Meaning of Planning
According to Koontz & O ’Donell, “Planning is deciding in advance – what to do, how to do and who is to do it.” Planning means setting objectives and targets and formulating an action plan to achieve them.
It is concerned with both ends and means i.e., what is to be done and how it is to be done. Planning bridges the gap between where we are, to, where we want to go. This is the first function in the process of management.
Characteristics/Features of Planning
1. Planning is goal-oriented.
Planning is purposeful. Planning has no meaning unless it contributes to the achievement of predetermined organizational goals.
2. Planning is looking ahead.
The purpose of planning is to meet future events effectively to the best advantage of an organization. It implies peeping into the future, analyzing it and predicting it.
3. Planning is an intellectual process.
Planning requires the application of mind involving foresight, intelligent imagination and sound judgment. It is a thinking activity rather than a doing activity. Planning is based on facts and reality rather than guess work.
4. Planning involves decision making.
Planning involves choice from among various alternatives and activities. If there is only one possible goal or a possible course of action, there is no need for planning because there is no choice. The need for planning arises only when alternatives are available.
5. Primacy of Planning.
Planning lays down the base for other functions of management. All other managerial functions are performed within the framework of the plans drawn. Thus, planning precedes other functions.
6. Planning is Continuous.
Planning is a continuous process. Plans are prepared for a specific period of time, may be for a month, a quarter, or a year. At the end of that period there is need for a new plan to be drawn on the basis of new requirements and future conditions.
7. Planning is all Pervasive.
Planning is required at all levels of management as well as in all departments of the organization. It is not a function of top management only. But the scope of planning differs at different levels and among different departments.
8. Planning is Flexible.
Plans can be changed as per the changing requirements of the business enterprise.
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