Systematic Review: Strategic Planning

Systematic Review: Strategic Planning

Learn which of the four strategic planning approaches will help your business build a shared vision for a sustainable future. 
NBS December 14, 2017

How can businesses create a shared vision for a sustainable future?

Planning for the future is an essential part of business leadership, but traditional approaches to planning are limited in their ability to tackle current challenges. Greater change and complexity make it more difficult to project the future accurately, and problems increasingly require collaboration across multiple stakeholders.

In 2013, business leaders in South Africa asked: “How can businesses engage in strategic planning that is linked to a shared vision for a sustainable future?” They wanted to understand how to integrate South Africa’s National Development Plan into the strategies of private and public sector organizations. In response, NBS South Africa (NBS-SA) commissioned Dr Martina Linnenluecke, Dr Retha de Villiers Scheepers, Mr Sarel Grönum, and Ms. Chanel Venter to study research on strategic planning. The researchers reviewed 195 academic and industry sources.

Download the full 100+ page Systematic Review for an in-depth look at the research project. A condensed version of the Systematic Review is available as an Executive Report

Determining the Right Fit

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to planning. Research identifies four dominant planning approaches in business: projection, adaptation, visionary planning (shaping the future) and transformation.

The research recommends that organizations ask three questions before choosing the planning approach that best fits them.

Four Planning Approaches

Depending on the answers to the questions above, organizations can choose between four planning approaches. These approaches ­differ from each other along two dimensions: 1) how engaged the organization is in influencing the future, and 2) how predictable future outcomes are.

Figure 1. Four Planning Approaches

A Framework for Planning for a Shared Vision

The resulting framework is outlined below. The centre of the figure shows the four planning approaches (see white box). Each 
is associated with particular planning tools (see dark blue). All are situated within a context of regulations, norms, and organization-level strategies, as well as underlying belief systems. This context influences managers’ choices. In turn, managers may influence this context through stakeholder engagement and collaboration.

Figure 2. Planning for a Shared Vision: Approaches, Mechanisms, and Techniques

 What's Included in this Report


Systematic Review
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Related Resources

Executive Report

Planning for the future is essential to leadership. So how can businesses engage in strategic planning to create a shared vision for a sustainable future?