A contingent planning model for programs and projects
University of Minnesota
KIMBERLY B. BOAL
University of Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin
Wisconsin Stale Office of Planning and Energy
*An earlier version of this article was presented at the conference “The Convergence of Urban Planning and Urban Administration: A Conference for Practitioners and Academicians,” Kansas City, MO, May 5-7, 1977, sponsored by the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Kansas.
The authors are grateful for the generous and thoughtful comments on previous drafts given by Professors Andre Delbecq, Jerome Kaufman, and Elizabeth Howe, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Henry Hightower of the University of British Columbia, and Jon Pierce of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
A contingent planning model for programs, projects, products, or services is offered. The model includes a specific outline of workable phases and steps, a consideration of key situational variables, suggestions for how to handle those variables when they are at different values, and a consideration of the implementation process as an integral part of the planning process. The model is a synthesis of diverse findings from several literatures. It’s special contribution is relating these findings in a contingent fashion to a fairly generic planning process. The result is a set of testable propositions.
Planners generally would agree with Beal’s (1968) definition of planning as:
a series of related actions and decisions that are organized around and moving toward the accomplishment of objectives.
However, the planning and management literatures generally do not contain the following elements necessary for effective actions and decisions:
—specific outlines of workable phases and steps
—key situational variables that would lead one to proceed differently through the planning process depending on the value of the variable
—solutions for dealing with such situational variables when they are at different values
—consideration of the implementation process as an integral part of the planning process.
This article offers a model of organizational and inter-organizational program planning that deals explicitly with these elements.1 In doing so the model is in line with suggestions made by several leading planning theorists (Michael, 1973; Friedmann and Hudson, 1973; Bolan, 1974; Galloway and Mahayni, 1977). Although empirical support does exist for several of the model’s propositions, there is not as yet empirical support for the model as a whole. However, the authors’ contend that a process consistent with the model is more likely to result in a successful program planning effort than would a process inconsistent with the model.
Development of the model was based on a desire to overcome two major shortcomings in the planning theory literature. First, there is a need for a synthesis of rationalist and incrementalist approaches (Friedmann and Hudson, 1973; Galloway and Mahayni, 1977). Present models are either too linear, structured and technically-oriented and, thus, do not allow for departures based on important planning contingencies; or else they assume no coherent process at all. A middle ground is needed that allows for a reasonably structured framework and specifies contingencies for alternative planning behaviors within it. Second, there is a need to recognize the important political role of much planning and many planners. There are almost always different constituencies with differing views and interests that need to be taken into account. If planning and planners are to be successful, they usually need to take into account these different constituencies and the resultant political problems.
To meet this rationale, we will: a) describe a general phase model of planning, b) consider criteria that would dictate alternative planning behaviors, and c) review evidence for the elements of the model and present a set of testable propositions that would guide its application. The model is a synthesis of diverse findings from several literatures. Its special contribution is relating these findings in a contingent fashion to a fairly generic planning process. The result is a set of testable propositions.
III. OVERVIEW OF THE MODEL
The planning process model (Figure 1) is composed of a planning stimulus and six key phases, with specific steps for each phase. The planning stimulus is a situation calling for attention, and it may come from varied sources. The phases correspond to an overall planning strategy. Each phase is functionally necessary to the success of the planning process. The specific steps correspond to areas of tactical decision-making.
The phase functions basically comprise an additive sequence of learning. Progressing through the phases, the parties involved gradually gain certainty about the eventual outcome of their responses to a planning stimulus.2 If the contribution the phase would have made already has been accomplished, then the phase can be skipped or downplayed.
In the Initial Response phase, one seeks a characterization of the planning stimulus, and recognition from the appropriate decision-makers that the stimulus is worthy of response. If the decision-makers agree to respond, the Initial Feasibility Study can proceed. In this phase the organization moves from an awareness of problems or opportunities to carefully diagnosing the situation and coming up with alternative possible solutions. If resources are scarce, resource development also should be included in this phase.3 The planners must ensure that they and the resource controllers agree on priorities. This may require adjustments by either or both parties.
