MEANING

Planning is an intellectual process of thinking resorted to decide a future course of action regarding:

  • What to do?
  • How to do?
  • Who will do it?
  • When to do?

It is first and foremost function of the management of ‘THINKING BEFORE DOING’. It is a bridge between the present situations and future circumstances.

ACCORDING TO THEO HAIMANN

“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, coordinated structure of operations aimed at desired results.”

ACCORDING TO GEORGE TERRY

“Planning is the selecting and relating of facts and the making and using of assumptions regarding the future in the visualization and formulation of proposed activities believed necessary to achieve desired results.”

ACCORDING TO LOUIS A. ALLEN

“Management Planning involves the development of forecasts, objectives, policies, programmes, procedure, schedules and budgets.”

ACCORDING TO JAMES L LUNDY

“Planning means the determination of what is to be done, how and when it is to be done, who is to do it, when and how the results are to be evaluated.”

ACCORDING TO M.S. HURLEY

“Planning is deciding in advance what is to be done. It involves the selection of objectives, policies, procedures and programmes from among alternatives.”

ACCORDING TO KOONTZ AND O’DONELL

“Planning is the function of a manager, which involves the selection from among alternatives for the enterprise as a whole or department within it.”

ACCORDING TO HAYNES AND MASSIE

“Planning is that function of the manager in which he decides in advance what he will do. It is a decision making process of a special kind. It is an intellectual process in which creative thinking and imagination are essential.”

ACCORDING TO HENRY FAYOL

“Planning is deciding the best alternatives among others to perform different managerial operations in order to achieve the pre-determined goals.”

ACCORDING TO JP BARGER

“Planning is an ability to visualize the future process and its results.”

Thus, planning is a continuous process of thinking in advance for the future and also involves the formulation of policies, procedures, programmes etc.

FEATURES/ NATURE/ CHARACTERISTICS OF PLANNING

It is an integral part of the management. It helps the manager to know about the future prospects and anticipates the probable effect of changes in the business environment on the business concern. The features are as follows:

1.AN INTELLECTUAL PROCESS

It is an intellectual process. It is a process of mental thinking and brain storming. Manager cannot take the decisions about the future course of action on basis of guess work. He has to use his mind and make a plan for the future by studying and analyzing the pros and cons of every alternative available. A planner or manager thinks about the following aspects:

  • What is to be done?
  • How it is to be done?
  • When it is to be done?
  • Who will have to do it?

To quote Marshall Dimock, “This is not the work of a theorist locked up in a office and handling out blue prints through a crack in the door. It is planning that makes it possible for him effectively to combine knowledge with power in order to achieve the objectives of his enterprise.”

2.PRIMARY FUNCTION

There are various functions of management such as organising, staffing, directing, controlling etc. All these functions cannot be performed if there is no proper planning. This means all other functions of management are followed by the Planning. Like:

  • A manager can build the organizational framework only after making a plan for that.
  • An employer can hire the personnel for job only after planning about the salary to be paid and services to be availed.
  • A manager can order the employees to produce the goods only after planning for the targeted sales.

All this assures that the planning is the primary function of the management.

3.CONTINUOUS FUNCTION

Planning is not one time function. It has to be performed continuously by the manager. It starts as the promoter of the company conceives the idea of starting the business and it continues with the running of the enterprise. Each decision to be implemented requires proper planning. It is a never-ending activity.

4.PERVASIVE

It is a function which is followed by every person irrespective of his level of management. Planning at top level will be fundamental, broad, far reaching and basic. Its scope and extent decreases as it goes from top level management to middle level management then to low level of management.

5.GOAL ORIENTED

It is goal oriented. It aims at achievement of the targets sets or attainment of the objectives. To quote GOETZ “Managerial planning seeks to achieve a consistent, coordinated structure of operations focused on desired goals. Without plan actions must become merely a random activity, producing nothing but chaos.”

6. AIMS AT EFFECIENCY

Planning is a mental exercise of determining the future course of action. There are various alternatives available in front of the manager to choose. A proper plan aims at choosing that alternative which will efficient to the organization i.e. which will generate minimum costs and maximum benefit to the concern. So planning is done to improve and maximize the efficiency.

7. DYNAMIC FUNCTION

A function can be called dynamic if it is able to change or mould as per the changing circumstances. Planning can rightly be called as dynamic function as there is every possibility to make changes in the plan as the circumstances or situations changed. Planning ensures the consideration of new trends, new products, new fashions and fluctuations in the markets and ensures the scope of alternation in the plan made according to the changes experienced.

8. AIMS AT COORDINATION

Coordination is essential for the smooth working of the organization. Planning coordinates that what, who, how, why, where and when. In the absence of the planning different segments of the organization may pursue divergent objectives.

9.REALISTIC APPROACH

Planning is based on future forecasts. As the future is always uncertain, but the predictions can be made with accuracy to some extent. Planning is not done on wishful basis but it is done on the feasible studies and then targets are set. As it is based on hard realities, so it facilitates the achievement of the goals.

10.A RATIONAL APPROACH

Planning is a rational approach. An approach is rational if it is objectively and intelligently decided. The aim of the management is to reach the goals with the application of appropriate resources. The balancing of ends and means is also in the purview of the planning. It helps to take rational decisions for achieving the goals of the enterprise.

CONCLUSION

Planning helps in taking note of the favorable situations and minimizes the devastating effects of unfavorable situations. It does not provide a flat insurance package but it certainly helps in improving managerial and organizational performance.

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