Planning function, Essence and types of planning - Sociology of organizations

Planning Function

Essence and Planning Types

The essence of planning is to determine the organization's goals, ways and methods for achieving them; The goals describe the desired state of the organization. Thus, without planning, the organization can not be purposefully managed. In addition, the plan as a result of the planning process has other, more particular functions:

• Reflexive - awareness of the image of the organization by the external and internal public;

• motivational - motivating staff to productive activities;

• criterial - justification of decisions and assessment of actions taken.

Plans are strategic and current, current - periodic and one-time. All of them differ in time horizons of planning and in aggregate constitute a hierarchy, as longer-term plans are detailed in less long-term ones. The furthest planning horizon is strategic. Periodic plans can be drawn up for a long-term, medium-term (tactical) and short-term (operational) perspective. Single plans most often take the form of projects and programs (usually programs include several projects) to achieve specific (for example, innovative) or situational (eg, anti-crisis) goals. Single plans can be both long-term and short-term.

It should be emphasized that the same horizons can mean different planning periods for different organizations and, as a rule, are directly proportional to their size, duration of activity cycles (production, reporting, electoral, etc.), the pace of development of the sphere of activity (industry ) and the stability of the external environment. If for a small organization the strategic perspective can be 1-2 years, then for a large organization the same period is likely to be the current planning horizon. But for the same large organizations operating in dynamically developing areas or in conditions of social transformations, the horizons of planning will be closer than in stable conditions.

The most typical characteristics of strategic and periodic plans of large organizations are presented in Table. 7.2.

Table 7.2

Characteristics of the organization's main plans

Types of plans

Planning Horizons

Planning Institutions

Planning Content

Types of planning criteria


5-10 or more years


Mission, main directions and scope of activity


Long term

3-5 years


Specific areas of specialization, structural changes



Medium-term (tactical)

1-3 years

Organization, Subdivisions

Specific goals, taking into account costs and revenues (business planning)


Short-term (operational)

1 year (quarter, month, week, day)

Organization, units, executors

Tasks with regard to material and human resources

Quantitative point

Strategic planning differs from the current not only in the time horizon, but also in the methodological features. Strategic planning is based on anticipating possible future changes and trends in the development of the external environment of the organization and identifying the most promising areas and areas of organizational activity. Hence it follows that strategic planning is the planning of qualitative indicators of structural organizational changes. It does not presuppose any specific actions, but allows in the strategic management process to constantly monitor the degree of compliance of the current state and development of the organization with the forecast of future operating conditions and on this basis to carry out current planning.

Contrary to strategic planning, current planning involves extrapolating existing trends in the organization's activities into the future (planning from what has been achieved). The current planning is, first of all, the planning of quantitative changes through the distribution of financial, technological and human resources. This is the operation of figures obtained on the basis of an analysis of the short, medium and long-term needs of the organization. The main feature of the current planning is its flexibility, i.e. ensuring the readiness of the organization to respond quickly to environmental changes. In general, we can say that the current planning is a look at the future of the organization from its present, and strategic planning is a look at its present from the future.

Regardless of the type of planning and the approach applied to it, the collection and analysis of necessary data, the design of plans as documents that are mandatory for execution, and control over their implementation are handled by planning services (planning departments) of organizations. The formats of planning documents vary depending on their time horizons. Strategic and long-term plans are most often written in text form broken down into sections by type of activity, medium- and short-term plans - in tabular form with breakdown by departments and gradations: "what should be done", "by whom", "by what means" ;, in what form and volume and by what date .

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