Analyzing the Importance of Strategic Planning in Organizational Success


The UK grocery sector is very competitive and it is experiencing a number of changes. The emergence of the discount stores, online shopping, price war, and low volume sales has affected the profitability and market share of the companies in the industry. The changing consumer behavior such decline in the weekly shopping from the out of town supermarket and home delivery of Grocery items has changed the operation and practices of the retail industry (Ruddick, 2015). The goal is understand the Importance of Strategic Planning in Organizational Success.

Faulkner and Campbell (2016) explained that in such complex and dynamic business environment, strategic planning is an important activity for the company to survive in the market as well as maintain the competitive advantage. Strategic analysis is a process examining and researching the environment of the business in which company operates and useful to develop the strategy of the company.

Williamson et al (2013) added that the linkage of the strategic planning and its contribution to the long-term success of the company has become the main area of focus because without it the company may endanger its survival. The range of issues surrounded the UK grocery retail are financial performance, organizational change and diversification has become relevant to companies (Bensoussan and Fleisher, 2016).

Strategic planning is present at the core of the company and it is considered as the backbone of a business. It is believed that strategic planning helps the company to cope with changing market environment and address the challenges (Grant, 2015).

The objectives of the strategic planning either formal or informal are that each functional area of the company performs well and it achieves the competitive advantage. Strategic planning is the outcome in terms of function areas based on the bargaining process of the company. Ansoff (1991) and Mintzberg, (1990a) discuss that what role strategic planning in an organization. The approach deploy for planning also plays an important role and the outcome of the methodology and process have a direct impact on the long-term future and success of the organization in terms of achievement of the objectives (Alanen et al., 2014).

Bensoussan and Fleisher (2013) explained that the distinguish factors are that how companies use strategic planning to its advantages in terms of identification of new opportunities and improve the efficiency and productivity which is vital for the business development and growth of the organization. Strategy development is fundamental for an organization and it is difficult to image an organization without any business strategy. In fact, strategic management is widely used the tool of the strategic management which is useful to analyze the internal and external environment of the organization and develop processes based on the strategy (Freeman, 2015).

Consequently, Bensoussan and Fleisher (2012) added that strategic planning is concerned with the overall support of the strategy of the organization. This implies the rational to investigate how companies conduct the strategic planning and how does it helps the companies to achieve the long-terms success. The aim will be achieved through studying the ‘three big players’ of the markets by examining and analyzing how these companies conduct the strategic planning.

The research will help to understand the strategic planning theory through Strategic lenses and secondly; the study will examine how they actually strategic planning process is managed in the Grocery retailing sector (Hill, Jones and Schilling, 2014).

Problem Statement

The UK retail grocery retailers are facing changing in the industry and customer. The rise of the discount stores has results in price has resulted in price war. The competition is stiff in the market number of stores available for the customers. Another prominent factor is availability of the low price discount items over the internet, new conveniences stores and price deflation has changed the face of the UK grocery sector (Faulkner and Campbell, 2015).

This has effect the profitability and sales of the company along with changes in the market share. The changing landscape has increased the need of the strategic planning for the company to address and overcome these challenges. Therefore, it is important that companies manage the process of strategic planning in efficient manner to ensure the long-term success and growth of the company (Kaynak, Mockler and Dologite, 2014).

Despite the fact, retailing companies conduct and manage the process of the strategic analysis to ensure the cope with external internal and align their internal capabilities. However, the fundamental question remains is that despite the planning; some companies are more successful than other.  The study conducted by Tiem, Moseley and Dessinger, (2012) shows that strategic planning is considered as two faces practice.

On one side, it is believed that strategic planning lies at the heart and core of the organization. On the other hand, the practice and procedure of strategic planning remain unclear and companies conduct the planning the believe suit their business environment. Therefore, it is important to examine theoretical perspective of the strategic planning as well as actual application of the strategic planning process in the organization (Tiem, Moseley and Dessinger, 2015).

Research Aims and objectives

In this study, the importance of the strategic planning from theoretical and application perspective will be studied and how strategic planning contributes to the success of the organization. The aim of this research is two folded; first the research will examine the theoretical perspective of strategic planning by examining the theory through Strategic lenses and secondly; the study will examine how actually strategic planning process is managed in the Grocery retailing sector.

The aim will be achieved through studying the ‘three big players’ of the markets by examining and analyzing how these companies conduct the strategic planning. Moreover, the research will examine the variation and process of planning between the companies to examine the purpose of the planning and its contribution towards the success of the organization (Wilson, 2015).

Research objectives

The purpose of the research is analyzed and evaluates the important of Strategic Planning in Organizational Success. Therefore, it will be examine that how theoretical and application of strategic planning vary and in the organizations and how it contribute to long-term success and growth of the company (Zikmund et al., 2015).

