ERIC Number: ED400748
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-May
Fact or Fiction: The Relevance of the Strategic Planning Literature to Planning Practices at Small Colleges and Universities.
This report presents the results of a qualitative research study at three small independent colleges/universities on how literature-based strategic planning models compare with actual practices. Four critical aspects of strategic planning were identified: first, dealing with the future; second, understanding the organization's external environment; third, identifying current organizational strengths; and, fourth, using information gathered to make appropriate decisions. The study then focused on five institutional aspects of planning: (1) creation of strategic planning models; (2) how strategic planning is defined operationally; (3) planning activities used in the process; (4) the role of the institution's president; and (5) the outcomes, both intended and unintended, of the planning strategies. The research involved three steps: selecting the institutions, selecting interviewees, and acquiring data. The study showed that, generally, small institutions did not use strategic planning in a manner consistent with the literature, and also that all of them neglected to implement, or did so at a marginal level, the planning activities of providing on-going feedback regarding the status of plan implementation and evaluation of goal implementation and outcomes. Another finding was that while strategic planning was generally created in response to a management crisis, the degree of effort was generally a reflection of the president's commitment. The study concludes that while strategic planning is important, literature-based practices should be adapted to the needs of small colleges. Appendices list attributes of strategic planning and the interview questions. (Contains 39 references.) (CH)
Descriptors: Higher Education, Institutional Environment, Institutional Research, Interviews, Long Range Planning, Models, Organizational Climate, Organizational Objectives, Policy Formation, Program Administration, Program Evaluation, Qualitative Research, Strategic Planning, Theory Practice Relationship
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Forum of the Association of Institutional Research (35th, Boston, MA, May 1996).