Planning Meaning, Definition, Nature, Purpose

Nature of Planning

Table of Contents:-

  1. Meaning of Planning
  2. Definition of Planning
  3. Nature of Planning 
  4. Purpose of Planning 

Meaning of Planning

It is one of the basic functions of management. It deals with chalking out a future course of action and deciding in advance the most suitable action for the achievement of pre-determined goals. Planning is a future course of action. It is an activity of problem-solving and decision making. Courses of action determine to achieve desired objectives. Thus, planning is systematic thinking about ways and means for the accomplishment of pre-determined goals. The arrangement is necessary to ensure the proper utilisation of human and non-human resources. It is all-pervasive, it is an intellectual activity and it also helps avoid uncertainties, confusion, risks, wastage etc.

Definition of Planning

According to Henry Fayol, “Planning is deciding the best alternatives among others to perform different managerial operations to achieve the pre-determined goals”.

According to Koontz and O’Donnell, “Planning is deciding in advance what to do, how to do it when to do it, and who is to do it. Planning bridges the gap from where we are to where we want to go. It makes it possible for things to occur which would not otherwise happen”.

It is a detailed programme about future courses of action. The saying holds true: “Having a well-thought-out plan is equivalent to completing half of the task”.Therefore, scheduling takes into consideration the available and prospective human and physical resources of the organisation to get effective coordination, contribution and perfect adjustment.

Nature of Planning 

The nature of planning is discussed below.

  1. It is Goal-Oriented
  2. It is Pervasive
  3. It is Continuous
  4. It involves Choice
  5. It is a Primary Function
  6. It is Flexible
  7. It is Futuristic
  8. It is a Mental Exercise

1) It is Goal-Oriented

Companies establish themselves with a shared objective in mind. Specific goals are set out in the plans alongwith the activities to be undertaken to achieve the goals. Thus, it is purposeful. It has no meaning unless it contributes to the attainment of predetermined organisational objectives.

2) It is a Primary Function

It lays down the base for other management functions. All other managerial functions are conducted within the framework of plans drawn. Thus, it precedes other functions.  It is also referred to as primacy planning. Different management functions are closely related and hold equal priority. However, it provides the foundation of all other functions.

3) It is Pervasive

All levels of management and every department within the organization require it. It is neither an exclusive function of top management nor of any individual department. However, the scope of planning varies at different levels and among different units.

4) It is Flexible

Forecasts play a pivotal role in the creation of plans. Since the future is uncertain, it must cope with changes in future situations. Activities planned with some assumptions about the future may not come true. Under the circumstances, the actual action plan must be revised in light of changing conditions.

5) It is Continuous

Organizations formulate plans with clear timeframes in mind, which could be a month, a quarter, or a year. At the end of that period, there is a need for a new plan to be drawn up based on new necessities and future conditions. Hence, forecasting is a never-ending activity. It is a continuous process.

6) It is Futuristic

Preparation involves looking ahead and scheduling for the future. The purpose of planning is to effectively meet future events to the best of an organisation. It means peeping into the future, analysing it and predicting it. It is, therefore, considered a forward-looking function based on forecasting. Organizations use forecasting to predict future events, possibilities, and conditions, forming plans in response.

7) It Involves Choice

It essentially involves a choice among various alternatives and activities. If there is one possible objective or only one possible course of action, there is no need for it because there is no choice. The need for planning occurs only when alternatives are available. In actual practice, planning presupposes the existence of choices. 

8) It is a Mental Exercise

It requires applying the mind to foresight, intelligent imagination and sound judgment. It is primarily an intellectual activity of thinking rather than doing. because planning determines the action taken. However, thinking for planning needs logical and systematic thinking rather than guessing or wishful thinking.

Nature of Planning

Purpose of Planning 

The purpose of planning can be understood with the help of the following points:

  1. Reduce Uncertainty
  2. Bring Cooperation and Coordination
  3. Economy in Operation
  4. Anticipate Unpredictable Contingencies
  5. Achieving the Pre-determined Goals
  6. Reduce Competition

1) Reduce Uncertainty

The future is uncertain. It may convert uncertainty into certainty. This is possible to some extent by, planning which is required to reduce uncertainty.

2) Bring Cooperation and Coordination

It can bring cooperation and coordination among various sections of the organisation. The conflicts and rivalries among departments could be avoided through organising. Besides this, It avoids duplication of work.

3) Economy in Operation

As already pointed out, planning selects the best alternatives among various available alternatives. This will lead to the effective utilisation of resources. The objectives of the organisation are achieved efficiently.

4) Anticipate Unpredictable Contingencies

Some events could not be predicted. These events are termed contingencies. These events may affect the smooth functioning of a business. The planning provides a provision to fulfil such contingencies and tackle them successfully.

5) Achieving the Predetermined Goals

Its activities are aimed at achieving the objectives of the company. The timely achievement of goals is possible only through effective arrangement. 

6) Reduce Competition

The presence of competition enables the company to get a chance for growth. At the same time, stiff competition should be avoided. It is possible to reduce competition through planning.

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