Request by Prof. Godwin Booysen, Founder of Dunamis Consultants 2006
by Prof. Louis Mathys De Bruin Dunamis Degree Accreditation Association (DDAA) and New World Mission Dunamis International
University (NWMDIU) and Partners.
A Strategic Planning Primer for Education in South Africa and the rest of the educational world for
2006 to 2010.
article provides an overview of the strategic planning process. It is intended to help
understand the concept of strategic planning, the need for strategy in South African and International education, and
dynamics of the university-based strategic planning. It includes a brief history of strategic
emerging challenges in education, basic models and steps of a strategic
process, adapting strategic planning to unique needs of education as well as higher education, and a look
the strategic planning at the California State University , Universities and Schools within the United Kingdom as well as
a few successful Schools within South African educational systems as Super model for the Southern African situation . A glossary
of terms and an
bibliography are included.
Prof. Louis M. De Bruin for Dunamis Consultants based in South Africa.2006.
To find the Strategy to fit the African “Business Plan for Educational Planning” is not an easy
To aim our focus on the super models around the developed countries only will not be effective strategic planning
for Africa.. We need to return to the basics. From time to time we have to strengthen the roots of
a young, growing, tree by cutting dead branches, trimming even some who might be alive, watering the tree, right at the roots,
protect the tree from frost, parasites and violent “animals”.
Educational Development began right at the beginning of the Creation of this world -”as we know it”-
from Historic Writings , Teachings and Discoveries. Our main source to explore and to find satisfying
answers for our quest and purpose- to improve education for Africa is found in:- Excavations,
The Bible, Reality- Science, manuscripts, art, traditions and cultures yesterday and today with our eyes open for future breakthroughs,
opportunism, empowerment and recognitions of leadership within Africa who already make a difference
but have more potential for development and as participants for strategic planning reach the ultimate goal of Global Educational
A Strategic Planning Primer for Higher Education
projections available around the world offer an invaluable source of information for
strategic planning. To provide data for studying changes in the external
setting empirically based goals related to the labor market, and examining an
campus’s position in relation to entire higher education sector in the state.
may search for articles on the Internet about- the following:
Higher Education Needs Strategic Planning
History of Strategic Planning
in a Strategic Planning Process and a Strategic Planning Process Model
Aspects of Strategic Planning in Higher Education
Planning at CSU
You may click here for NWMDIU Strategic Planning
website at: http://www.university.zoomshare.com/ and follow the LINKS
Why Higher Education Needs Strategic Planning
the concept of strategic planning, the need for strategy in higher education, and
dynamics of the university-based strategic planning?. It includes a brief history of strategic
emerging challenges in higher education, basic models and steps of a strategic
process, adapting strategic planning to unique needs of higher education, and a look
the strategic planning at the California State University system. A glossary of terms and an
bibliography are included.
Alexandra L. Lerner, Research Associate. College of Business Administration and
California State University, Northridge. July 1999.
are driven to engage in a strategic planning process by a variety of forces. These
increasing demand for higher education concurrent with a decline in government
changing student demographics, and a need to compete with the emerging models of
education while keeping the essence of a traditional comprehensive university. A
planning process can help prepare a university to face these emerging challenges.
to Benjamin & Carroll (1998, p.3), “if current trends continue, more than onethird
the Californians seeking to enroll in ”a state university “will be unable to do so by the
2015.” Consequently, to avoid such outcomes, universities need to “make major structural
in their decision-making systems … and reallocate scarce resources” (Benjamin &
1998, p.21). Universities should also “pursue greater mission differentiation to
their services and better respond to the changing needs of their constituencies”
& Carroll, 1998, p. 22-23). Strategic planning can aid the university in accomplishing
CHALLENGES FACING CALIFORNIA HIGHER EDUCATION
years have brought many changes to the landscape of California’s higher education.
is a brief description of these challenges.
in state government funding
universities’ share of the state budget is plummeting; according to David Breneman, it
decline to 1% in 2002 (from 12% in 1994). At the same time, according to Benjamin &
(1998) the operating costs per student in higher education are rising.
in demand for higher education
for higher education is expected to increase sharply in the next decade. According
former CSU chancellor Barry Munitz, university enrollment in California will increase to 2.7
in 2010, a 50% increase over 1.8 million in 1994. For CSU, this translates into an
100,000 full-time equivalent students (FTE) annually by 2010 (Cornerstones,
p.2). In addition to the expected population growth, the proportion of the population
will attend universities will increase. According to Benjamin & Carroll (1998, p. 9), “only
graduates will be able to hold their own economically” by 2015. As more and more
recognize that a college degree is essential to their economic well being, demand for
education will increase.
demographic makeup is changing. As the number of Latino and Asian students
over the next decade, the universities will not have a single racial “majority” group. By
about half of the entering class of students will come from non-“Anglo-white” families. In
the average age of the student population will increase, as more “older” students return
universities to get undergraduate degrees. Seeking “the best conditions for success of all its
students,” universities need to provide education that will allow graduates to “fully
in a diverse society committed to democratic values” (Cornerstones, appendix, p 3).
models of higher education
models of providing higher education have emerged in recent years. According to some
a gap between what the public wants and what traditional universities provide is
(Rowley, Lujan, & Dolence, 1997). Changes in the educational needs (i.e. a need for
specific, applied education), unmet by the existing system of higher education, have
emergence of for-profit, “convenience” universities, such as the University of Phoenix
National University. Adapting to the needs of the consumer-driven market (Traub, 1997),
view the student as a customer, target specific functions (based on the market need), and
schedules convenient for students. Thus “traditional” universities must find ways to deal
this new competition.
