Limitations Of Planning

You have learnt the nature and importance of planning. Let us now discuss its limitations.

 

i)      Based on certain assumptions : Planning is based on certain assumptions or premises derived from forecasts about the likely behaviour or relevant future events and variables. If such assumptions or premises turn out to be wide off the mark, the very basis of plans get affected. Afterall, forecasting is not an exact science.

 



ii)    Incomplete information : The information needed for planning is often incomplete. It may not be available in time and its reliability tends to be doubtful. In several situations, managers are forced to make planning decisions on the basis of partial knowledge because of time lags and credibility gaps in information.

 

iii)   Lack of control : Managers have little knowledge and less control over several elements of external environment. There is often go way to bring external situations under the discipline of planning. Several external events tend to influence organisational activities and plans in random and perverse ways, as for example, natural calamities, sudden strikes, government policy changes, and so on.

 

iv)   Difficult to change with the changing environment : Planning, under conditions of rapid changes in the external environment tends to be a tough job. Plans would become quickly outdated and irrelevant even before they are implemented. Though flexible plans would be of some help under such conditions, there are also limits on injecting flexibility into organisational plans.

 

v)     Fluid process : Planning is essentially a fluid process in the sense that it is always in a state of flux. This is because of the march of the times and the subtle changes which characterise the future as it unfolds. Future is always a moving target. It is not easy to visualise an integrated and composite view of the past, present and future for planning purposes.

 

vi)   Delay in action : Since planning means thinking and deciding before doing things, it is likely to delay action. For one thing, thinking and deciding are somewhat slow intellectual exercises. Many managers may not have the time or taste for such exercises. For another, managers attach more importance to action and that too timely action wherein lies much activism and dynamism.

 

vii)  Rigidity : The plans produced through the planning process tend to introduce rigidity into the functioning of the organisation. Managers are likely to insist on strict compliance with pre-determined plans. This may sometimes mean foregoing new opportunities and better options. A faithful conformity with plans would stifle initiatives beyond the established ways and routines.

 

viii) Plans might remain on paper : At the other extreme, it is also likely that plans remain on paper as some sacred documents worthy to be respected and preserved are not followed or implemented. They may be far removed from realities such that managers regard them as “untouchables’. Alternatively, managers may be too busy in struggling with crises to find time for going along planned courses.

 

ix)   Difficult to implement at unit level : It may be easy to formulate broad plans at the corporate level. Problems are likely to arise when managers try to prepare more detailed plans in physical and financial terms at functional and unit levels for purposes of implementations. The detailed plans, if and when prepared, may not reflect the intents of the broad plans in a consistent manner.

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