Stanford B. Michael Business & Planning Analyst Houston, Texas
Linn C. Stuckenbruck, Institute of Safety & Systems Management University of Southern California Ph.D. Los Angeles, California
"A good plan may be no more than a list of jobs scribbled on the back of a cigarette packet -- if it is helpful as an action guide." 1
Planning is the most basic function of management, that of determining a course of action. Logically it should precede the other management functions of organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling. However, planning is more than just setting the stage; since all the management functions intermesh, planning is an on-going process which involves continuous updating and revision. It is also very important to have a continuous communication of planning information throughout the organization to assure control of the plan. A very elaborate plan that no one knows about is worthless.
Planning is of the greatest importance since it involves focusing an organization on "an objective consideration of its future," 2 integrating futuristic thinking with careful analysis. Therefore, in planning, an organization makes implicit assumptions about its future so that it can take action today. The pur-