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One of the most crucial organisation's concepts is Strategic Planning that gives direction and guidance to the organizations in order to set out goals and objectives. The Study of Strategic management is by small travel companies and their preference whether they really care about the Strategic planning process tools or not. Strategic Planning encounters and impact on the development of a travel agency, and deal primarily with solving the long-term problems connected with external influence.
The research area is focus upon small Companies that lie under small and medium enterprises or SMEs. According to Sections 382 and 465 of the Companies Act 2006 UK, Small Company which has a turnover of not more than £6.5 million and the balance sheet not more than £3.26 million and the number of employee is not more than 50. The Company fall in this category are being focus and will be research.
Actually Strategic Planning addresses the question as to how do companies stay ahead of their Competitor and beat the competition but do all the small sized travel companies realize that is what this paper is trying to find out. Strategic planning helps companies in carrying out separate roles from different allocation of resources. According to Grant (2003), it helps companies.
Strategic planning has an impact on the full development of a travel agency, and primarily deals with long-term problem solving connected through external influences. Due to overlook the valued of Strategic planning many agencies failed. Even its importance is vital, strategic planning is often neglected by travel agencies, especially SMEs, which are engaged with their day-to-day survival in the world of intermediary business. Hence, it will be significant to find out whether small travel agencies really care about strategic planning tools and this can be achieved when we get to know about their actual management practices, operational functions and their ways of handling competition.
Brief History of Strategic Planning In Business
Strategic planning in organizations originated in the 1950s and was very popular and widespread between mid-1960s to mid-1970s, when then people believed it was the answer for all problems, and corporate America was "obsessed" with strategic planning. Following that "boom" strategic planning was cast aside and abandoned for over a decade. The 1990s brought the revival of strategic planning as a "process with particular benefits in particular contexts" (Mintzberg, 1994).Â Â Â Â Here is a brief account of several generations of strategic planning.Â SWOTÂ analysis model dominated strategic planning of the 1950s. "The 1960s brought qualitative and quantitative models of strategy. During the early 1980s, the shareholder value model and the Porter modelÂ became the standard. The rest of the 1980s was dictated by strategic intent and core competencies, and market-focused organizations. Finally, business transformation became de rigueur in the 1990s" (Gouillart, 1995).
Definition of Strategic Planning
"Strategic planning is the process by which members of an organization envision its future and develop the necessary procedures and operations to achieve that future." Pfeiffer, Goodstein, Nolan, 1986 and Roth well, 1989
Organisations struggle to achieve an understanding of their business strategy, its impacts across the organisation, and the changes required to achieve its goals. The distance between these goals, the critical success factors, individual initiatives and projects, and the planned results can become a gulf, leading to poor delivery. (Execview,2010)
Strategic planning is the process of identifying an organization's long-term goals and objectives and then determining the best approach for achieving those goals and objectives.(bu.edu ,2001)
Management level Conceptualization of Strategic Planning
To start off, strategic planning is one the most commonly used processes by companies that guides them to manage and allocate their resources which ultimately generates good results to them. Hopkins and Hopkins (1997) suggest three basic components of strategic planning i.e. formulation, wherein companies start from setting out their aims and objectives keeping in view their internal and external environments, then evaluation of alternatives and finally implementing and controlling them. The allocation of resources as mentioned above serves companies in many different ways. According to Grant (2003), it acts as the stimulating force for an organization to respond to the environmental changes and furthermore guiding it to avoid uncertain, volatile and unusual circumstances. Lorange and Vancil (1995) see strategic planning as the binding force that integrates and synchronizes the individual potentials within a company.
Understanding at management level
As discussed in the previous part that strategic management sets out goals and objectives and companies based on their competences pursue them in a systematic manner. However, strategy development and strategic planning requires that employees of the companies have the sense of 'strategic thinking' and this notion is vital especially to understand the practices of small travel agencies in UK. The study of Ohmae (1982) is vital in this regard in which an analysis of Japanese companies has been carried out. The study indicates that most of the companies are void of any specific strategic planning department and reason being the lack of education of the companies' chief executives. Despite the fact that they had no knowledge of formal strategic planning process, they still possessed some intuitive grasp of some of the core components of strategy building. The dynamic nature of the environmental interaction between companies, customers and competitors stimulates the emergence of goals and objectives automatically. The term 'strategic thinking according to Jausch and Glueck (1988) is a preliminary test which companies have to pass in order to cope up with the changing nature of market dynamics and competition in the future.
Organizational Culture's Role in Strategic Planning
Morgan (1997) in his studies has presented many patterns of organizational culture like a mechanism, a brain or transformation. Taking this view, it could be seen that Hampden-Turner (1992) pointed out that it is more crucial to find how originations learn rather than just learn because of certain organizational paradigms. A mechanistic organization learns by focusing itself to the prediction and control while a flexible and adaptive one learns based on the events, experiences and synthesis of information. In his studies, Hampden-Turner (1992) argues that in order to begin a search of understanding strategic planning and business strategy, it has to be started with the exploration of corporate culture. In this study as well, much has been emphasized to understand what the people at management level in small travel agencies think about strategic planning and whether they really care about it.
Building Strategies: Reasons, ways and options
This part of literature is an attempt to find out how and when do travel agencies and their employees realize the need of having a strategy and in what ways do they formulate it. In this regard, the notion of formal and informal ways of strategy building is vital and necessary.
