About planning

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overview

… source 01 hasan ozbekhan, toward a general theory of planning … from wikipedia [About Hasan Ozbekhan]

… source 02 henry mintzberg, [strategy safari PDF] …

h ozbekhan – tentative conclusions

… a few comments should suffice now to bring these notes to a close …

… no full synthesis, testing or evaluation of either our assumptions or our hypotheses will be attempted at this point …

… to do this would amount to actually developing the substantive theory itself and would therefore transcend my original intention in bringing these notes together …

… that intention, it will be remembered, was to propose a number of new approaches that might suggest the kind of theoretical work which is needed in the field of planning and is perhaps overdue …

… it should also be remembered that my original intention was to develop approaches leading to a general theory …

… this will allow me to organize the descriptive conclusions we have so far reached around a minimum number of statements about planning, environment, purpose and plan …

… thus …

… "planning" can be defined in its greatest generality as a future-directed decision process …

… the fundamental characteristic of this process is that it is conscious and rational …

… it represents acting on some object, defined as environment …

… such action is undertaken for the purpose of effecting changes in the environment …

… planning, therefore, can be said to include the following: …

… (1) perception of the environment; …

… (2) definition of the purpose of the changes one wishes to effect in the environment; …

… (3) design of the acts whereby the environment will be altered …

… "environment" is a dynamic and complex ecosystem whose spatial and temporal characteristics are important for planning …

… any given moment in this ecosystem represents a situation, namely, a particular conjuncture of events having a specific configuration as well as a particular dynamic …

… it is by affecting such situations that people change their environment …

… "purpose" is defined as the intent that is intrinsic to planning action and gives it direction, …

… in planning the main purpose of action is to create controlled change in the environment …

… the reason for wanting change in the environment …

… is that complex dynamic situations tend toward increasing degrees of de-organization (ecological imbalance) unless higher order organizing activities are introduced …

… therefore, the purpose of affecting that situation through planning is either to solve the problems that inhere to the situation …

… or to improve the situation …

… or to establish a general control and dynamic over the environment so as to obtain organized progress within it …

… perception of a situation that is problematical, namely, in need of solutions or improvements or betterment …

… is a function of a given value system …

… for it is in terms of such a value system that judgments can be made as to the nature of the situation …

… values are the dominant commitments of society or the motivating preferences of an individual …

… they are operationally governed by rules or standards called norms …

… if a situation is recognized as problematical …

… it means that there exists a dissonance between the situation and the value system …

… - if planning is viewed as a problem-solving device …

… then the emphasis of action is to bring changes in the environment while leaving the value system untouched and thus to achieve consonance between the two …

… if planning is viewed as a continuous organization of progress throughout the environment …

… then it becomes necessary to effect changes in the value system as well as in the environment to achieve consonance between the two …

… changes in the value system are made by establishing new norms in the light of which values can be given new meaning …

… the redefinition of norms or the invention of new norms is part of planning activity …

… "plan" refers to an integrative hierarchically organized action construct in which various kinds of decisions are functionally ordered …

… there are three levels of functional relations between a plan and the environment: …

… (a) policy making functions which result in normative planning and are directed toward the search and establishment of new norms that will help define those values which will be more consonant with the problematic environment …

… in other words, normative planning occurs when the purpose of planning action is to change the value system in order to achieve the required consonance with the environment …

… the statements of normative planning are derived from values and defined in terms of "oughts" …

… (b) goal-setting functions which result in strategic plans …

… wherein various alternative ways of attaining the objectives of the normative plan are reduced to those goals …

… which can be achieved given the range of feasibilities involved …

… and the optimum allocation of available resources …

… (c) administrative functions which lead to operational …

… planning wherein the strategies that will be implemented are ordered in terms of the priorities, schedules, etc., that the situation dictates …

… operational planning is that part of the planning structure in terms of which changes in the environment are effected that are purely of a problem-solving nature …

… in other words, operational planning need not involve a consideration of value premises …

… the rather abstract and classificatory terms that i was forced to use throughout this paper …

… so as to be able to impose some shape upon the argument …

… have no doubt also caused me to oversimplify it …

… let me, therefore, mention some important points i have consciously avoided in order not to lose the main thread of the discussion …

… i have, for example, avoided the issue of power …

… the question of who will plan, implement plans, apply plans …

… although it is one of the central problems that confronts us …

… and if i am told that power is a "political" issue and therefore beyond the scope of the subject …

… my answer must be that i disagree …

… power is personal, social, institutional, situational …

… it is ecological in the very sense that i have used that term …

… power is at the heart of every argument with which planning is concerned …

… it represents control over one's life and control over one's environment …

… it would obviously be untrue to say that we have failed to develop many such controls in the societies of the west …

… we have; but we did so in relation to a single purpose which seems to have dominated all our strivings: the abolition of scarcity by means of mass production and the accumulation of wealth …

… to this end we channelled all our energies, fashioned all our institutions, subtly reordered all our priorities and values …

… it is into the meaning of this end that we cast all our hopes and all our notions of progress …

… it seems not to have occurred to us that abundance itself was but a way-station along the road …

… and that its very advent would confront us with all sorts of new problems for which everything we built, the wealth, the institutions, the political systems, the civilization would avail us little …

… because in some deep way they would be almost irrelevant …

… while their momentum would prevent us from thinking of new relevancies …

… yet it is these new relevancies that must define the shape of the future …

… new relevancies call for new values- not values to be predicted, but values to be created now …

… to have substance, these new values must be made operational within new institutions …

… new institutions cannot be invented of whole cloth, set up and told to get going …

… they have to evolve through change …

… such evolution requires that we design some responsiveness into our institutions …

… this, too, is an aspect of planning i have not touched …

… everything that i have attempted to say in these notes adds up to the conclusion that our future cannot be conceived of except in the form of a new and dangerous reality …

… created by population growth …

… changing and accelerating technology …

… a reversal of economic-metabolic relationships between man and nature …

… and the emergence of what more and more frequently is being called the "post-industrial age" …

… it is all this that creates the complexities and the uncertainties i spoke of at the beginning …

… by "all this" i mean this new world which we, the generation that is riding the wave of change …

… are finding so big, so strange, so alien and disquieting …

… it is my opinion that this situation will continue until what 1 have called planning, namely, the method of value analysis and formation, of policy generation, alternatives construction, choice, decision making and implementation, becomes understood as the core and method of social science …

… it is possible that many readers who are used to the hedged formulations of contemporary social science will find my approach in this essay assertive …

… to this i must answer that to state any fact is an assertion …

… it is an assertion to perceive something and to say that one has perceived it …

… i believe that the assertions i have made are beginning to be shared by an increasing number of concerned people throughout the world …

… although because the facts are new, because their consequences can only be inferred …

… one has to engage in a great deal of interpretation to make them intelligible …

… and if it is argued that i have given my interpretation too wide a social base …

… and, as a result, tended to slight the role of individual free will and individual decision-making in these weighty matters …

… then i shall have to answer that the criticism is well taken …

… and that i believe our problems to be primarily social in character …

… and if, finally, i am told that i have ignored the old, tested and proved motivations of personal self-interest on which most of our present success is built, in favor of some vague, protean, world-wide approach and view …

… then, i shall have to borrow answers from two sources and let each reader choose the one that is most meaningful to him …

… my first answer is taken from the american blacks who right now keep telling us: "look around, man!" …

… my alternative retort is a question that malraux has raised …

… a question that i, too, always end up asking: …

… "what do i care about what matters only to me? …