Planning in Organisational Behaviour

Planning means looking ahead. It is deciding in advance what is to be done. Planning includes forecasting. According to Henry Fayol - "purveyance, which is an essential element of planning, covers not merely looking into the future but making provisions for it. A plan is then a projected course of action". All planning involves anticipation of the future course of events and therefore bears an element of uncertainty in respect of its success. Planning is concerned with the determination of the objectives to be achieved and course of action to be followed to achieve them. Before any operative action takes place it is necessary to decide what, where, when and who shall do the things. Decision making is also an important element of planning. Planning determines both long-term and short-term objectives and also of the individual departments as well as the entire organisation. According to Fayol - "The plan of action is, at one and the same time, the result envisaged, the line of action to be followed, the stages to go through, and the methods to use. It is a kind of future picture wherein proximate events are outlined with some distinctness...." Planning is a mental process requiring the use of intellectual faculties' imagination, foresight, sound judgement etc.

Planning is deciding in advance what is to be done. It involves the selection of objectives, policies, procedures and programmes from among alternatives. A plan is a predetermined course of action to achieve a specified goal. It is a statement of objectives to be achieved by certain means in the future. In short, it is a blue print for action.

According to Louis A Allen - "Management planning involves the development of fore casts, objectives, policies, programmes, procedures, schedules and budgets".

According to The oHaimann - "Planning is deciding in advance what is to be done. When a manager plans, he projects a course of action, for the future, attempting to achieve a consistent, co-ordinated structure of operations aimed at the desired results".

According to Koontz O'Donnel - "Planning is an intellectual process, the conscious determination of courses of action, the basing of decisions on purpose, acts and considered estimates".

Nature of Planning

  1. Planning is goal-oriented: Every plan must contribute in some positive way towards the accomplishment of group objectives. Planning has no meaning without being related to goals.
  2. Primacy of Planning: Planning is the first of the managerial functions. It precedes all other management functions.
  3. Pervasiveness of Planning: Planning is found at all levels of management. Top management looks after strategic planning. Middle management is in charge of administrative planning. Lower management has to concentrate on operational planning.
  4. Efficiency, Economy and Accuracy: Efficiency of plan is measured by its contribution to the objectives as economically as possible. Planning also focuses on accurate forecasts.
  5. Co-ordination: Planning co-ordinates the what, who, how, where and why of planning. Without co-ordination of all activities, we cannot have united efforts.
  6. Limiting Factors: A planner must recognise the limiting factors (money, manpower etc) and formulate plans in the light of these critical factors.
  7. Flexibility: The process of planning should be adaptable to changing environmental conditions.
  8. Planning is an intellectual process: The quality of planning will vary according to the quality of the mind of the manager.

Importance of Planning

As a managerial function planning is important due to the following reasons:-

  1. To manage by objectives: All the activities of an organisation are designed to achieve certain specified objectives. However, planning makes the objectives more concrete by focusing attention on them.
  2. To offset uncertainty and change: Future is always full of uncertainties and changes. Planning foresees the future and makes the necessary provisions for it.
  3. To secure economy in operation: Planning involves, the selection of most profitable course of action that would lead to the best result at the minimum costs.
  4. To help in co-ordination: Co-ordination is, indeed, the essence of management, the planning is the base of it. Without planning it is not possible to co-ordinate the different activities of an organisation.
  5. To make control effective: The controlling function of management relates to the comparison of the planned performance with the actual performance. In the absence of plans, a management will have no standards for controlling other's performance.
  6. To increase organisational effectiveness: Mere efficiency in the organisation is not important; it should also lead to productivity and effectiveness. Planning enables the manager to measure the organisational effectiveness in the context of the stated objectives and take further actions in this direction.

Advantages of Planning

  • All efforts are directed towards desired objectives or results. Unproductive work and waste of resources can be minimised.
  • Planning enables a company to remain competitive with other rivals in the industry.
  • Through careful planning, crisis can be anticipated and mistakes or delays avoided.
  • Planning can point out the need for future change and the enterprise can manage the change effectively.
  • Planning enables the systematic and thorough investigation of alternative methods or alternative solutions to a problem. Thus we can select the best alternative to solve any business problem.
  • Planning maximises the utilisation of available resources and ensures optimum productivity and profits.
  • Planning provides the ground work for laying down control standards.
  • Planning enables management to relate the whole enterprise to its complex environment profitably.

Disadvantages of Planning

  • Environmental factors are uncontrollable and unpredictable to a large extent.
  • Therefore planning cannot give perfect insurance against uncertainty.
  • Planning is many times very costly.
  • Tendency towards inflexibility to change is another limitation of planning.
  • Planning delays action.
  • Planning encourages a false sense of security against risk or uncertainty.

Planning Process

The planning process involves the following steps:

  1. Analysis of External Environment: The external environment covers uncontrollable and unpredictable factors such as technology, market, socio-economic climate, political conditions etc., within which our plans will have to operate.
  2. Analysis of Internal Environment: The internal environment covers relatively controllable factors such as personnel resources, finance, facilities etc., at the disposal of the firm. Such an analysis will give an exact idea about the strengths and weakness of the enterprise.
  3. Determination of Mission: The "mission" should describe the fundamental reason for the existence of an organisation. It will give firm direction and make out activities meaningful and interesting.
  4. Determination of Objectives: The organisational objectives must be spelled out in key areas of operations and should be divided according to various departments and sections. The objectives must be clearly specified and measurable as far as possible. Every member of the organisation should be familiar with its objectives.
  5. Forecasting: Forecasting is a systematic attempt to probe into the future by inference from known facts relating to the past and the present. Intelligent forecasting is essential for planning. The management should have no stone unturned in reducing the element of guesswork in preparing forecasts by collecting relevant data using the scientific techniques of analysis and inference.
  6. Determining Alternative course of Action: It is a common experience of all thinkers that an action can be performed in several ways, but there is a particular way which is the most suitable for the organisation. The management should try to find out these alternatives and examine them carefully in the light of planning premises.
  7. Evaluating Alternative Courses: Having sought out alternative courses and examined their strong and weak points, the next step is to evaluate them by weighing the various factors.
  8. Selecting the Best: The next step - selecting the course of action is the point at which the plan is adopted. It is the real point of decision-making.
  9. Establishing the sequence of activities: After the best programme is decided upon, the next task is to work out its details and formulate the steps in full sequences.
  10. Formulation of Action Programmes: There are three important constituents of an action plan:
    • The time-limit of performance.
    • The allocation of tasks to individual employees.
    • The time-table or schedule of work so that the functional objectives are achieved within the predetermined period.
  11. Reviewing the planning process: Through feedback mechanism, an attempt is made to secure that which was originally planned. To do this we have to compare the actual performance with the plan and then we have to take necessary corrective action to ensure that actual performance is as per the plan.

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