Formal or prescriptive strategic planning process is a step by step process in strategy building starting from goal formulation, environmental analysis, strategy building and finally implementation and control. Greenlay (1995) presents a cause and effect relationship between strategic planning with the corporate performance of the companies keeping in view the formal and informal structure of strategic planning. However there have been some different perspectives by different authors where studies have shown that the formal and prescriptive structure of strategic planning yields no relationship with performance of the companies (Miller and Cardinal, 1994; Pearce et al., 1987; Kukalis, 1991). This is because of the bureaucratic and rigid form of relationship prevalent in companies that fail to be adaptive, flexible and adaptive to the environmental changes (Bresser and Bishop, 1983).
Competing strategically in travel industry
Travel industry also has also witnessed transformation in approach of travel agents with respect to strategic planning which Holloway and Robinson (1995, p. 135) identify that "although in the past, travel agencies have been seen largely as "order takers," competition has now forced a reappraisal of the role, and agents are placing greater emphasis on the ability of their staff to sell and to establish rapport with their clients".
There are some ways of having an effective strategy in the world of travel industry as identified by Lowengart and Reichel (1998) who emphasize on tapping the niche market and coming up with specific segments for instance some exotic destinations or offering price cuts to a certain segment. To do so, an effective system of communication is absolutely essential. In this regard, the competitive environment today has mainly been affected by the technological advancement especially the communication technologies in delivering effective travel products and services (Buhalis and Schertler, 1999; Poon, 1993; Wang and Cheung, 2004).
Research methodology is the procedure that helpful in the evaluation of research claims and this provides the validity of the knowledge gathered. (Cresswell,2003). Sekaran (2003) explains the research methodology as the academics recognized framework for the gathering and investigating the existing knowledge and provides the validity of the new knowledge. Research methodology always has the unique position with unique importance in the research work. Also methodology is not only as frame but it provides the tools and strategies for the research purpose. As (Sekaran,2003) proposes the importance that it expresses the activity of research. Each research methodology has its unique questions and specific group of objectives. Research design always proceeds on four major problems. Research questions, relevant data, process of data collection and analysis of data (punch,2000)
Scholars have identified the three major research activities, which are mostly used in practice. These are experiment, case study as well as the survey. Exploratory research focuses on the interviews from the experts and other research activities are called the descriptive and explanatory.
I will collect secondary data from books, journals, newspapers, articles as well as the internet. I will also use the EBSCO for data collection that is provided by our college. Secondary data will also collect by the booklet of both insurance companies, which will helpful for the research.
I will do interviews of staff and upper management of askari insurance and Lloyds TSB company. As I had already worked in the askari general insurance co in Pakistan. Therefore I got the permission to carry out the interviews of middle and senior management in the Askari insurance company.
I like to get the views of employees and customer through questionnaires for this purpose. I will create 30 to 35 questions, which will, helpful to fulfil my objectives.
In the data analyses the researcher will analyse the data that has been collect through the interview process and from the secondary resources. The purpose of the data analyses is to interpret the facts, find the patterns and locate the information. This is the process in which one can test the assumptions. Data is meant to be analysed by many ways such as content analysis, grounded analyses, theoretical sampling, and thematic analysis. in the content analyses the researcher interrogates the data for constructs and ideas that have been decided in advance Mark Eastbury et al (2008) . Thematic analysis involves the coding and decoding of the data, there is a link between this method and the grounded theory method. Grounded theory, according to Glaser and Strauss (1998) is that leads to a higher level of understanding or help generate theories regarding a social phenomenon. All research is "grounded" in data, but few studies produce a "grounded theory." Grounded Theory is an inductive methodology.Â Although many call Grounded Theory a qualitative method, it is not.Â It is a general method. ItÂ is the systematic generation of theory from systematic research.Â (groundedtheory.com) As it clear now that grounded theory does not belong to any particular method like quantitative and qualitative so Grounded Theory can be used with both kinds of data. In the proposed research grounded theory will be used to analyze the data. this approach help to generate a theory out of the research bring out the useful information for the base of future knowledge in this field of marketing for nonprofit organizations.
There were many constraints being witnessed in the course of data gathering and findings of the research and consequently there are certain limitations in this regard as well. First of all approaching the managers of the small travel companies was a herculean task where unlike large travel companies, who welcome students to share their views and assisting their research work small travel agencies lacked in this regard. To approach them, a letter of consent was being sent out to different travel companies prior to conducting interview in order to book appointments with them. The letter of consent is attached in the appendix at the end of this document.
Moreover, given the limited time for research, not many interviews could be conducted, had there been enough time frames more useful insights could have been taken even from large travel companies to make a comparison between their strategic management practices.
Keeping the ethical issues in consideration is an important part of research process. This study is of sensitive nature that involves many organisations and individuals. The researcher will follow the code of conduct and will not disclose any information that is meant to be hidden will not disclose without the prior permission of the management. Researcher will not ask to any individual, the questions that are embarrassing or hurt his self respect.
I will discuss whole research procedure with my supervisor. I will use paper form interviews and questionnaires. I will explain carefully for the reason of research as well as intended outcome.I also understands plagiarism process. Therefore where I will use work of other people then I will give the acknowledgement and will do the paraphrase in my own wording.
Desired Research Outcomes
This research will help organisations to figure out the factors that can make them able to better present their cause in front of their potential donors. This study will also help to find better ways of collaboration between the for profit and non profit organisations in order to serve mutual interests better working relationship. This will prove that organisations can bring positive change in the society with cooperation and sense of responsibility.
Preparation of proposal by 25 October 2010
Completion of literature review by 20 December 2010
Complete fieldwork by 15 January 2011
Complete analysis by 25 January 2011
Give presentation on 15 February 2011
Complete final report by 10 March 2011