The Plan Development phase serves two basic functions: proposal design and, when resources are plentiful, resource development (Van de Ven and Delbecq, 1972). The phase concentrates on the specific research design for the pilot study, if there is to be one, or on the technical design for program development and/or program transfer. It also focuses on administrative and budgetary concerns.
The basic function of phase four, the Pilot Test, is to prove the internal validity (Campbell and Stanley, 1963) of the solution. A pilot test should be carried out under carefully controlled benign conditions, using scientifically rigorous evaluation criteria, as well as administrative and budgetary criteria (Delbecq, 1975).
The basic purpose of the Program Development phase is to prove that the solution works in the relevant environment(s). In other words, this phase should prove the external validity, or generalizability, of the solution (Campbell and Stanley, 1963). If the outcome affects only one or a few organizations, this will be the final phase in the planning effort. If the project requries the diffusion of a solution throughout an inter-organizational network, a sixth phase, Program Transfer, will be necessary.4 The basic function of a Program Transfer phase is diffusion of the proposed solution in the specified form throughout the network.
Since the phase functions comprise an additive sequence of learning leading to high certainty regarding the eventual outcome, the following propositions are suggested:
Proposition 1: If the planning stimulus is poorly characterized and there is little recognition that it is worth responding to, the first phase emphasized should be Initial Response.
Proposition 2: If the statement on the nature of the problem, solution selection criteria, range of possible solutions, and locations where solutions may be applied are poorly specified, the next phase emphasized should be Initial Feasibility Study.
Proposition .3: If proposal design and resource development have been poorly performed, the next phase emphasized should be Plan Development.
Proposition 4: If the internal validity of the solution has not been proven, the next phase emphasized should be Pilot Test.
Proposition 5: If the generalizability of the solution to the relevant environment(s) has not been proven, the next phase emphasized should be Program Development.
Proposition 6: If the solution has not be diffused in the specified form throughout the appropriate organizational network, the next phase emphasized should be Program Transfer.
Figure 1. A Contingent Program Planning Model
In its complete elaboration, this model is designed to handle major system changes. The less change involved, the more the model can be collapsed.
In a planning effort aimed at a major change, each phase probably would require emphasis. Groups probably would not commit themselves in the beginning to the whole project, primarily because of their uncertainty about the eventual outcome. They could be expected to commit themselves to one phase at a time, evaluating phase results near the end of each phase and then deciding whether or not to continue (Thompson, 1967; Van de Ven and Delbecq, 1972; Brief and Filley, 1975; Van de Ven and Koenig, 1976; Delbecq, 1977).
Most of the 28 steps proposed for a major system change involve evaluation, review, or authorization. As the scale and complexity of the planning effort decreases, it is likely that the number of review steps and reviewing bodies can decrease as well. In small-scale planning efforts, one review step — perhaps quite brief— may suffice after each phase.
This leads to the following summary proposition:
Proposition 7: The more the planning effort is aimed at a major system change, the more likely each phase should be emphasized and that each planning step should be taken.
The Continuum of Innovativeness
Key to the model is the need to adjust the planning process depending upon the nature of the planning goal. Major adjustments in the planning process will need to be made when the goal involves an innovation, i.e., a major system change. There is considerable agreement in the literature that planning for a major change is a more complex and difficult endeavor than planning for a minor change (Zaltman, el. al., 1973; Van de Ven and Koeniz, 1976). The planning literature has focused primarily on processes appropriate for either major or minor system changes; that is for either high or low innovation. But this paper will present a planning process model that can deal with the continuum of innovativeness.
In this model, the degree of innovativeness is viewed as a composite of the following six variables (Van de Ven and Delbecq, 1972):
—the number of different organizations and interest groups affected by the planning effort —the number of potential sources of decision-making veto
—the visibility and controversy surrounding the planning effort
—the technical difficulty of determining the basic structure and design of the program
—the dollar cost of the program
—the time constraints for program development and administration.
