Nature and Characteristics of Planning



  1. Primacy of planning or primary function: .Planning is a primary function. That is, it is a primary requisite to the managerial functions of organizing, staffing directing, motivating, coordinating, communicating and controlling. A manager must do planning before he can undertake the other managerial functions.
  2. Goal-oriented or focus on objectives: Planning is goal-oriented. That is, planning is linked with certain goals or objectives. A plan starts with the setting of objectives; and then, develops policies, procedures, strategies, etc. to achieve the objectives.
  3. Pervasiveness of planning: Planning pervades all levels of management. That is planning is done at all levels of .management. In other words, every manager, whether he is at the top, in the middle or at the bottom or organizational structure, plans.
  4. Essentially a decision-making process: Planning is essentially a decision-making process, since it involves careful analysis of various alternative courses of action and choosing the best.
  5. Integrated process: Planning is an integrated process. That is it facilitates and integrates all other functions of management.
  6. Selective Process: Planning is a selective process. That is, it involves the selection of the best course of action after a careful analysis of the various alternative courses of action.
  7. Flexible: Planning must be flexible. That is, generally, the process of pi3nning must be capable of being adapted to the changes in the environment. In fact, successful planning should be flexible.
  8. Formation of premises: Planning requires the formation of premises (i.e., assumptions). It is only on the basis of premises or assumptions regarding the future (i.e., the future political, social and economic environments) that the plans will be ultimately formulated.
  9. Directed towards efficiency: The main purpose of planning is to increase the efficiency of the enterprise. That means, planning is directed to wards efficiency.
  10. Continuous Process: Planning is a continuous process. That is, the management has to keep itself engaged in planning at the times because ~f the uncertainties of the future.
  11. Planning and control are inseparable: Planning, which is looking ahead, and control, which Is looking back, are inseparable. They are the Siamese twins of management. Unplanned action cannot be controlled, for control involves keeping activities in course by correcting deviations from plans.
  12. Future Oriented: Planning is future-oriented. 1ts essence is looking ahead. It is undertaken to handle future events effective and achieve some objectives in the future.
  13. Action oriented: Planning is action-oriented. That is, planning should be undertaken in the light of organizational preferences. The course of action determined must be realistic. That is it should be neither impossible nor too easy to achieve.
  14. Inter-dependent process: Planning is an inter-dependent process. It requires the Co-operation of the various sections and sub-sections of the organization.
  15. Involves participation: Planning involves the participation of all the managers as well as the subordinates. In the words of Koontz and O’Donnell, “Plans must be formulated in an atmosphere of close participation and high degree of concurrence”.
  16. A means, and not an end: Planning is riot an end. It is only a means to achieve an end. i.e., the accomplishment of the pre-determined objectives or goals of the organization.
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