate the factors that cause failure and thereby increase the probability that there plans will be successful. Plans fail when:

(1)          Corporate planning is not integrated into the total management system,

(2)          There is a lack of understanding of the different steps of planning process,

(3)          Management at different levels in the organization has not properly engaged in or contributed to planning activities,

(4)          Responsibility for planning is wrongly vested solely in the planning department,

(5)          Management expects that plans developed will be realized with little effort,

(6)          In starting formal planning, too much is attempted at once,

(7)          Management fails to operate by the plan,

(8)          Management fails to grasp the overall planning process,

(9)          Financial projections are confused with planning,

(10)     Inadequate inputs are used in planning.



Key Points to be Remembered


·        Most managers – in business and service organizations today are at least familiar with the term planning and its applications.


·        There is no completely agreement among the people - even the researchers – with regard the definition of planning, as each has his or her definition that represents his/her opinion.


·        Among the most common definition for planning: planning is the process by which an individual or organization decides in advance on some future course of action.


·        The purpose of every plan and all derivative plans is to facilitate the accomplishment of enterprise purpose and objectives.


·        Planning is the primary management function, but it is included in the other managerial functions.


·        Planning is a function of all managers, although the character and breadth of planning will vary with their authority and with the nature of policies and plans outlined by their supervisors.


·        The efficiency of a plan is measured by the amount it contributes to purpose and objectives.

·        The nature of planning can be figured out from these major aspects of planning:

(a)    Contribution to purpose and objective.

(b)    Primacy of planning.

(c)    Pervasiveness of planning.

(d)    Efficiency of plans.


·        The importance of planning can be figured out from the following points:

(a)    Planning offsets uncertainty and change.

(b)    Planning focuses the attention on the objectives.

(c)    Planning gains economical operations.

(d)    Planning facilitates control.


·        There are many factors affect the effectiveness of planning.


·        There are many steps for developing any plan (planning processes), they are:

(a)    Being aware of opportunity.

(b)    Establishing objectives.

(c)    Considering the planning premises.

(d)    Determining and identifying the alternative courses.

(e)    Evaluating these alternatives.

(f)     Selecting the appropriate course of action.

(g)    Developing plans to pursue the chosen alternative.

(h)    Number zing plans by budget.

(i)     Putting the plans into action.


·        There are many outstanding benefits that result from the statement of planning objectives, these are:

(a)   Objectives provide direction.

(b)    Objectives serve as motivators.

(c)    Objectives contribute to the management process.

(d)    Objectives are the basis for management philosophy.

(e)    Objectives serve as a guide for organizational consistency.


·        There are many types of plans; this depends on the major dimensions of plans.


·        The major dimensions of plans are:

(a)   Repetitiveness dimension.

(b)   Time dimension.

(c)   The scope dimension.

(d)   The level dimension.


·        Examples for plans: policies, procedures, rules, programs, budgets, strategies, tactical.


·        There are many steps for developing strategy, they are:

(a)   Determine the current domain of the enterprise.

(b)    Determine the different trends (Social, economical…..)

(c)    Determine the current strengths and weaknesses.

(d)    Decide the target domain.

(e)    Set specific objectives.


·        The main principles for effective planning are:

(a)   Develop accurate forecasts.

(b)    Gain acceptance for the plan.

(c)    The plan must be sound.

(d)    Be objective.

(e)    The plan must be flexible.

(f)      It must fit the situation.


·        There are many reasons for planning failure, among the most important of them:

(a)   The plan is not integrated into the total management system.

(b)    Management at different levels has not properly engaged in or contributed to planning activities.

(c)    Management fails to operate by the plan.

(d)    Using inadequate inputs in planning.

 The failure of management to grasp the overall planning process.