Strategic Safari: The Need for a More Viable Planning Process Has Motivated Some Educators to Explore Future-Based Planning as a Way to Initiate and Sustain Organizational Change

By Mylen, Jean | Leadership, January-February 2002 | Go to article overview

Strategic Safari: The Need for a More Viable Planning Process Has Motivated Some Educators to Explore Future-Based Planning as a Way to Initiate and Sustain Organizational Change


Mylen, Jean, Leadership


Over the past two decades, there have been many calls for fundamental change in public education. School administrators across the nation have faced ever-increasing pressures to undergo systemic organizational change in response to accountability mandates, brittle budgets and staggering technological advances. State and federal mandates increasingly require accountability for results. At the local level, parents and other community constituencies continually question the effectiveness of programs, policies and procedures.

Ten years ago it was the hope of many educational institutions that a strategic planning process would bring the future into focus by outlining an "ideal vision" that both the individual, staff members and the organization could embrace. The rationale for using this strategic planning model in schools was the importance of developing long-range plans to better control the future and increase productivity in the present (Capon, Farley and Hulbert, 1994).

Most school districts today have tried to implement some form of long-range planning. However, evaluations of these strategic planning processes suggest that principals and teachers did not pick up the plan and implement it after its completion. Many felt little real ownership in its development or involvement with its implementation steps (Mather, 1998).

Organizational development experts suggest that traditional strategic planning as practiced still merely affirms the present (Cutright, 1997). Strategic planning is seen by futurists and organizational change experts as a rational process in a world that is seldom rational or linear (Harvey and Bearley, 1998).

Current disillusionment with traditional strategic planning has motivated some educators to explore chaos theory and strategic thinking as concepts that leaders should use to plan and develop ongoing organizational change efforts. These theories have captured the imagination of many scientists (Gleick, 1987; Waldrop, 1992).

Future-based planning

The principles of chaos theory and self-organization have also piqued the interest of organizational development consultants and educators as concepts they can use to frame future-based planning processes in organizations. This need for a more viable planning process has propelled many organizations to replace traditional methods of strategic planning with future-based planning methods based on theories from systems thinking (Sanders, 1998). These newer, future-based planning processes claim to change the nature of organizational development and of organizational decision-making. Advocates also claim that they help to sustain change efforts.

Leadership in the new era

The new science that defines complexity and chaos theory asserts that organizations today must become shifting clusters of self-controlled, autonomous units that constantly adapt to a turbulent environment. The old leadership was good for mechanistic strategies for initiating change, but the new leadership must give up their old role as "captains of commerce to become economic gardeners of organic systems" (Halal, 1998).

Employers of tomorrow likely will place a much higher value on listening and communication skills, on collaborative learning capabilities, and on critical thinking and systems thinking skills. This is because most work is increasingly interdependent, dynamic and global.

Today's educational environment requires leaders to have the emotional and intellectual capacity to be flexible enough for continuous change no matter what their job or position. Experts in planning suggest that this new type of educational leader will also need to develop strategic intent, plan strategically, and be an expert in strategic change.

The new planning paradigm

Historically in the United States, educational organizations have directed most of their improvement efforts at redesigning technical systems -- for example, technology in the workplace. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Strategic Safari: The Need for a More Viable Planning Process Has Motivated Some Educators to Explore Future-Based Planning as a Way to Initiate and Sustain Organizational Change
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.