Current Planning Activities vs. Traditional Planning Approaches, Essay Example

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There is considerable overlap between the different dimensions, and the difference between traditional and more recent approaches is not absolute. Planning used to be highly centralized, top-down, and technocratic (Westwood 4). It was essentially an exercise done by senior management, in some cases assisted by a staff of professional planners, but with limited participation from outside the executive circle. Now, there is general recognition that plans need to be relevant to the concerns of clients, and a broad section of the organization’s staff should be involved in their making (4).

The centralization of planning led to a situation where many virtual organizations were simply instructed by the higher authorities to develop a plan. Compliance with administrative procedures dictated development of plans as a “a calender-driven ritual” (Westwood 5). Once the plan was approved at the highest level, it became an operational objective. Today, planning is seen as an instrument that helps virtual organizations identify their niche and objectives vis-à-vis competitors and become more productive and relevant to stakeholders’ needs (5).

The driving force behind plans and strategies has thus undergone a major shift, from planning models based on internal resources and capabilities towards models that emphasize objectives derived from analyses of the external environment (Morphet 222). These days, a major challenge for virtual organization is to identify it’s “niche” in a landscape where competitors and partners have their own territorial ambitions (223).

In the process of horizons for planning have become shorter. Virtual organizations now realize that it is next to impossible to make detailed, quantitative forecasts for a 10-15 year period (Morphet 223). Projections have given ways to more indicative forms of planning. For the longer term, say 10 years, the emphasis is now on qualitatively different strategies or scenarios, rather than on quantitative targets to be achieved (224).

Finally, awareness has grown of the key role of plan implementation (Morphet 224). In traditional planning, implementation was not much of an issue. But now implementation is seen as an urgent problem and a very difficult task – witness the large number of plans that gather dust on bookshelves throughout the world.

Works Cited

Westwood, John. The Marketing Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide. Kogan Page Publishers, 2002. Print.

Morphet, Janice. Effective Practice in Spatial Planning. Taylor & Francis, 2010. Print.

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