A critique of Strategic Planning – a summary of the Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning

This PDF document provides a short and easy to read summary of Henry Mintzberg’s book the Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning.  This is an excellent resource for any individual or group that is thinking about strategic planning and provides some powerful critiques of traditional approaches to Strategic as well as exploring some fundamental fallacies in the very concept of Strategic Planning.

Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning – PDF

Because this document has been so popular, we wanted to write up a few of the key question we see raised in this article.

Possible Problems with Strategic Planning

What do mean by Strategy?

For Mintzberg (1994) strategy is a word that we define differently than we practice.

  • For many, the definition of strategy is “a plan” but in actuality strategy should be a pattern that allows our intended responses to blend with what is emerging out of changing environment
  • The power and importance of emergent strategy increases when compared to the fact that less than ten percent of intended strategies are successfully implemented!

What is the relationship between planning and the autonomy of individuals?

  • Is management is committed to planning, or is planning committed to management?  Is planning a subtle ploy for managers to publicize their ideas? Or it is an interactive process that both involves others in developing ideas and increases commitment of others to strategies?
  • Are we planning in order to allow individual freedoms,  or are we planning to reduce individual autonomy?
  • Strategies may be thinly veiled attempts to reaffirm established ways of doing things

Can Organizations be good both at planning and at strategic thinking?

Mintzberg finds in that

  • “a climate congenial to planning may not always be congenial to effective strategy making, while a climate hostile to planning may sometimes prove effective for strategy making” (p. 173).
  • This raises questions about different organizational cultures and whether they are able to support planning or strategy

What is the relationship between strategic planning and organizational conflict or politics?

  • Some organizations try to make their planning “rational” or “objective”
  • By suppressing natural conflicts, self-interest, goal trade-offs, resource redistribution and the political dimensions of an organization in the planning process, the final plan lacks realism and practicality
  • Mintzberg also talks about organizations pretending to change through these kind of processes in order to remain conservative

Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning – PDF

You can find another good article sharing critiques of strategic planning here.

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