Planning is required in every business, whether small or large.

It is important as it helps the organization anticipate future events.

However, planning has the following limitations:

1. Planning takes time: Planning involves the collection of data, analysis of data, forecasting, and interpretation of data.

All of this takes up a lot of time, making planning unsuitable in emergencies where quick decisions are necessary.

2. Planning is costly: Although planning is only one of management's functions, it is a large process.

This means that the organization would have to spend a lot of money collecting, analyzing and interpreting data, which makes planning expensive

To ensure that planning is truly worthwhile, Koontz and O'Donnell suggested that  "Expenses on planning should never exceed the estimated benefits from planning"

3. Planning creates rigidity: Plan is the result of planning.

A plan provides a framework that the organisation must follow to achieve its objectives.

While plans are meant to be flexible in theory, most plans aren't flexible in practice.

They are mostly rigid as they don't adapt to changing circumstances.

This may cause all sorts of problems for the organization, especially if it operates in a dynamic environment

4. Planning may limit creativity: In planning, the objective and the steps to take to achieve these objectives are already pre-determined.

This means that everyone must follow instructions and follow the plan exactly as it is written.

It implies strict compliance to laid down plans since subordinates cannot add their innovation because it could be misconstrued as a deviation from the plan

This limits creativity as it prevents people from coming up with fresh ways to complete a task.

"Planning strangulates the initiative of employees and compels them to work inflexibly," says George Terry

5. Too much paperwork is involved in planning: As plans are made and remade, there is a lot of paperwork involved in planning.

Top management and subordinates are given copies of the finalized plans, which necessitates more paperwork.

This is one of the factors that contribute to the high cost of planning.

6. Planning may be misdirected: Plans are made by individuals, who have their interests, likes and dislikes, all of which are reflected in the plans they make.

Furthermore, planning may be used to serve individual interests rather than organisational interests.

This goes against one of the fourteen principles of management: the subordination of individual interest to organisation interest

7. Danger of setting unrealistic goals: Some organizations set goals that are nearly impossible to achieve.

This can be frustrating, especially if the manager makes every effort but still falls short of the target.

A manager may also lose motivation as a result of this, as he may believe he has failed.

8. Dangers of setting small objectives: In planning, Some organizations set objectives too easy to achieve.

They set small targets which can be easily reached. Setting small targets can reduce managers' expectations of subordinates, resulting in underperformance and slow organizational growth.

9. Planning is based on future events: planning relies on forecasts, which are nothing more than educated guesses or estimates about the future.

Due to the uncertainty of the future, these estimates may prove to be erroneous.

Any change in the anticipated events can render planning ineffective and useless.

10. Planning is prone to human errors and wrong forecasts: Managers must have sufficient experience before forecasting.

If managers lack experience, they're likely to make inaccurate forecasts and predictions.

And any plans made from wrong forecasts will certainly fail.

Moreover, even the most experienced managers make errors while forecasting and planning.

Thus, there is always the possibility of human errors in planning.

It has even been argued that no manager can accurately predict future events because the future is always uncertain

11. Planning does not guarantee success: Drawing up a plan isn't a 100 per cent guarantee for success.

Many executives believe that putting a plan in place will solve all problems in the organization and ensure their company's success.

This is not the case, as the success of any plan hinges on its execution.

Thus, if plans are not effectively implemented, the organization will almost certainly fail.

Even so, plans must be flexible enough to adapt to any changes in the business environment otherwise, they will fail.

12. Plan is dependent on the competence of the planner: No plan can be better than the competence of the planner.

Planning necessitates a set of skills that aren't present in everyone.

Not everyone can make a good plan. But, those who plan must be knowledgeable and possess certain skills.

However, if the planner lacks these skills, the plan is bound to fail.

13. External constraints can limit planning: Political, economic, social, technological factors and legal factors are external factors that can limit planning.

These factors are beyond the control of the planner.

A significant change in any of these factors may render the plan useless.

For example, if there is a change in government policies that negatively affect the company, then an existing plan would have to be adjusted, otherwise, it would become ineffective.


Despite these limitations, planning is still considered a very important function of management.

This is because it helps us anticipate future events and makes plans to address them.

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