FEATURES OR CHARACTERISTICS OF PLANNING

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Planning is the systematic process of determining the organization's objectives and choosing the best course of action in advance to reach the objectives

The features of planning are decision-making, futuristic, primary function of management, pervasiveness and intellectual process.

1. Planning involves decision-making: Planning entails selecting the best course of action from among the numerous alternatives that an organization may be presented with.

Planning, therefore, entails selecting, from among the many alternatives, the optimal course of action needed to accomplish the goals of the company while keeping in mind the resources available to the company.

2. Planning is a primary function: Planning is a primary management function because it is performed before organizing, staffing, controlling and other functions of management.

Another reason planning is considered the primary function is that it serves as the basis of other functions of management. 

This is so because, if the activities of the organization are not carefully planned for, it will be difficult to effectively organize, staff, coordinate, lead, and control the resources of the organization

3. Planning is an intellectual process: Planning requires creative thinking and good judgment. 

Hence, it is a mental and intellectual process. Planning is not just guesswork. It involves lots of rational decision-making and calls for sound judgment.

4. Planning is continuous: Planning is a process that never ends and lasts as long as the organization does.

Planning is done for a predetermined amount of time, after which it is assessed and reassessed in light of fresh uncertainty and new changes in the business environment.

Planning does not end. Even after all the activities of a plan have been executed, a new plan is usually created for the furtherance of the objective of the business.

Hence, planning is a never-ending process.

5. Planning is pervasive: Planning encompasses all activities of the organisation. Hence, it is pervasive.

Also, planning a required at all levels of management. Planning is not just required by top-level management, planning is required by middle-level management and lower-level management.

Long-term planning is typically done by top-level management for the entire organization.

Middle-level management typically develops medium-term plans for particular organizational departments.

Lower-level management typically makes short-term plans for all of the organization's operational activities.

6. Planning is goal-oriented: Planning is the systematic process of identifying the objectives of the organisation and determining the best course of action to achieve the objectives.

Planning is a goal-oriented process since it seeks to accomplish the goals and objectives of the organization.

Planning identifies the set of activities required to accomplish the objectives of the organisation and ensures that the objectives are achieved quickly and efficiently.

7. Planning is forward-looking: Planning is a forward-looking activity as it is usually done for the future.

No wonder Koontz and O'Donnell defined planning as  "deciding in advance what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and who should do it".

Planning entails looking into the uncertain future, thus it is a forward-looking activity and not a backwards-looking activity.

8. Dynamic: Planning is dynamic because it is constantly examined and modified to take into account the changing business environment.

The variables that influence planning are dynamic. Plans must therefore be flexible enough to adapt to changes in these variables.

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