elements of a “traditional” model
can’t move completely away from a provider-driven model to a consumerdriven
of higher education. … The quest for new knowledge, the analysis of theories and
and the free exchange of ideas would suffer if colleges and universities only offered
was popular” (Rowley, Lujan, & Dolence, 1997, p. 54). Eliminating disciplines because
are currently not in demand is contrary to the mission of a comprehensive university. Yet to
degree all campuses must consider student preferences for applied education and the larger
of consensus in state government
government is debating the purposes of higher education and who should have access to
At the same time, universities, and particularly the CSU, are challenged to meet their mission
provide access and affordability, ensure quality through maximum attention to the teaching
learning process, and provide evidence for their results (Cornerstones, appendix, p. 3-4).
economy has undergone a profound transformation in the last two decades.”
major economic growth areas, high-tech and high-tech based industries, will employ welleducated
able to move easily among careers and employers. Californians, who lack
education and competencies useful across career lines, especially those without at least
college degree, will be at a disadvantage, in terms of employment opportunities, earning
and higher unemployment rates (Cornerstones, appendix, p. 2).
here for Cornerstones Report, Appendix
NEED FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION
planning is one of the major steps the universities can take to address these
Strategy is a tool for the university to find its competitive advantage and place
universities must bring about the needed institutional redesign and devise an
strategic plan for developing California’s human resources. By pursuing a greater
differentiation and reallocation of resources they will better respond to the changing
of their constituencies (Benjamin & Carroll, 1998).
present lack of effective strategic planning has lead to dire predictions from many
According to Benjamin & Carroll (1998, p.1), “the present course of higher
in the state – in which student demand, tuition, and costs are rising much faster than
funding - is unsustainable. Unless significant steps are taken to address the situation,
of thousands of Californians will be denied access to higher education within the next
years.” “That is a serious, sobering, economic, political, and social catastrophe, and there is
in the framework of a current situation that is likely to prevent that from occurring”
of higher education that do not rethink their roles, responsibilities, and structures
expect a very difficult time in the next decade and the next generation. Some will not
Most will be expected to do much more with far less” (Glassman & Rossy, n.d.).
BENEFITS OF STRATEGIC PLANNING
in a strategic planning process benefits universities in a variety of ways.
· Creates a framework for determining the direction
a university should take to achieve its
· Provides a framework for achieving competitive
· Allows all university constituencies to participate
and work together towards accomplishing
· “Raises the vision of all key participants,
encouraging them to reflect creatively on the
direction” of the university (Hax & Majluf, 1996, p. 32),
· Allows the dialogue between the participants
improving understanding of the organization’s
and fostering a sense of ownership of the strategic plan, and belonging to the
· Aims to align the university with its environment,
· Allows the university to set priorities.
Please click here for a complete list of References
Brief History of Strategic Planning
The history of strategic planning begins in the military. According to
Webster’s New World
is “the science of planning and directing large-scale military operations, of
forces into the most advantageous position prior to actual engagement with the
(Guralnic, 1986). Although our understanding of strategy as applied in management has
transformed, one element remains key: aim to achieve competitive advantage.
its name and roots from the military model, early models of formal strategic planning
the hierarchical values and linear systems of traditional organizations. Undertaken by
planning function at the top of the organization, its structure was highly vertical and timebound.
certain period would be set aside to analyze the situation and decide on a course of
This would result in a formal document. Once this was done, the actual work of
- which was considered a separate, discrete process - could begin” (Wall & Wall,
individual definitions of strategy vary between authors, traditionally, theorists have
planning an essential part of organizational strategy. For a comprehensive definition
of strategy, please refer to the Glossary
planning in organizations originated in the 1950s and was very popular and
between mid-1960s to mid-1970s, when then people believed it was the answer for
problems, and corporate America was “obsessed” with strategic planning. Following that
strategic planning was cast aside and abandoned for over a decade. The 1990s brought
revival of strategic planning as a “process with particular benefits in particular contexts”
Here is a brief account of several generations of strategic planning.
SWOT analysis model
strategic planning of the 1950s. “The 1960s brought qualitative and quantitative
models of strategy. During the early 1980s, the shareholder value model
and the Porter model
the standard. The rest of the 1980s was dictated by strategic intent and core
and market-focused organizations. Finally, business transformation became de
in the 1990s” (Gouillart, 1995).
newer models of strategic planning were focused on adaptability to change,
and importance of strategic thinking and organizational learning. “Strategic agility”
becoming more important that the strategy itself, because the organization’s ability to succeed
more to do with its ability to transform itself, continuously, than whether it has the right
Being strategically agile enables organizations to transform their strategy depending on
changes in their environment” (Gouillart, 1995).
the past decade institutions of higher education had to confront numerous changes in
their external and internal environment, and respond to emerging challenges, such as decreasing
support, rapid technological advances, changing demographics, and outdated academic
As a result, many universities engaged in strategic planning as means to “make
strategic changes … to adapt to the rapidly shifting environment” (Rowley, Lujan, &
strategic planning at universities has been only moderately successful, as only few
able to achieve significantly successful results and “transformed themselves dramatically.
have been able to make important changes in parts of their operations. … But many
have stumbled, dissolved into controversy, or lost their nerve” (Rowley, Lujan, &
1997). Although several authors have endeavored to explain successes and failures of
planning in higher education, scholars differ in their opinions. As a result, there is no
(or clarity) on major determinants of strategic planning’s success in universities.