A major change (i.e., an innovation) is likely to involve high values on each variable; a minor change is not. Figure 2 summarizes this point.5
These variables provide an overlay on the planning process phases. It now will be noted quite briefly how high or low values on each of these variables may be expected to affect involvement in each phase. Figure 3 is a propositional summary of this sub-section.
Variable #1 — Number of Groups
All potentially affected groups should be involved in Phase 1, since multiple inputs improve the reliability of judgments about the planning stimulus, facilitate problem-solving and increase the likelihood of obtaining a win-win solution (Filley, House & Kerr, 1976). Other positive benefits of multiple participation include ego involvement in the decision and a greater congruence between the goals of organizational subgroups and the goals of the organization as a whole (Mitchell, 1973). Excluding important groups is likely to create adverse consequences for one or more subparts of the organization, or for the organization as a whole (Kastz, 1970; Margulies and Wallace, 1973). Further, because people frequently object not to the substance of change, but to the manner in which it is brought about (Klein, 1967), they often torpedo changes they would have supported had they been consulted.
If the groups are highly heterogeneous, attention must be placed in Phase 2 or carefully exploring problems and showing the appropriateness of possible solutions to each local situation. Since people’s perceptions are affected by functional differentiation (Lawrence and Lorsch, 1969), they often don’t see the applicability of a solution to themselves (Elbing, 1970). In addition, the impact of group norms and membership (Elbing, 1970) and different, perhaps incompatible, goal orientations (Kochan, Cummings, and Huber, 1974) must be considered in the solution selection process. These potential roadblocks to acceptance can be overcome only by putting emphasis on local adaptation and, later, on demonstration projects (Phase 5). If the groups are highly homogeneous, the pilot test (Phase 4) should suffice for verifying the solution and Phase 5 can be skipped or downplayed.
A representative decision structure (Delbecq, 1967), called here a Program Coordinating Committee (PCC) (Van de Van & Delbecq, 1972), probably should be used to facilitate participation and the integration of multiple perspectives.
Variable #2 — Number of Sources of Veto
Ignoring possible veto sources detracts from the legitimacy and acceptability of the mandate, increases the potential for hidden agendas to emerge and subvert previous efforts, and hinders effective coordination of efforts (Klonglan, et al., 1975, and Pressman and Wildavsky, 1973).
Variable #3 — Visibility and Controversy
High visibility and controversy can foster belief that the project is outside the proper domain of the organization, that the possibility of failure and the corresponding losses are too great, or that organizational subparts will be adversely affected. The result may be formation of defensive coalitions to stop threatening change (Shaw, 1971). Completing each phase and step of the planning sequence can serve to change this disrupting potential into constructive problem-solving (Filley, 1975).
Variable #4 — Technical Difficulty
Elbing (1970) has noted that people tend to overlook “unsolvable” problems. Therefore, when the planning effort involves high technical difficulty, Phase 1 will need to be emphasized. With high technical difficulty Phase 2 is extremely important for exploring the exact nature of the problem, potential solutions, and local applicability. Also, Phase 4 should be emphasized because the Pilot Test will prove whether the solution is technically workable. Phase 5 is important for de-bugging the technology in field settings and demonstrating the workability of the technology to the rest of the organizational network. Further, because of the “Not Invented Here” syndrome mentioned by Miner (1973), Phases 2 and 4 must be emphasized to increase involvement and identification with solution development. When technical difficulty is very high, having a technically competent staff, or project team, becomes extremely important.
Figure 2. Dimensions of Innovativeness
Figure 3. Dimensions of Innovativeness and Recommended Planning Process Phase Emphases.
