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Posted on April 24th, 2014, by

1. Unit 2 – Vision in the Public Sector   In the public sector, leadership can change on a four-year cycle due to elections. Because of this, is it possible for public organizations to develop a vision for the future? Please support your position.

Answer.

In my opinion, for public organizations it is absolutely possible to develop a vision for the future, and, moreover, it is necessary to have a clear vision for the future, because in the lack of strategic plan, the organization would be headed to nowhere. Provided that elected leaders of public organization have experience in management and realize the importance of strategic planning, it is possible to suggest that even when a new leader of the public organization is elected, he or she performs the necessary steps of strategic planning. In this case, even if the beliefs and aspirations of the new leader are opposite to that of the previous leader, the procedure of following seven stages of strategic planning requires the new leader to assess previous development of the organization, evaluate current environment, set priorities and outline further direction.

Furthermore, the newly elected leader is not supposed to be the only person performing strategic planning, and the core group of people who participated in the processes of strategic planning during the previous years will help to adhere to the chosen direction, and to avoid excess fluctuations in organizational development. In my opinion, the procedures of choosing a new leader might even be beneficial to the organizational progress, because a new leader can see new perspectives and expand organizational vision and mission. However, all this reasoning can be applied to organizations where management is professional and elections are held on a fair basis; for organizations with high level of bureaucracy or protectionism, new elections might indeed lead to radical changes of strategy. For properly managed public organizations, strategic planning and vision is absolutely possible.

 

2. Unit 2 – Difficult Phase   Based on the phases of the strategic planning process provided in the readings, what would you think is the most difficult to accomplish? Support your response.

Answer.

In my opinion, the most difficult phase of strategic planning process is phase 3 assessing the environment. At this phase, the planning group is supposed to collect information from a variety of sources, prioritize the data and analyze it. At this phase, many stakeholders are involved, and multiple sources of information should be assessed. Each of different constituents of strategic planning at this stage can create issues: information collection might be complex due to the lack of business information sharing; for getting certain pieces of information, it is necessary to convince stakeholders to allow access to their data; analysis of these data is multifaceted and requires qualified specialists, etc. Analysis of effectiveness of organizational processes and programs should also be performed at this stage, which adds to complexity of phase 3 (especially for public and nonprofit sector). One more difficult process at this stage is identification of critical issues. Phase 3 lays foundation for all other phases, and it should be performed with maximal caution and maximal attention to details. This is why I consider this stage to be the most difficult one of all the phases of strategic planning process.

3. Unit 2 – Sources of Information   As you start the planning process, you need to secure various pieces of information. Based on your organization, or the organization that is the subject of your paper, where and how would you obtain information to begin your planning process?

Answer.

Information gathering during the strategic planning process actively takes place at phase 1 getting ready, and at phase 3 assessing the environment. For phase 1, it is necessary to construct organizational profile. For this, organizational archives, annual reports, analysis of organizational culture and structure will be useful. Organizational chart (hierarchy), tasks, and documents used as reports to higher organs will also be used.

For phase 3, data sources can be even more varied. Industry analysis, trends and dynamics of changes can be extracted from industry publications and reports. Key economic variables such as GDP, employment statistics, economic development, inflation, interest rates, dynamics of housing trends, exchange rates and other global characteristics can be obtained from economic reports and financial websites (e.g. bloomberg.com, finance.yahoo.com, etc). State facts and figures can be used to evaluate demographics in a chosen region, employment statistics and availability of workforce, etc. Governmental regulations, legislative discussions and analysis of political preferences in the chosen region can be useful for evaluating current and future political situation and decisions in the region. For the analysis of financial performance, demand and supply and other organizational variables annual company reports can be used. Surveys and interviews with customers should be done to evaluate the effectiveness of organizational programs and existing customer needs.

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