Characteristics of Planning
Planning unlike the other functions of management is more of an intellectual process. All other processes draw their intellectual backing or logical backing from the plans formulated. Planning is a process that has to necessarily adapt to changing times. Plans are formulated by taking to factors of change and may require the business to drastically change its course.
Some of the characteristics and features of planning are:-
1. Planning is the Primary Function of Management / Primacy of Planning.
Planning is the first and foremost function of any management. It is the most basic and is the primary function, that has to be efficiently carried out no matter what. The efficiency of a management’s plan determines the efficiency of the management’s activity for the planned time period.
All other functions revolve around the plan formulated through this process. Controlling especially is dependent on planning because it is invariably treated as an extension of the planning process and cannot exist without it. Planning develops the goals which guide the entire organization and this makes it the most important of all management functions.
2. Planning is an Intellectual Process
Planning unlike the other functions of management is more of an intellectual process. All other processes draw their intellectual backing or logical backing from the plans formulated. That is to say, when staffing is done, the logic employed is whether the new recruit will fit into the plan. Hence as evident from the illustration, the other functions on the logic of planning and requires only the application of the logic behind the plan.
Planning which lays down this logic is thus the intellectual mental process. It involves many functions like weighing risks, analyzing trade-offs, predicting business environment changes, etc. This thus requires a great degree of mental prowess and ability.
3. Planning is a Continuous Process
Planning is a continuous function that never ceases. Even after a plan is formulated for a time period, the function of planning still persists to make new plans for another period but primarily also for creating contingency plans if something goes wrong. This is required because businesses subsist in a dynamic ever-changing environment and hence flexibility with such changes is required which can only be facilitated by sub-plans, contingency plans, etc.
4. Planning is Pervasiveness
Planning even though predominantly understood to be a function of the top-level management is a pervasive function. The top-level management develops plans for the organization as a whole, whereas the department manager makes plans for his department and a supervisor makes plans for the set of employees under him. In this manner planning is done at all levels, making it pervasive.
5. Planning is Dynamic (Flexible)
Planning is a process that has to necessarily adapt to changing times. Plans are formulated by taking to factors of change and may require the business to drastically change its course. However businesses because of its various rigid and embedded policies and procedures, along with its employees, because of their beliefs, philosophies, and mentality, are more often than not resistant to these proposed changes.
6. Planning Involves Forecasting
Planning is a broader function that involves the process of forecasting. That is to say, planning includes forecasting whereas forecasting is not planning.
According to George. R. 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“.
7. Planning and Linking Factors
Planning is, quite simply put, a process that involves the collection and analysis of facts to make assumptions and premises for the future, based on which an action plan intended to achieve desired results is duly formulated.