Variable #5 — Cost
When the cost of responding to any stimulus is exceedingly high, the organization may not respond or else may cut costs. Emphasis on Phases 1 and 3 is necessary to convince resource controllers that the probability of success in further phases is high enough to offset upfront costs. If organizational funds are limited, high cost can be overcome only by surplus resources in a coalition partner or by grantsmanship. In this case, the planner should stress resource development in Phase 2. When costs are high, many organizations may attempt to “buy in cheap” during the initial feasibility study and project transfer. Thus they might not do thorough problem and knowledge exploration searches nor test the solution in multiple environments (Phases 2, 4 and 5). Consequences for the organization could be disastrous if the solution decided upon proves unacceptable to various implementors or extremely inadequate for solving the problems. When costs are high financial incentives will be necessary in Phase 6 to facilitate transfer of the solution throughout the network (Pressman and Wildavsky, 1973; Van Meter and Van Horn, 1975).
Variable #6 — Time Constraints
As with high costs, tight time constraints will produce pressure to reduce the amount of search. Phase 2 must not be cut because of time constraints, since a thorough analysis of problems and solutions is essential.
Consideration of these six variables indicate that the following probably are necessary for a successful planning effort:
—a high degree of consensus, especially among affected elites
—sufficient resources to complete needed phases
—the fulfillment of necessary planning phase functions
—agreement to live with phase results
—retention of the basic solution concept in reasonably high quality forms.
In effect, these criteria become decision rules. If any of the criteria are not met the planner should consider stopping, waiting, or returning to earlier steps to replace deficiencies. A planner with considerable power or authority might be able to ignore some of these criteria, especially if the planning effort involves a minor change. However, if a major change is envisioned, the changes of running into major trouble later in the planning process, or on later programs, probably would increase.
IV. SPECIFIC PLANNING STEPS
Since many of the steps are similar in nature (e.g. 4, 9, 14, 19, and 24), most will be discussed little if any after a similar step has been discussed.
Step 1 — Planning Stimulus. Organizations which are structurally more open to their environment are more likely to perceive stimuli because most such organizations exist in turbulent environments (Terreberry, 1965; Lawrence and Lorsch, 1969; Hall, 1972; Delbecq, 1974) and therefore tend to have a history of change and rules for problem-solving sequence which may facilitate change (Parsons and Shils, 1951; Cyert and March, 1963; Madison, 1969; Brief, et. al., 1976).6 If the organization is not structurally open, surplus resources can lead to stimulus perception.7
Proposition 8: If the organization is not open to its environment, does not have a history of change, or does not have surplus resources, more effort will be necessary to make it aware of planning stimuli.
Stimulus perception will be much more likely when the organization has articulated stimulus-related goals, because the organization can objectify the problem more easily (Campbell, 1969; Jablonsky and DeVries, 1972; Steers and Porter, 1972.)8
Proposition 9: Where clearly-articulated stimulus-related goals do not exist, more effort will need to be expended on stimulus perception.
Step 2 — Characterization of Planning Stimulus. Organizations are far more likely to respond to needs, threats, and crises then they are to opportunities (Wilson, 1966; Dalton, 1969; Utterback, 1971, 1974). Hence as the innovativeness of the envisioned change increases, the more necessary it is that the stimulus be viewed as a need, threat, or crisis. However, extreme pressure could paralyze organizational elites. Thus, there probably is an optimum middle range in which pressure leads to action rather than inaction.
Proposition 10: As the innovativeness of the envisioned change increases, the more important the organization view that change as a response to a need, threat, or crisis.
Which organizational level perceives need for change is important. Perception by technical core (Thompson, 1967) is more likely to result in action, but only if the perceptions are passed up to decision-makers with authority to respond (Hage and Dewar, 1973; Kelley, 1976).
Proposition 11: As the innovativeness of the envisioned change increases, the more important the need for such a change be perceived at all levels of the organization.
