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Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning


Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this definitive and revealing history, Henry Mintzberg, the iconoclastic former president of the Strategic Management Society, unmasks the press that has mesmerized so many organizations since 1965: strategic planning. One of our most brilliant and original management thinkers, Mintzberg concludes that the term is an oxymoron — that strategy cannot be planned because planning is about analysis and strategy is about synthesis. That is why, he asserts, the process has failed so often and so dramatically.

Mintzberg traces the origins and history of strategic planning through its prominence and subsequent fall. He argues that we must reconceive the process by which strategies are created — by emphasizing informal learning and personal vision — and the roles that can be played by planners. Mintzberg proposes new and unusual definitions of planning and strategy, and examines in novel and insightful ways the various models of strategic planning and the evidence of why they failed. Reviewing the so-called "pitfalls" of planning, he shows how the process itself can destroy commitment, narrow a company's vision, discourage change, and breed an atmosphere of politics. In a harsh critique of many sacred cows, he describes three basic fallacies of the process — that discontinuities can be predicted, that strategists can be detached from the operations of the organization, and that the process of strategy-making itself can be formalized.

Mintzberg devotes a substantial section to the new role for planning, plans, and planners, not inside the strategy-making process, but in support of it, providing some of its inputs and sometimes programming its outputs as well as encouraging strategic thinking in general. This book is required reading for anyone in an organization who is influenced by the planning or the strategy-making processes.


Includes bibliographical references (p. [417]-443) and index.

About the Author

Henry Mintzberg is a visiting professor at INSEAD in France and a two-time winner of the prestigious McKinsey Award for the best Harvard Business Review article. A fellow of the Royal Society of Canada — the first fellow elected from a management faculty — he is the author of several seminal books including Mintzberg on Management (Free Press, 1989).

Table of Contents



A Note to the Reader

Introduction: The "Planning School" in Context

1 * Planning and Strategy

What Is Planning Anyway?

Why Plan (According to Planners)?

Jelinek's Case for Planning

And What Is Strategy?

Planners, Plans, and Planning

A Plan for This Book

2 * Models of the Strategic Planning Process

The Basic Planning Model

The Core "Design School" Model

Premises of the Design School

Premises of the Planning Literature

The Initial Ansoff Model

The Mainline Steiner Model

Decomposing the Basic Model

The Objectives-Setting Stage

The External Audit Stage

The Internal Audit Stage

The Strategy Evaluation Stage

The Strategy Operationalization Stage

Scheduling the Whole Process

A Missing Detail

Sorting Out the Four Hierarchies: Objectives, Budgets, Strategies, Programs

Hierarchy of Objectives

Hierarchy of Budgets

Hierarchy of Strategies

Hierarchy of Programs

The "Great Divide" of Planning

Forms of Strategic Planning

A. Conventional Strategic Planning

B. "Strategic Planning" as a Numbers Game

C. Capital Budgeting as Ad Hoc Control

3 * Evidence on Planning

Survey Evidence on "Does Planning Pay?"

Anecdotal Evidence

The General Electric FIFO Experience

Some Deeper Evidence

Sarrazin's Study of Exemplary Planning

Gomer's Study of Planning Under Crisis

Quinn's Findings on Planning Under "Logical


The McGill Research on "Tracking Strategies"

Koch's Study of the "Facade" of French Government Planning

Some Evidence on the PPBS Experience

Some Evidence on Capital Budgeting

Concluding the Deeper Evidence

Planners' Responses to the Evidence

Faith: "There is no problem"

Salvation: "It's the process that counts"

Elaboration: "Just you wait"

Reversion: "Back to basics"

Pitfalls: "Them not us"

4 * Some Real Pitfalls of Planning

Planning and Commitment

Commitment at the Top

Commitment Lower Down

"Decentralized" Planning

Planning and Freedom

Commitment Versus Calculation

Planning and Change

The Inflexibility of Plans

The Inflexibility of Planning

Planned Change as Incremental

Planned Change as Generic

Planned Change as Short Term

Flexible Planning: Wanting Things Both Ways

Planning and Politics

The Biases of Objectivity

The Goals Implicit in Planning

The Politics of Planning

Politics over Planning

Planning and Control

Obsession with Control

"Our age is turbulent, Chicken Little"

Strategic Vision and Strategic Learning

Illusion of Control?

Planning as Public Relations

5 * Fundamental Fallacies of Strategic Planning

Some Basic Assumptions Behind Strategic Planning

Missing Taylor's Message

The Fallacy of Predetermination

The Performance of Forecasting

The Forecasting of Discontinuities

Forecasting as Magic

Forecasting as Extrapolation

Forecasting and "Turbulence"

The Dynamics of Strategy Formation

Forecasting as Control (and Planning as Enactment)

Scenarios Instead of Forecasts

Contingency Planning Instead of Deterministic


The Fallacy of Detachment

Seeing the Forest And the Trees

The Soft Underbelly of Hard Data

The Detachment of Planners from Strategy Making

The Detachment of Managers Who Rely on Planning from Strategy Making

Learning About Strengths and Weaknesses

"Marketing Myopia" Myopia

Attaching Formulation to Implementation

Connecting Thinking and Acting

The Fallacy of Formalization

The Failure of Formalization

Was Formalization Ever Even Tried?

The Analytical Nature of Planning

Intuition Distinguished

Do the Hemispheres Have Minds of Their Own?

Simon's Analytical View of Intuition

Flipping Intuition Across to Analysis

Planning on the Left Side and Managing on the Right

The Image of Managing

The Grand Fallacy

6 * Planning, Plan, Planners

Coupling Analysis and Intuition

The Planning Dilemma

Comparing Analysis and Intuition

Analysis and Intuition in Strategy Making

A Strategy for Planning

"Soft" Analysis

Role of Planning: Strategic Programming

Step 1: Codifying the Strategy

Step 2: Elaborating the Strategy

Step 3: Converting the Elaborated Strategy

Conditions of Strategic Programming

First Role of Plans: Communication Media

Second Role of Plans: Control Devices

Strategic Control

First Role of Planners: Finders of Strategy

Logic in Action

Desperately Seeking Strategies

Unconventional Planners

Second Role of Planners: Analysts

Strategic Analysis for Managers

External Strategic Analysis

Internal Strategic Analysis and the Role of Simulation

Scrutinization of Strategies

Third Role of Planners: Catalysts

Opening Up Strategic Thinking

Role for Formalization

The Formalization Edge

Simons's Interactive Control

Playing the Catalyst Role

The Planner as Strategist

A Plan for Planners

A Planner for Each Side of the Brain

Planners in Context

Forms of Organizations

Strategic Programming in the Machine Organization

Right- and Left-Handed Planners in the Machine


Strategic Programming Under Other Conditions

Strategic Analysis in the Professional Organization

Planning and Analysis in the Adhocracy Organization

Minimal Roles in the Entrepreneurial Organization

Performance Control in the Diversified Organization

Planning Under Politics and Culture

Planning in Different Cultures



About the Author

Product Details

Mintzberg, Henry
Free Press
New York :
Management Science
Systems & Planning
Strategic planning
Management - General
business, business plans
Series Volume:
no. 8
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9.25 x 6.12 in 24.115 oz
Age Level:

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