Please click here for a complete list of References
Steps in a Strategic Planning Process
every strategic planning process is uniquely designed to fit the specific needs of a
university, every successful “model” includes most of these steps.
university begins by identifying its vision and mission. Once these are clearly defined, it
on to a series of analyses, including external, internal, gap, and benchmarking, which
a context for developing organization’s strategic issues. Strategic programming follows
the organization develops specific strategies including strategic goals, action plans, and
Emergent strategies evolve, challenging the intended tactics, and altering the realized
Periodically, the organization evaluates its strategies and reviews its strategic plan,
emergent strategies and evolving changes. It usually takes several years before
planning becomes institutionalized and organizations learn to think strategically. The
Strategic Planning Process graph at the end
of this section provides a graphical representation
Here we briefly review steps essential to success of any strategic planning process. For
a more detailed description of strategic planning terminology, please
refer to the Glossary
VISION AND MISSION
of the organization’s vision and mission is the first step of any strategic
process. The university’s vision sets out the reasons for organization’s existence and
“ideal” state that the organization aims to achieve; the mission identifies major goals and
objectives. Both are defined within the framework of the university’s philosophy,
are used as a context for development and evaluation of intended and emergent strategies.
can not overemphasize the importance of a clear vision and mission; none of the subsequent
will matter if the organization is not certain where it is headed.
the vision and mission are clearly identified, the university must analyze its external
and internal environment. The environmental scan, performed within the
frameworks of the Five
Forces Model and SWOT, analyzes information about organization’s external environment
social, demographic, political, legal, technological, and international factors), the
industry, and internal organizational factors. The labor
market projections provided on this site
are most valuable for the environmental scan. Please refer to the brief
description of the Basic
Models for more information.
evaluate the difference between their current position and desired future
gap analysis. As a result, a university can develop specific strategies and allocate
to close the gap (CSUN strategic planning leadership retreat, April 1997), and achieve
and comparing the university’s operations, practices, and performance against
is useful for identifying "best" practices. Through an ongoing systematic benchmarking
campuses find a reference point for setting their own goals and targets.
determines its strategic issues based on (and consistent with) its vision and
within the framework of environmental and other analyses. Strategic issues are the
issues the organization has to address to achieve its mission and move towards its
address strategic issues and develop deliberate strategies for achieving their mission,
set strategic goals, action plans, and tactics during the strategic programming stage.
Strategic goals are
the milestones the campus aims to achieve that evolve from the strategic
issues. The SMART goals
model is essential to setting meaningful goals. Smart goals are
specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and time/cost bound.
“Action plans …
define how we get to where we want to go,” the steps required to reach our
Tactics are specific
actions used to achieve the strategic goals and implement the strategic
and unintended events frequently occur that differ from the university’s
strategies, and the university must respond. Emergent strategy is “a pattern, a
of behavior over time,” “a realized pattern [that] was not expressly intended” in the
planning of strategy. It results from a series of actions converging into a consistent
pattern (Mintzberg, 1994, p. 23-25). Please refer to the Glossary of Terms for a more complete
of emergent strategies.
EVALUATION OF STRATEGY
evaluations of strategies, tactics, and action programs are essential to assessing
of the strategic planning process. It is important to measure performance at least
(but preferably more often), to evaluate the effect of specific actions on long-term
and on the organization’s vision and mission (Rowley, Lujan, & Dolence, 1997). The
should measure current performance against previously set expectations, and
any changes or events that may have impacted the desired course of actions.
REVIEW OF THE STRATEGIC PLAN
assessing the progress of the strategic planning process, the university needs to review
strategic plan, make necessary changes, and adjust its course based on these evaluations. The
plan must take into consideration emergent strategies, and changes affecting the
time, people in the university routinely make their decisions within the framework of
organization’s strategic vision and mission. Strategic planning becomes an organizational
deeply embedded within the organization’s decision-making process, and participants
to think strategically as part of their regular daily activities (Lerner, 1999). Strategic
involves “arraying options through a process of opening up institutional thinking to a
of alternatives and decisions that identify the best fit between the institution, its resources,
and the environment” (Rowley, Lujan, & Dolence, 1997, p. 15).
See Glossary of Terms for
about strategic thinking.
Please click here for a complete list of References
Unique Aspects of Strategic Planning in Higher Education
following section discusses unique aspects of strategic planning at universities.
BETWEEN A BUSINESS MODEL AND A UNIVERSITY MODEL
success of the strategic planning effort, universities need to adjust the “business
model” to higher education. As discussed below, university-based strategic planning
from the business model in several specific ways. By recognizing these differences and
the traditional model accordingly, universities can increase understanding of, and
in the strategy process throughout its constituencies.
“business world,” strategic planning model timeframe is 2 to 3 years; at universities, it
takes 5 or more years.
business model is generally top down, although it is still necessary to get the support and
of people in the company. Because of the importance of shared governance in
management, faculty’s involvement is key, and building consensus right from the
becomes essential for university – based strategic planning. University faculty can’t be
(i.e., command authority) in the same way as employees in a company, because
power” at universities is not very strong.
guiding principle - long-term investment in educating people - is different from
bottom line approach. Differences in the value system require a different approach to
planning at universities.
do not have a clearly defined customer; students, employers, and the community
all be considered “customers.” As a result, defining goals and measuring effectiveness
with the university’s mission is problematic.
is especially difficult to accept at the universities, because by nature universities are
PROCESS OF STRATEGIC PLANNING
process itself is important to opening the lines of communications, and engaging faculty
staff in the dialogue. The fact that we engage in “strategic thinking” is more important than
final product – the plan. The decision-makers can make choices in the context of their
of the faculty’s dialogue, different vantage points, and university’s overall
It is similar to the empowerment in the corporate model. If participants understand the
around issues, then management can empower them to make decisions, because
decisions will reflect the overall context.
to Barry Munitz, former CSU chancellor, universities need to establish where
strategic competitive advantage is. “As you begin your own strategic planning effort, be
and concise and specific about where you want to make this campus’s mark. What
do well, what do you do differently, what do you do better than most others. Those things
you care less about and you do less well should disappear” (Munitz, speech at CSUN, 1995).