  1. To analyze the theoretical perspective on strategic planning theory through Strategic theory lenses
  2. To understand how strategic planning process is managed the UK food retail companies
  3. To establish the importance of the strategic planning process in achievement of company objectives
  4. To recognize the role of strategic planning process in the organization success

Research questions

The research question will attempt to answer the following questions such

  • The process of co-ordination in companies in their strategic planning (formal or informal)
  • The purpose of the strategic planning system in the organization and its linkage methodology with corporate strategy
  • How companies co-ordinate during strategic planning processes
  • Features and Characteristic of the strategic planning system in each company
  • Do companies scan and integrate the new opportunities for business development

Literature Review

The strategy is defined as a course of action to achieve specific objectives. Strategic planning is concerned with the process of defining the strategy of the organization, setting its direction, the decision on the allocation of the resources to achieve the objectives of the organization. In other words, strategic planning is concerned with achieving the future desired state of the organization through translating vision of into goals and objectives (Aaker, 2013).

Roney (2014) explained that the strategic analysis is concerned with the analysis the internal and external environment of the organization which is useful to achieve set the strategic plan for an organization and aligns resources with objectives of the organization. The planning in an organization is managed at three phases which include long-term plan, mid to long term plans as well as short term plans.

Therefore, the strategic process starts with developing and setting organizational aims and goals, devising strategies to achieve those plans and ultimately converting those strategies into actions (Hill and Jones, 2012).

The three Prescriptive school of thoughts on strategy formulation are the design school which view strategy formulation as formal process, planning school which consider strategy formulation as conceptual process and position school which consider strategy formulation as analytical process. Under these three schools strategy is considered as formal planning with clear functional responsibilities along with high level of quantitative analysis (Mintzberg et al., 2005).

Volberda and Elfring (2016) added that the descriptive school of the strategy formulation defines the process of strategy formulation as a flexible informal process. The entrepreneurial school considers the strategy formulation as a visionary process, learning school define strategy as an emergent process, cultural school define strategy as ideological process and environmental school explain strategy formulation as a passive process.

In the light of the light of the Descriptive schools, the strategy is flexible process and contributions are made on the basis of the know-how rather the function. The strategy formulation process is learned over time and it allows the flexibility to adapt to the external business environment. The continuous scanning of the environment helps to identify the new procedure to improve efficiency and focus are given to qualitative statement rather quantitative elements (Faulkner and Campbell, 2015).

Robbins et al (2013) stated that the business environment has an important role in the strategic planning of the organization. The strategic analysis of the external business environment is dominant because of the globalization, increase competition and complexity of the business operations.  Therefore, conducting strong strategic analysis is the first step towards developing an effective and efficient business strategy to achieve the objectives of the organization. The uncertainty of the modern business environment has resulted in changes in the strategic analysis sand process such as scenario planning and innovation is important to avoid the strategic drift.

In case of the uncertainty, it is crucial that top management act as a moderator between the strategic planning and achievement of the objectives of the organization. The strong strategic provide a strong foundation for the strategic planning of the organization and companies can allocate the effective the human capital and efficient deployment of financial resources (Hubner, Kuhn and Sternbeck, 2014).

According to Mintzberg et al (2015), there are different recommendations available how strategic planning should done in an organization. The planning should a simple process of creating strategies but rather is should be considered as the process of the analyzing the external environment to gather data and information and create a vision for the company.

According to Wolf and Floyd (2016) strategic planning is based on effective strategic analysis of the internal and external capabilities and, therefore, it should support the overall strategy of the organization. These two views consider strategic planning as an important component of devising the corporate strategy. Nevertheless, these traditional approaches have problems associated with them. The uncertainty, timing as well as the time taken to complete the plans would be cumbersome and turbulent environment may outdate the plans very quickly.

According to Jarzabkowski and Kaplan, (2015), strategic planning is concerned with the process of creating a competitive advantage for the organization but it is not concerned with creating corporate strategies. The focus of the strategic planning is to develop strong understanding of the business process, share and discuss the ideas and agree on the assumptions which are important to achieving the objectives of the organization. Therefore, planning has fundamental role in an organization which can help the managers to make a strong decision during the period of uncertainty and turbulence business environment to achieve long-term success and growth.

Montgomery (2015) explained that the two approach examine in the study to examine the strategic planning process include the resource-based view and institutional theory. In the light of the porter generic strategy is that the purpose of the organization is to create competitive advantage through effective planning and resource alignment. The analysis of the firm internal capabilities and strengths are a core component of the resource based view.