A major system change is likely to demand client-oriented technological and organizational responses. Product- or goal-oriented organizations respond more quickly to client-based demands. Function-oriented organizations (e.g. sales, engineering, manufacturing, etc.) respond more quickly to technological demands. Matrix organizations respond quickly to both client- and function-based demands for change, and recognize the need for an organizational response more quickly than either client-based or function-oriented organizations (Galbraith, 1973; Delbecq and Filley, 1974).
Proposition 12: The more the goal of the planning process is a major system change, the more important it is that the organization be organized along matrix lines.
Step .3 — Perception Checking. “Reality testing” or “touching base” is a necessary step in integrative decision-making (Filley, 1975). Even sophisticated decision-makers over-generalize from small samples (Slovic and Lichtenstein, 1971), or check only with those in close proximity to them (Ference, 1971; Mintzberg, el. at., 1976). Thus, without adequate perception checking it is unlikely that the true dimensions of the stimuli will be recognized, and the organization might fail to respond when it should, or fail to respond adequately when it does (Van de Ven and Koenig, 1976).
Proposition 13: As the innovativeness of the envisioned change increases, the more important extensive perception checking is to demonstrate whether or not there is a legitimate reason for being concerned about the stimulus and need to respond.
Step 4 — Review and Preliminary Authorization to Proceed. If the planning effort involves a major system change, this is the step in which a PCC should be established.”
Step 5 — Review by Resource Controllers. In this step resources are committed for the next phase, whatever that phase might be. Resource controllers can be expected to base their decisions on a number of criteria, such as: proposal legitimacy; understandability; cost-benefit calculations; risk levels; whether the proposal fits “tradition,” “image,” or “fad,” whichever is most important to the organization at the time; and probability of success (Thompson, 1967; Stagner, 1969; Dickson, 1976; Brief, el. al., 1976). This implies a need for the stimulus to be objectifiable, and easily related to organizational priorities. Explanations should be provided in common vernacular and simple charts (Delbecq, 1974, 1977; Brief and Filley, 1975), with technical appendices.
It is important to celebrate the completion of the Initial Response phase with a ceremony, or “hoopla,” in order to increase shared commitment and provide positive reinforcements (Luthens and Kreitner, 1975). The ceremony also can provide publicity reinforcing the visibility and legitimacy of the project (Woelfel and Salteil, 1975). However, it is important to be careful so that hoopla does not inflame potential opposition.
Proposition 14: As the innovativeness of the envisioned change increases, the more important hoopla becomes at the end of each phase to increase shared commitment and provide positive reinforcements, as well as to reinforce the visibility and legitimacy of the project so that resource controllers will take the program seriously in later phases.
Step 6 — Preparation for the Initial Feasibility Study. In this step the following should be established, if not already settled:
—who will evaluate the Initial Feasibility Study
—what criteria will be used
—who will be on the project team (to provide staff for the PCC if there is one)
—documentation of the above items
If there was dissensus in the Step 4 decision set, critics may need to be included in the evaluating committee. If the critics will need to approve the project later, it is better that they be included early, rather than ignored; and it is better that their criticisms be considered and incorporated while the proposal is open to modification, as long as the changes will jibe with agreed-upon solution criteria.
If the goal of the process is an innovation, the project team should include a wide array of disciplines (Hoffman, 1959; Hoffman and Maier, 1963; Argyris, 1966; Shaw, 1971). Both technical specialists and generalists should be included, so that analytic and synthetic creativity are represented (Bolan, 1971b; Delbecq, Van de Vena and Gustafson, 1975). The project director should possess managerial skills (Delbecq and Filley, 1974).
Step 7 — Initial Feasibility Study. Problem exploration, solution exploration, and local adaptation should be three separate tasks and each should involve a different mix of persons. Problem exploration should involve clients and first-line administrators, solution exploration should involve technical and organizational specialists, and local adaptation should involve the problem and the solution exploration groups plus potential implementors (Delbecq and Van de Ven, 1971; Van de Ven and Delbecq, 1972). It is especially important that technical specialists not be involved in problem exploration, since they tend to bend problems to fit known solutions (Elbing, 1970), while the literature on innovations indicates that success of changes are based on clearly understood client needs (Utterback, 1971, 1974; Sappho, 1972). The same literature indicates that successful innovations resulted from new solution information brought in from outside normal solution search channels.