faculty are rewarded mainly based on research and teaching. For strategic
to succeed, faculty should be rewarded for a broader range of things (i.e. initiatives
to strategic planning), while the essence of the university - teaching and research - is
People participate in activities that get rewarded, so universities have to be willing to
resources and allocate funds for strategic priorities. In essence, strategic planning goals and
objectives should be linked to the reward system.
at the top
at the top is essential for success. The university president has to be willing to
and support strategic planning activities, and never loose focus on that. Similarly, highlevel
must be truly committed to and involved in it.
university is “a loosely coupled system of units that need to work together for a mutually
future, but understand that their differences would often create tension. These units
seek autonomous distinctiveness and interdependence. The continued attention
balancing of these two dimensions became the glue that held the strategic planning process
and provided the context for implementation” (Glassman & Rossy, n.d.). Designing a
coupled process recognizes uniqueness of each part of the university.
need for participatory planning stems from the universities’ “shared governance” model.
colleges and universities, the major means of production (teaching and research) are …
exclusive rights of the faculty, and …top-level strategic decision making cannot be
accomplished without the advice and consent of professoriate… The faculty … can
significant veto power over the options available to university administrative
(Rowley, Lujan, & Dolence, 1997).
a mechanism to get faculty involvement at every stage, and particularly at the
stage, becomes essential to success; faculty can’t be “commanded,” but have to
to voluntarily participate.
allowing for flexibility, alignment means that universities within the system support
goals of the larger system, and that the units within the university support campus goals.
and deans could define their own ways to establish goals, and choose what is important
within the framework of the university-wide strategic planning process. This fosters a
of ownership of the process, and personal contribution to it.
of strategic planning differs between the university level, the college level, and the
level. The process for each college needs to be customized to that college’s unique
keeping in mind the high degree of heterogeneity of the population within the
For example, CSUN, is not one homogenous university, but 9 colleges living on the
Please click here for a complete list of References
Strategic Planning Process Model
MISSION / VISION
within the framework
to a learned
of behavior or
DELIBERATE / INTENDED
Strategic Planning at CSU
several years, CSU has been engaged in a strategic planning effort, documented in the
Cornerstones is an “umbrella effort” “designed to complement and support
planning activities that are ongoing on the CSU campuses” (Cornerstones, preface).
of CSU’s major challenges is to “secure adequate state resources for all Californians who
a college education” (Cornerstones, appendix, p. 3). Within this framework, CSU aims to
the shared governance, support individual campuses in serving different communities
unique needs, and protect and regenerate superior faculty.
THE CORNERSTONES REPORT
CSU’s Cornerstones project identified four policy goals for the California State
campuses, which include (1) educational results; (2) access to higher education; (3)
stability; and (4) university accountability. Aligning strategic planning efforts at
CSU campuses with these policy goals will allow each university to “contribute to a
larger statewide public and policy audience” (Cornerstones
Report, Preface), advancing the
comprehensive effort of California’s higher education system to respond to emerging
CSU seeks to ensure that each graduate of the university meets high expectations
what graduates should know and do, and … will be held accountable to achieve these
CSU will provide educational excellence, while responding to the needs of
both young, and older and working adults. These will be accomplished through
in the use of its facilities, the methods of teaching and learning, the development of
academic schedules, the nature and duration of programs, the locations where education
takes place, and the ease with which students get services” (Cornerstones Report, Educational
to higher education
very structure of public higher education is predicated on the idea that every resident
to benefit from instruction has some place to learn.” CSU’s role is key in meeting this
This will be accomplished through outreach programs, retention efforts, support of
efforts, strengthening relationship with community colleges, providing education beyond
baccalaureate, including career transition education and lifelong learning
Access to Higher Education).
aims to provide an “environment where resources are stable enough that campuses can
plans, determine priorities, and successfully implement them.” It is essential for students to
able to count on predictable fees and adequate aid in planning completion of their education.
State of California’s commitment to provide CSU with necessary funding is essential, “it
be matched by our own efforts to produce excellence. Financial stability will only be
through a combination of increased revenues and increased productivity and savings”
(Cornerstones Report, Financial Stability).
has moved to become “a community of distinct and diverse campuses,” “ in a context of
goals and broad commitments to the people of California,” allowing campuses a “greater
and autonomy.” CSU will account for its performance through “assessment of student
and … reports [of CSU’s performance] to the public.” The reporting system will
on achievements of each university based on the diverse nature of each campus and its
students” (Cornerstones Report, University
an effort to “create a truly student-centered university, in which every member of the
community – faculty, staff, and administration – has a responsibility for contributing
student success,” the Cornerstones implementation plan “addresses the [following] key issues
system-wide concern.” Each initiative suggests several proposed implementation steps,
in the detailed text of the implementation plan draft on the Cornerstones web site.
“Each university will strengthen baccalaureate education through student learning outcomes
Each university will assure the quality of the baccalaureate experience and process.
Each university will examine its programs to ensure that current programs are needed,
and have appropriate and understandable requirements.
Universities will make their service more accessible in time and place, by removing, to the
possible, constraints on teaching and learning caused by time or location.
The CSU will support system and university-wide efforts to increase the number and
of high-school students who are prepared for college-level study upon entry, and
the process, reduce the percentages of students needing remedial education.
The CSU will increase access to education beyond the baccalaureate, including degree and
programs as well as other forms of continuing and professional education.
The CSU and each university will make systematic progress toward achieving the conditions
that will allow faculty to play their integral role in implementing the
Cornerstones Implementation Plan).
anticipates several gaps between expected need and available resources. By year 2005
deficit resulting from insufficient revenues to meet enrollments needs is projected to be
$58 to $240 million. An estimated need for necessary technology, replacement of
equipment, maintenance of laboratories, library acquisitions, mandatory price increases,
maintenance for new space is about $680 million. Additional resources are necessary to
a 26% projected increase in enrollments. Funds available to students in need of
aid are declining, while the number of such students is expected to increase to about
60% of total enrollments by 2005 (Cornerstones
Report, Appendix, p. 6).
