What Is Planning? Nature of planning

Planning is the basic function of management. It deals with chalking out a future course of action and deciding in advance the most appropriate course of action for achievement of pre-determined goals. A plan is a future course of action. It is an exercise in problem solving and decision making. It is determination of courses of action to achieve desired goals.

It is a detailed programme regarding future courses of action. It is rightly said “Well plan is half done”. Therefore planning take into consideration available and prospective human and physical resources of the organization so as to get effective coordination, contribution and perfect adjustment.


Definitions of Planning:

  • According to Koontz and O’ Donnell__” Planning is deciding in advance what to do, how to do,when to do it,and who is to do it. Planning bridge the gap from where we are to where we want to go. It makes it possible for things to occur which would not otherwise happen”.
  • According to Henry Fayol___” Planning is deciding the best alternatives among other to perform different managerial operations in order to achieve the pre-determined goals”.

Nature of Planning

  • Intellectual activity: It involves choosing the proper course of action from among alternatives & calls for decision-making which is an intellectual process. Change in environment bring opportunities, and involved risk as well. It is the task of planner to take advantage of opportunities and minimize the risk.
  • It is continuous process: Management is a dynamic process and planning as its function cannot be an exception to it. More over as plans beget a number of sub-plans and since plans have to be revised in the light of changing environment.
  • It is flexible: As already pointed out, while planning, any one of the available alternatives is selected. Planning selects the best alternatives based on certain assumptions. There is a possibility of dead log in the functions of the management. Planning has one more alternative to suit future situations.
  • Goal-orientation: It follows, therefore, that every plan must contribute in some positive way to the accomplishment of group objectives. It has no meaning without being related to goals and objectives. It must bridge the gap between where we are and where we want to go at the minimum cost.
  • It is Pervasive: It required at all levels of management as well as in all departments of the organization. It is neither an exclusive function of top management nor of any particular department. But the scope of planning differs at different levels and among different departments.


  • To Reduce Uncertainty.
  • To Bring Cooperation and Coordination.
  • To Bring Economy in Operation.
  • To Anticipate Unpredictable Contingencies.
  • To Achieve the Predetermined Goals.
  • To Reduce Competition.

Principles of Planning

  • Principle of Contribution to Objectives.
  • Principle of Pervasiveness.
  • Principles of Limiting Factors.
  • Principle of Flexibility.Principle of Navigational Change.