Proposition 15: As the innovativeness of the envisioned change increases, the greater the need for extensive and structured client-based problem exploration, and the greater the need for solution search in new channels, in order to increase the likelihood that an acceptable and innovative solution will be found.
As innovativeness increases, or if goals are not well-specified, and/or the environment is turbulent, the three tasks will need to occur simultaneously to allow for necessary feedback and time-saving (McCaskey, 1974; Jakobson, 1970). If these conditions do not exist and if there is time, the three tasks may proceed sequentially.
Proposition 16: If the goal of the planning effort is an innovation, if goals are not well-specified, or if the environment is turbulent, problem exploration, solution exploration, and local adaptation should proceed simultaneously. Otherwise they can proceed sequentially.
Step 9 — Review and Preliminary Authorization to Proceed. This step involves review and preliminary authorization to proceed by the PCC, if one was established. Modifications which improve the overall technical quality or political acceptability of the initial feasibility study should be incorporated whenever they do not threaten the basic concept of the project. This will increase the chances for program success in later phases, especially if the goal involves an innovation (Delbecq and Van de Ven, 1971; Delbecq, 1974; Delbecq, el a/., 1975; Filley, 1975).
Proposition 17: The more the goal of planning process is a major system change, the more important it is that modifications which improve the overall technical quality or political acceptability of the initial feasibility study be incorporated whenever they do not threaten the basic solution concept.
Especially if the goal is an innovation, resource controllers will be more likely to grant resources in the amount requested the higher the consensus, the more key technical and political opinion leaders are represented in that consensus, and the greater the commitment to the project by these people (Benveniste, 1972; Patchen, 1974; Delbecq, 1974; Kelley, 1976).
Proposition 18: The more the planning process involves a major change, the more important it is to have a high concensus around and commitment to the project among key technical and political opinion leaders.
Step 17 — Pilot Test. In this step the program design from Step 12 must be adapted to actual resources granted in Step 1 5.
Step 22 — Program Development. If there are few potential implementors, the emphasis in this step will be on implementation. If not, the emphasis will be on demonstrating the solution’s worth to an organizational network.
Based on Delbecq (1974; 1975) and Havelock (1973), the following planning guide for demonstration projects is offered:
Proposition 19: The more the goal of the planning process involves the diffusion of an innovation throughout an organizational network, the more important it is in demonstration projects to provide: technical and administrative flexibility, technical assistance and monies for trouble-shooting, and to allow for organizational learning prior to applying rigorous evaluation criteria.
Step 27 — Program Transfer. Based on Wilson (1966), Van Meter and Van Horn (1975), Pressman and Wildavsky (1973), Hamner (1974), and Luthans and Kreitner (1975), the following planning guide is recommended:
Proposition 20: If the goal of the planning process depends on diffusion of an innovation throughout an organizational network, successful transfer to the bulk of the network will depend heavily on high generalizability of the solution and the pesence of substantial positive and negativeincentives favoring transfer.
Further, the more the solution can be institutionalized with hard funding, the greater the success in this phase will be, especially if the solution is an innovation (Lindblom, 1959; Sharkansky, 1970; Lupsha, 1974; Van Meter and Van Horn, 1975; Rogers and Shoemaker, 1971).
Proposition 21: The more innovative the solution, the more important hard funding becomes to ultimate program success.
This model has several important implications for planning, four of which will be discussed.