Please click here for a complete list of References
may encounter a multitude of problems as they go forward with their strategic
process. This section discusses several of these difficulties and offers ways to minimize
planning is an involved, intricate, and complex process that takes an organization
the uncharted territory. It does not provide a ready to use prescription for success; instead, it
the organization through a journey and helps develop a framework and context within
the answers will emerge. Literature and research has documented extensively the possible
that may arise during the process. Being aware of these issues and prepared to address
is essential to success: organization’s strategic planning effort may fail if these potential
are ignored. To increase universities’ awareness, this section reviews some of these
of the major challenges of strategic planning is ensuring commitment at the top, because
some ways, strategic planning reduces executive decision-making power. It encourages
throughout the organization, and “empowers” people to make decisions within the
defined by the strategic planning process. As a result, this shifts some of the decision
from the executive office to the participants.
of the people throughout the university “grows out of a sense of ownership of
project” (Mintzberg, 1994, p. 172). Such commitment is essential to success. Strategic
implies organization-wide participation, which can only be achieved if people believe
their involvement counts, and that they will benefit from the process.
of plans and planning
planning might inhibit changes, and discourage the organization from considering
alternatives (Mintzberg, 1994, p. 178). Planning might inhibit creativity, and “does not
handle truly creative ideas” (Mintzberg, 1994, p. 180). A conflict lies with a desire to
the stability that planning brings to an organization … while enabling it to respond
to external changes in the environment” (Mintzberg, 1994, p. 184).
planning, if misused, might become a tool for gaining control over decisions,
present, future, actions, management, employees, markets, and customers (Mintzberg,
pp. 201-202), rather than a comprehensive and integrated instrument for bringing the
to its desired future.
planning may be used as a tool to “impress” “influential outsiders” (Mintzberg,
p. 214), or to comply with requirements for strategic planning imposed from the outside,
as accreditation requirements.
planning dismisses intuition and favors readily available, interpretable “hard” data
1994, p. 191), and assumes that all goals are “reconcilable in a single statement of
(Mintzberg, 1994, p. 193).
planning might increase “political activity among participants” (i.e. faculty and
or individual participants), by increasing conflict within the organization,
a notion of centralized hierarchy, and challenging formal channels of authority
1994, pp.197, 200).
planning allows organizations to be flexible and open to making changes to the
planning process, if it becomes necessary in the face of unexpected events and changes
the initial assumptions. “Organizations need a good combination of formal and opportunistic
“Organizations that rely exclusively on formal planning could trap themselves in
rigidities.” Those who’s decision-making capability is entirely opportunistic will be
reacting to external forces, without a clear sense of direction” (Hax & Majluf, 1996, p.
should not plan, but serve as” facilitators, “catalysts, inquirers, educators, and
to guide the planning process effectively” (Hax & Majluf, 1996, p. 34).
should encourage active participation of as many people as possible, including
faculty, administration, students, and alumni), engaging them in the ongoing dialogue, and
them in the strategic planning process, to generate a feeling of ownership of the
and the outcomes throughout the organization.
“a series of incremental steps that build strategies” and integrating them into the entire
will help to adjusting the course of action of strategic planning with overall
vision and strategic issues, while allowing for creativity and flexibility for change
& Majluf, 1996, p. 35).
tasks should be interpreted “not as rigid hierarchical sequences of actions, but as a
conceptual framework” for addressing issues essential to the successful operation of the
(Hax & Majluf, 1996, p. 36).
Please click here for a complete list of References
Glossary of Terms
are some important terms for understanding the strategic planning process, its purpose,
and practices. This list begins by defining strategic planning as it applies to any
(business or educational), moves on to define strategic planning as applied
to higher education, and concludes with an overview of building blocks common to
successful strategic planning effort.
STRATEGY, AND STRATEGIC PLANNING
is a formalized procedure to produce an articulated result, in the form of an
system of decisions.” Thinking about and attempting to control the future are
components of planning (Mintzberg, 1994 p.12). “Planning is required when the
future state we desire involves a set of interdependent decisions; that
is a system of decisions”
1970 in Mintzberg, 1994, p. 11).
C. Hax and Nicolas S. Majluf (1996, p. 14) provide one of the most comprehensive
of strategy available:
determines and reveals the organizational purpose in terms of long-term objectives,
programs, and resource allocation priorities;
selects the businesses the organization is in, or is to be in;
attempts to achieve a long-term sustainable advantage in each of its businesses by
appropriately to the opportunities and threats in the firm’s environment, and
strengths and weaknesses of the organization;
identifies the distinct managerial tasks at the corporate, business, and functional levels;
is a coherent, unifying, and integrative pattern of decisions;
defines the nature of the economic and non-economic contributions it intends to make to
is an expression of the strategic intent of the organization;
is aimed at developing and nurturing the core competencies of the firm;
is a means for investing selectively in tangible and intangible resources to develop the
that assure a sustainable competitive advantage.”
of strategic planning
planning is a complex and ongoing process of organizational change. The following
when combined, effectively define a successful and comprehensive strategic planning
· Is oriented towards the future, and focuses
on the anticipated future. It looks at how the
could be different 5-10 years from now. It is aimed at creating the organization’s
based on what this future is likely to look like.
· Is based on thorough analysis of foreseen
or predicted trends and scenarios of the
alternative futures, as well as the analysis of internal and external data.
· Is flexible and oriented towards the big picture.
It aligns an organization with its
environment, establishing a context
for accomplishing goals, and providing a framework
and direction to achieve organization’s desired future.
