Strategic Planning in University Athletic Departments in the United Kingdom

By Kriemadis, Thanos | The Sport Journal, Spring 2009 | Go to article overview

Strategic Planning in University Athletic Departments in the United Kingdom


Kriemadis, Thanos, The Sport Journal


Private and public organizations today use a structured planning process to select appropriate long-term objectives and develop means to achieve these objectives (Christensen, Berg, Salter, & Stevenson, 1985; Elkin, 2007; Mintzberg, Lampel, Quinn, & Ghoshal, 2003; Wheelen & Hunger, 2008). The business sector of society has long recognized that continued profitability requires maintaining a strategic fit between organizational goals and capabilities and changing societal and economic conditions. As its environment changed, the business sector developed planning systems which made possible coordinated and effective responses to increasing unpredictability, novelty, and complexity (Ansoff, 1984). Strategic thought and practice generated in the private sector can also help public and nonprofit organizations anticipate and respond effectively to their dramatically changing environments (Bank, 1992; Bryson, 1988; David, 1989; Duncan, 1990; Espy, 1988; Laycock, 1990; Medley, 1988; Nelson, 1990; Robinson, 1992; Wilson, 1990).

Today's colleges and universities have experienced rapid change. Educational administrators are confronted with changes associated with aging facilities, changing technology, changing demographics, increasing competition, rising costs, funding cuts, and so on. The educational sector has begun to recognize that strategic planning is necessary in order to maintain responsiveness to the rapidly changing environment (Agwu, 1992; Busler, 1992; Hall, 1994; Williams, 1992). Since athletic programs are so much a part of colleges and universities, athletic departments face the same problems as do the institutions to which they belong. If athletic departments are to respond well to change, they must anticipate it and adapt programs and resources to meet their mission and objectives in new situations (Bucher, 1987; Kriemadis, Emery, & Puronaho, 2001). Strategic planning may help athletic departments do this and may further point them to the strategies necessary to achieve their missions and objectives (Dyson, Manning, Sutton, & Migliore, 1989; Ensor, 1988; Gerson, 1989; Kriemadis, 1997; Smith, 1985; Sutton & Migliore, 1988). Duncan (1990) stated that strategic planning is a method of decision making developed in the private sector that has been adopted by public sector organizations. Proponents of strategic planning argue that traditional long-range planning fails in the contemporary world, and strategic planning is now the powerful tool for organizations to cope with an uncertain future.

The service sector today includes a growing nonprofit segment, including social services, schools and universities, research organizations, sports organizations, religious orders, parks, museums, and charities. Strategic planning is earning its place in the management systems of service businesses (Kriemadis, 1997; Kriemadis et al., 2001; Sutton & Migliore, 1988; Wilson, 1990). Pearce and Robinson (1985) have argued that strategic planning consists of the following steps:

1. Determining the culture, policies, values, vision, mission, and long-term objectives of the organization.

2. Performing external environmental assessment to identify key opportunities and threats.

3. Performing internal environmental assessment to identify key strengths and weaknesses.

4. Developing long-range strategies to achieve the organization's mission and objectives.

5. Establishing short-range objectives and strategies to achieve the organization's long-range objectives and strategies, a process called strategy implementation.

6. Periodically measuring and evaluating performance, a review known as strategy evaluation.

Steps 1-4 together are referred to as strategy formulation.

A number of authors (Ansoff & McDonell, 1990; Barry, 1986; Bryson, Freeman, & Roering, 1986; Bryson, Van de Ven, & Roering, 1987; Elkin, 2007; Kotler, 1988; Mintzberg et al.

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