(1) The model blurs the traditional distinction between policymaking and program planning (Ozbekhan, 1969). Since the model assumes that the planner takes an active role in creating and mobilizing a constituency for the plan, it recognizes that the planner also serves as a change agent and creates policy. There must always be feedback from what the planner learns — e.g., through needs assessment, experimentation, and interaction with resource controllers — to the basic planning concept if the plan is to be realistic. This calls for a more holisitc conception of the planner’s role — the planner must participate in providing directions for policy as well as carrying out policy.
(2) The model allows for the sequential cooptation of affected parties in two ways. One is through structured review sessions where modifications can be made which improve the political acceptability and technical quality of the plan. Second is through sequentially reducing the uncertainty of expected results from the plan. Top-level decision-makers will not commit themselves until the changes of failure from pursuing any given course of action are low. They are savvy politicians and will do whatever they can to make sure they are not backing a loser.
(3) The model highlights the importance of the program/manager role. The model calls for the cycling in and out of different persons and groups at different times over the course of the whole planning process from initial stimulus to program transfer. This calls for savvy management to assure that phase functions are fulfilled in an efficient and effective manner. Essentially the program manager needs to be an expert on planning process design and an “expert on experts” (Bolan, 1971a).
(4) The model is a rational model, but no! in the usual sense. The traditional rational models of, for example, Simon (1947) or Hill (1968) are everybody’s whipping boy. But that does not mean that rationalism’s opposite number, incrementalism, should be deified, as it is by Braybrooke and Lindblom (1963). Michael (1973), for example, makes a strong case that unless our planning becomes more rational, especially through incorporating knowledge about the way people, groups, and organizations behave, the future itself be in doubt. This argument counters Braybrooke and Lindblorn by saying that while strictly rational thought is probably impossible, the nonrationality of incrementalism in some cases may be downright dangerous. The model outlined here is an attempt to respond to Michael’s challenge.
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1. In the paper we usually refer to “the organization,” but we feel our arguments are valid for inter-organizational networks as well.
2. Dickson (1976) has shown that the decision to adopt an innovative proposal is influenced more by the probability of achieving the desired outcomes than by either the expected value of the possible outcomes or their variance.
3. We are grateful to Dr. Andre' L. Delbecq for this point.
4. In this case the fifth phase would normally be called a demonstration project. The importance of demonstration projects is emphasized in the diffusion of innovations literature (Rogers and Shoemaker, 1971; Sharkansky, 1970; Delbecq, 1976).
5. To a great extent, the nature of the desired planning outcome sets the context (Delbecq, 1974) or decision-field (Bolan, 1969, 1971) within which the planner has to operate. For example, if one seeks an outcome which will affect adversely a large number of groups, and if those groups have any power at all, one may expect to confront many of them at some time during the planning process, whether or not one wishes to do so (Crain and Rosenthal, 1967: 980, 983-40; Aiken and Alford, 1970: 662-3). Thus, in dealing with the continuum of innovative-environment (Hall, 1972: 297-324). In other words, from a philosophical viewpoint, the teleology of planning in large measure creates the phenomenology of planning (Ozebekhan, 1969; Cartwright, 1973).
6. For a seminal review of the characteristics of structural openness, see Burns and Stalker (1961).
7. However, organizations which have high professionalism, numerous boundary-spanners, high complexity, and substantial slack are more likely to perceive stimuli which are opportunities — in addition to needs — than are organizations which are low on these variables. Therefore, as the complexity of the envisioned planning effort increases, a planner in the latter type of organization will need to be especially careful to separate the needs from the “nice ideas,” or else be ready to be written off as a visionary whose time has not yet come.
8. However, a caveat is that we cannot expect to find the origins of every agency decision in its publicly stated goals. But they are useful guides for the planner attempting to explain proposed actions to an organization and its leaders, and to persuade others (e.g., resource controllers, clients, etc.) to support it (Browning, 1970).
9. The PCC should be composed of technical specialists and political opinion leaders and should be similar in composition to the probably broader-based decision group which will review the project in Steps 9, 14, 19, and 24 (Van de Ven and Delbecq, 1972; Van de Ven and Koenig, 1976).
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