· Creates a framework for achieving competitive
advantage by thoroughly analyzing the
its internal and external environment, and its potential. This enables
to respond to the emerging trends, events, challenges, and opportunities
the framework of its vision and mission, developed through the strategic planning
· Is a qualitative, idea driven process. It
integrates “soft” data, not always supported
such as experiences, intuition, and ideas, involves the organization in the
dialogue, and aims to provide a clear organizational vision and focus.
· “Allows organizations to focus, because
it is a process of dynamic, continuous activities
self-analysis” (Doerle, 1991, in Rowley, 1997, p.37).
· Is an ongoing, continuous learning process,
an organizational dialogue, which extends
attaining a set of predetermined goals. It aims to change the way an organization
and operates, and create a learning organization.
· When successful, it influences all areas of
operations, becoming a part of the
philosophy and culture.
between conventional planning and strategic planning
of the major differences between conventional planning and strategic planning is that
planning tends to be oriented toward looking at problems based on current
or an inside-out mind set. Strategic planning requires an understanding of the
of the issue, and then finding of an appropriate response, or an outside-in mind set”
1997, p. 36).
planning is a projection from the present or an extrapolation from the past.
planning builds on anticipated future trends, data, and competitive assumptions. Long
planning tends to be numbers driven. Strategic planning tends to be idea driven, more
it seeks to provide a clear organizational vision/focus.” (CSUN strategic planning
booklet, April 1997).
STRATEGIC PLANNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION
planning is a formal process designed to help a university identify and maintain an
alignment with the most important elements the environment… within which the
resides.” This environment consists of “the political, social, economic, technological,
educational ecosystem, both internal and external to the university” (Rowley, Lujan,
1997, p. 14-15).
Learn more about Strategic Planning in Higher
STRATEGIC PLANNING BUILDING BLOCKS
vision sets out the reasons and purpose for organization’s existence and the
state that the organization aims to achieve; the mission identifies major goals and
objectives. Both the vision and mission are defined within the framework of
philosophy, and are used as a context for development of intended strategies and
for evaluating emergent strategies. The mission includes identification of (a) market (and
– social, political) needs the organization fulfills, (b) business scope (i.e. products and
required to fulfill organization’s purpose and (c) unique competencies that distinguish
organization from competitors. The organization’s philosophy consolidates its values,
with stakeholders, policies, culture, and management style (Hax & Majluf, 1996,
Hax & Majluf, 1991; CSUN strategic planning leadership retreat, April 1997; Hill & Jones,
analysis evaluates the difference between the organization’s current position, and its
future. Gap analysis results in development of specific strategies and allocation of
to close the gap (CSUN strategic planning leadership retreat, April 1997).
an example, lets consider a completion issue: how long does it take students to complete
education. A university may aim to graduate 60% of each class’ first time freshmen after 4
If the campus is currently at 40% it constitutes a 20% gap between the existing situation
desired one. Understanding the nature of this gap will allow the university to develop
strategies to achieve the desired 60% completion rate.
is an ongoing systematic process of measuring and comparing organization’s
practices, and performance against the others within and outside of the industry,
evaluation "the best" practices of other organizations. It is used within the strategic
process to guide the management of organization’s human, social, and technical
(Lerner, Rolfes, Saad, & Soderlund, 1998); CSUN strategic planning leadership
go back to our completion example. The universities may research and learn what are
the completion rates at other, similar universities. How do our rates compare to those of similar
What are the best completion rates in the universities we evaluated?
CSU campus may research completion rates at other campuses in the system, and
(compare) against the best rate among them. Knowing the “best” rate will help the
set its own completion goals.
organizations can, and should, evaluate their environment, no one can foresee the
Events occur that challenge our assumptions and contradict our forecasts. Also, bright
often come spontaneously, outside of the formal strategic planning process’s framework,
between planning events.
strategy is a set of actions, or behavior, consistent over time, “a realized pattern
was not expressly intended” in the original planning of strategy. When a deliberate strategy
realized, the result matches the intended course of action. An emergent strategy develops
an organization takes a series of actions that with time turn into a consistent pattern of
regardless of specific intentions. “Deliberate strategies provide the organization with a
of purposeful direction.” Emergent strategy implies that an organization is learning what
in practice. Mixing the deliberate and the emergent strategies in some way will help the
to control its course while encouraging the learning process. “Organizations
…[may] pursue … umbrella
strategies: the broad outlines are deliberate while the details are
to emerge within them” (Mintzberg, 1994, p. 23-25; Hax & Majluf, 1996, p. 17).
example, a university may decide to recruit new students from high schools, which
an intended strategy, and develops certain tactics to achieve this goal. However, during
course of the recruitment process, it may realize that community colleges are responding
than high schools to its recruitment efforts. As a result, the university’s recruitment
may change to emphasize attracting students from community colleges. This becomes a
emergent strategy, which may later get formalized within the strategic plan.
must be alert to recognize advantageous emergent strategies, and flexible to
them. Otherwise, an ineffective intended strategy may not bring the desired results, and a
emergent strategy will not be allowed to thrive.
issues are the fundamental issues the organization has to address to achieve its
and move towards its desired future. They contain “specific and meaningful planning
and result from the previous analyses carried out by the organization (Hax &
1991). Examples of strategic issues include “the ubiquitousness and acceleration of
change” (Hax & Majluf, 1991), and “professional development of faculty, staff,
administrators” (CSUN leadership retreat materials, 1997).
strategies for achieving organization’s mission and addressing strategic issues are
through strategic programming, which involves developing strategic goals, action
Strategic goals are
the milestones the organization aims to achieve that evolve from the
issues. They transform strategic issues into “specific performance targets that impact
entire” organization. “Goals are stated in terms of measurable and verifiable outcomes,” and
the organization to be more responsive to the environment to achieve its desired future
retreat booklet; Rowley p. 106).
