Academic journal article Business Education & Accreditation

Strategic Planning Dimensions in Italian Universities

Academic journal article Business Education & Accreditation

Strategic Planning Dimensions in Italian Universities

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The paper examines the strategic planning process in Italian Universities. We identify two macro strategic planning dimensions: one for the process and one for the plan substance. We create a synthetic indicator of plan and process quality. Based on quality of plan and process we create a cluster matrix of universities. We also conduct empirical research to determine if university size is correlated with quality of strategic planning. We find a positive correlation between university size and the process and plan quality.

JEL: L52, O21

KEYWORDS: Strategic Planning, Italy, University

INTRODUCTION

Strategic planning is an approach to plan the future for the university. Through strategic planning, resources are assigned to increase benefits to various stakeholders including students, employers and society. The tool of strategic planning is the plan that guides reallocation of resources. Formalized strategic planning develop in America during the 1950s, in the mid-1960s and throughout the 70s expanding to most large corporations (Mintzberg, 1 994). In public organizations strategic planning developed during the 1980s in Anglo-Saxons contest and during the 1990s in Italy. In higher education the idea was spreading knowledge was a target to be pursued independent from the costs incurred (Kelly and Shaw, 1987). Recently however, universities face funding reductions requiring them to optimize choices. Strategic planning assumes the key role for design the future path of the university (Shirley, 1983). In other words, it has become necessary for universities to define their mission, analyze their frontiers and identify eventual growth and improvement opportunities in a competitive setting. All this planning and programming autonomy would guarantee a successful result.

In the Italian university context, strategic planning has received strong support through a law (State Law 168/03/89). The law is designed to favor university autonomy and rationalization of the problem of scarce availability of resources (Rebora and Turn 2008; Borgonovi, 1996) and offer universities new planning possibilities in line with the new requirements. Adoption of new laws, as defined by article 1 ter of the Italian State Law n. 43/2005 represents a cornerstone of the new setting. It entrusts universities with the planning task and responsibility within the macro-areas of intervention ad defined by Ministry of Education and Research (MIUR).

The main purpose of this study is to analyze the strategic plans of public Italian universities, to identify the strengths and weaknesses of individual plans, and to provide a report on best practice. To identified strengths and weaknesses of individual plans we recognized two macro strategic planning dimensions: one for the process and one for the plan substance. We value a synthetic indicator of plan and process quality. We have adopted the Higher Education Management Review Committee's (Hoare Committee) and the English Higher Education Funding Council's (HEFCE, 2000) criteria as a way of evaluating the plans, and added to these our own judgment. While style is not as important as substance, the effectiveness of a plan can be influenced by its conciseness or verbosity and its precision or vagueness. Based on quality of plan and process we create a cluster matrix of universities.

The paper proceeds as follows. In the next section we briefly discuss the relevant literature on strategic planning in universities. In the third section we present legislative references. Data selection and research methodology are described in section four. In sections five and six we illustrate the dimension of strategic planning and analyze the empirical findings. We summarize our conclusion and research future perspectives in the final section.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Strategic planning is a relatively recent business innovation. An organization's strategic plan represents its planning at the highest level (Kotler et al. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.