The company adopts an inside-out approach to delivering what customers value. The critics of the Resource-based view argue that it is statics in nature and can be eroded when a competitor made similar offering. On the hand, the favored argument for the resource based view is that it can be a source of competitive advantage for years as competitors cannot copy it (Faludi, 2013).

Moreover, the institutional theory is concern with question such as why organization resembles to each other and structure and practices diffusion throughout the setting of the organization. According to Kenny (2012) study shows positive linkage between the strategic planning and performance of the organization. Their research concluded that firms with formal planning have better results compare to firm who follow the guess work. Moreover, strategic analysis helps to evaluate the opportunities and threats for an organization along with alignment of resources and control mechanism (Kaynak, Mockler and Dologite, 2014).

The contingency model presented by the Mintzberg and Lampel (2012) suggest that there is positive relationship between the strategic planning process of the organization and the achievement of its objectives. Organization with planning can address the turbulent and uncertainty of the business environment.

According Alanen et al (2014), formal planning is best solution for the stable business environment whereas the unstable and turbulence business environment should be address through informal business planning. Therefore, the relationship between the planning and organization does exist and companies with efficient planning system perform better. Nevertheless, the ultimate success is based on the effectiveness of plan and choice of planning procedure based on the internal capabilities and external environment of business. It states that organizations react to internal changes and external environment but the difference exist on strategic planning and locus of control (Daft, 2015).

Research Methodology

According to Creswell (2013), research methodology is concerned with research design as well as a methodology for data collection. The success of the research depends upon the design of the research. The purpose of the research is to examine the importance strategic planning process and linkage with organizational success, therefore, the case study approach is deployed to analyze the scenario. The benefit offered by the case study approach is the flexibility it offers in terms of analyzing the problem in the wider context (Blatter and Haverland, 2015).

The research will deploy the inductive as well as a deductive reason to analyze the issue. The inductive reasoning advantage is that it more open-end and exploratory in nature. This will help to analyze the problem in a wider context in the beginning. (Babbie, 2015)

On the other hand, deductive reasoning is rather specific in nature which is useful to test the hypothesis and confirm the scenario. Moreover, comparative research will be used to compare the three big players to analyze the strategic planning process at three companies. The comparative research involves comparison of two or more different scenario to explore and discover the thing. The benefit offered by comparative research is the flexibility offered by this methodology because no rigid process or framework is associated with research. Therefore, a comparative case study will be used to explore the process of the strategic planning (Yin, 2013).

Silverman (2013) explained that qualitative research is highlight the social construct enclosed in nature and the relationship between the variables becomes clearer when the problem is studied directly. Qualitative research is used to explore the problem because it is useful to examine and understand the human actions inherent in the situation. A qualitative study is useful to develop an understanding on the social event and inductive reason help to explore the problem.

The qualitative approach helps to study the variables and concept as well as to study the relationship between the variables. The flexible nature of the qualitative makes it perfect to understand the human behavior and interaction with the environment to understand the process of strategic planning (Matthews and Ross, 2014).

The use of the qualitative research will help to observe the uncontrollable variables during the research. The exploratory nature of the study can be best managed through semi-structure interviews to unfold the implicit phenomena which would be possible to examine through a questionnaire or deploying the quantitative research.

According to Yin (2013), the comparative multiple case study method will allow overcoming the inconsistencies of the finding and it will help to provide more insight into theory development. The case study will help to understand and analyze the ‘why’ and ‘how’ scenario and finding of the case study are much more useful for the academic as well as the practitioners. The multiple case selections will help to understand the variation in the strategic analysis as well as understand the similarities. (Stake, 2013)

comparative multiple case study method

Therefore, multiple case analyses will highlight the variations and invariance’s and the contextual analysis may provide some useful insights which may be possible with a single case study.  The three implications during the research which are construct validity, internal validity and external validity will be managed to ensure the reliability and validity of the data. The construct validity will be managed through using the multiple case study and triangulation of the data. The internal validity is achieved through matching the patterns and clear research guidelines as well as external validity is achieved cross case analysis (Miles, Huberman and Saldana, 2013).

The data will be collected in multiple stages for the research. The inductive nature will allow to apply the less learn from one stage to the next stage. The information understood through inductive reasoning will help to improve the information in the further analysis. The data will be collected through semi-structure interviews. (Matthews and Ross, 2014)

The primary and secondary source of data for the research will be in-depth interviews and documentary (contextual analysis). The secondary data will be managed through exploring the report, documentaries, press release, industry analysis as well as a range of articles published on the strategic issues of the companies. The extensive research through secondary will help to understand the current planning practices of the company so that during interview researcher have deep understanding and on the same level with the interviewee. The data inconsistencies can be managed through triangulations and the questions in the interview will be open-end questions. (Sapsford and Jupp, 2016)



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