“Action plans …
define how we get to where we want to go,” the steps required to reach our
goals. They identify “who will do what, when and how; how we address current issues
emerging trends as unforeseen contingencies arise” (CSUN retreat booklet).
Tactics are specific
actions and deeds used to achieve the strategic goals and implement the
plans. They are specific and measurable activities that keep the organization moving
fulfilling its strategic themes and achieving its desired future (Rowley, p.106).
thinking “is predicated on involvement” of key participants. “To think
… they must be active, involved, connected, committed, alert, stimulated. It is “the
chaos” of their work that drives their thinking, enabling them to build reflection on
as an interactive process.” “Such thinking must not only be informed by the moving
of action, but be driven by the very presence of that action” (Mintzberg, 1994, p.291).
to Liedtka (1998), following are the major attributes of strategic thinking.
· “A systems or holistic view. Strategic
thinking is built on the foundation of a systems
It includes “a mental model of the complete end-to-end system of value
… and an understanding of the interdependencies it contains.” It involves looking at
part “not as a sum of its specific tasks, but as a contribution to a larger system that
outcomes of value…”
· “A focus on intent. Strategic thinking
is intent-driven. … Strategic intent provides the focus
allows individuals within an organization to … leverage their energy, to focus attention,
resist distraction, and to concentrate for as long as it takes to achieve a goal.”
· “Thinking in time. Strategic thinkers
link past, present, and future. … The gap between
reality and intent for the future … is critical.”
· “Hypothesis-driven. Strategic thinking
… deals with hypothesis generating and testing as
activities… and avoids the analytic-intuitive dichotomy; … it is both creative and
in nature.” As such, strategic thinking allows to “pose ever-improving hypotheses
forfeiting the ability to explore new ideas.”
· “Intelligently opportunistic. The dilemma
involved in using a well-articulated strategy to
organizational efforts effectively and efficiently must always be balanced against the
of losing sight of alternative strategies better suited to a changing environment. …
must be room for intelligent opportunism that not only furthers intended strategy but
also leaves open the possibility of new strategies emerging.”
on these links for more information about the
in a Strategic Planning Process
History of Strategic Planning
of Strategic Planning
Please click here for complete list of References
following three models are a foundation upon which the subsequent strategic planning
models were developed. Please refer to the Glossary
of Terms for definitions.
models were created for the business world. However, many universities have found
to be useful, and were able to adopt them not only to the needs of higher education in
but to the special needs of specific universities. One of the most important benefits of
models is flexibility and adaptability. They can be used in a variety of ways, using
specific to a particular setting, to create a unique picture of the institution’s
analysis identifies factors that may affect desired future outcomes of the organization.
SWOT model is based on identifying the organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses,
threats and opportunities of the external environment, and consequentially identifying the
distinctive competencies and key success factors. These, along with considerations
societal and company values, lead to creation, evaluation, and choice of strategy. SWOT’s
is to recommend strategies that ensure the best alignment between the external
and internal situation (Andrews, 1980, Christensen et al., 1982 in Mintzberg, p. 36-
Hax & Majluf, 1996, p.27; CSUN strategic planning leadership retreat, April 1997; Hill &
1992, p. 14).
analysis is usually presented in the following form:
Igor Ansoff’s model, “strategy … is designed to transform the firm from the present
to the position described by the objectives, subject to the constraints of the capabilities
and the potential” of the organization. This model specifically
stresses two concepts. Gap
analysis is designed
to evaluate the “difference (gap) between the current position of the firm
[its] objectives.” The organization chooses the strategy that “substantially closes the gap.”
Synergy refers to the
idea that firms must seek “product-market posture with a combined
that is greater than the sum of its parts,” more commonly known as “2+2=5”
(Ansoff, 1965, in Mintzberg, p. 43-45).
five forces model developed by Michael E. Porter guides the analysis of organization’s
environment and the attractiveness of the industry. The five forces include
the risk of new
the industry, threat of potential substitutes, the bargaining power of buyers,
the bargaining power of suppliers, and degree of rivalry between the existing
1985). Environmental scan identifies external opportunities and threats, evaluates
overall attractiveness, and identifies factors contributing to, or taking away from, the
attractiveness (Hax & Majluf, 1996, p.27). Through organization’s choice of strategy it
alter the impact of these forces to its advantage.
is a graphical interpretation of Porter’s five forces model (Porter, 1985, p. 5), including
relevant for higher education:
Please click here for a complete list of References
in key areas Example:
R. & CARROLL, S. J. (1998). BREAKING THE SOCIAL CONTRACT: THE
FISCAL CRISIS IN CALIFORNIA HIGHER EDUCATION. RAND: COUNCIL FOR AID TO
report presents finding of a RAND study of California higher education. It
challenges facing California public post-secondary education, including a potential
of public universities to meet growing demand.
authors discuss trends in California and higher education, including increasing need
higher education, decreasing public funding, and changing demographics, and suggest ways
which the State of California, together with the institutions of higher education may be able to
RAND Distribution Services, P.O. Box 2138, Santa Monica, CA 90407-
2138. Phone (310) 451-7002 310); Fax (310) 451-6915; www.rand.org.
D. (1995, APRIL). A STATE OF EMERGENCY? HIGHER EDUCATION IN
CALIFORNIA. SAN JOSE, CA: CALIFORNIA HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY CENTER.
report reviews current issues in California higher education, including increased
demand, budgetary problems and prospects, and resistance to change within the
community. The author offers suggestions for addressing these challenges, stressing a
for a strategic perspective in planning the future of higher education in California. The
also suggests 12 actions for increasing Californians’ opportunities for undergraduate
California Higher Education Policy Center, 160 W. Santa Clara St., Suite
San Jose, CA 95133. Or ERIC Document Reproduction Service, 7420 Fullerton Road,
110, Springfield, VA 22153-2852. Phone: (800)-443-3742 or (703)-440-1400; Fax: (703)-
A. C. & MAJLUF, N. S. (1996).
THE STRATEGY CONCEPT AND PROCESS,
PRAGMATIC APPROACH. UPPER SADDLE RIVER,
NJ: PRENTICE HALL.
authors present a clear and comprehensive approach for strategy development at all
levels and functions, providing step-by-step guidance for engaging in a successful
book offers specific methodologies and tools for development of strategy, suggests
for effective communication throughout organization, and incorporates the most current
and advances in the practice of strategic management through integrating several
essential for successful strategy formation.
J. M. (1998, SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER). LINKING STRATEGIC THINKING WITH
STRATEGIC PLANNING. STRATEGY AND LEADERSHIP, 26, 30-36.
discussing this complex relationship, the author considers how strategic planning can
used to further strategic thinking in organizations. The article provides a thorough definition
strategic thinking, discusses impediments, and examines the differences between the two
The author suggests that integrating the two processes is essential to developing a
H. (1994). THE RISE AND FALL OF STRATEGIC PLANNING. NEW YORK,
NY: THE FREE PRESS.
this book, one of the most prominent authors on strategy provides a comprehensive
extensive history and evaluation of strategic planning, and research literature related to
book candidly exposes the major problems and limitations of strategic planning, and
a framework for successful strategic planning effort in a role of “strategic
D. J., LUJAN, H. D., & DOLENCE, M.G. (1997). STRATEGIC CHANGE IN
COLLEGES AND UNVIVERSITIES. SAN FRANCISCO, CA: JOSSEY-BASS PUBLISHERS.
book discusses application of strategic planning to institutions of higher education,
a detailed, step-by-step description of a strategic planning model suited for an
institution. The authors suggest how strategic planning may be used to create a more
institution, and discuss the differences in the strategic planning models suitable for
J. (1997, OCTOBER 20 & 27). DRIVE-THRU
U: HIGHER EDUCATION FOR
PEOPLE WHO MEAN BUSINESS. THE NEW YORKER, 114-123.
article illustrates a new model of higher education by discussing one of the most
for-profit institutions of post-secondary education - University of Phoenix, which
new and untraditional competition facing public universities.
Please click here for a complete list of References
Louis M. De Bruin- President of New World Mission Dunamis International University. Community and University Development 1992
to 2006. River and Water Research -unpublished 2006, Theological Research 1984 to 2006, International University research
2004-2006 Religions of the World Research 2002 – 2006 Chairperson Community Development. International Accreditation
of Schools and Universities Research 2004-2006 Web site at: http://degreeaccredit.tripod.com Baum, Paul. Professor, Management Science, CSUN. Personal communication. March 18, 1999.
R. & Carroll, S. J. (1998). Breaking the social contract: The fiscal crisis in California
education. RAND: Council for Aid to Education. (CAE-01-IP).
David. Professor, Harvard University, Graduate School of Education. (March/April
Presentation at CSUN: California Higher Education: A State of Emergency?
D. (1995, April). A State of Emergency? Higher Education in California. San Jose,
California Higher Education Policy Center.
Edward. Dean, College of Science and Math, CSUN. Personal communication. April
Implementation Plan, Draft, CSU.
William. Dean, College of Social and Behavioral Science, CSUN. Personal
April 16, 1999.
A.M., Rossy, G. & Winfield. J. (n.d.) Toward an Understanding of University-Based
Planning. Unpublished Manuscript, California State University, Northridge.
Alan. Professor of Management, CSUN. Personal communication. April 21, 1999.
F. (1995, May-June). The day the music died. Journal of Business Strategy, 16 – 3, p.
Guralnik, D. (Ed.). (1986). Webster’s New World Dictionary (2nd ed.). Cleveland, OH: Prentice
A. C. & Majluf, N. S. (1991). The Strategy Concept and Process, A Pragmatic Approach.
Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
A. C. & Majluf, N. S. (1996). The Strategy Concept and Process, A Pragmatic Approach.
Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
C. W. & Jones, G. R. (1992). Strategic Management: An Integrated Approach. Boston,
Houghton Mifflin Company.
Louanne. Provost; Vice President of Academic Affairs, CSUN. Personal
April 22, 1999.
J. M. (1998, September-October). Linking strategic thinking with strategic planning.
and Leadership, 26, 30-36.
A. L. (1999). Strategic Planning Essays. Unpublished manuscript. California State
A. L., Rolfes, K., Saad, M., Soderlund, C. (1998). Evaluation of benchmarking
Unpublished manuscript. California State University, Northridge.
H. (1994). The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning. New York, NY: The Free Press.
Barry. Chancellor, CSU. (February 1, 1995). Presentation at CSUN: Trends in Higher
Pat. Professor, Religious Studies, CSUN. Personal communication. April 12, 1999.
M.E. (1985). Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance.
York: The Free Press.
(May 4, 1995). Presentation at CSUN: Environmental Scan. Northridge, CA.
Gerard. Chair, Department of Management, CSUN. Personal communication. April 21,
D. J., Lujan, H. D., & Dolence, M.G. (1997). Strategic Change in Colleges and
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
planning leadership retreat materials. (1997). Unpublished manuscript. California
Cornerstones Report, CSU. www.calstate.edu/cornerstones/reports/cornerstones_report
J. (1997, October 20 & 27). Drive-Thru U: Higher education for people who mean
The New Yorker, 114-123.
S. J., Wall, S. R. (1995, Autumn). The evolution (not the death) of strategy.
Dynamics, 24 - 2, p. 6.
Blenda. President, CSUN. Personal communication. April 13, 1999.