Research (Surveys and Review of Documentation)

Research (Surveys and Review of Documentation)

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2527-3.ch008
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Abstract

This is a review of the descriptive research that has a supportive role (alongside the literature review) in describing the initial state of the strategic planning problem within the normative research model. There is a description of the two surveys concerning the planning process and plan usability and descriptions of the documentation and executive interviews that have been examined. There are also details of the findings from this research, with some data analysis and the important conclusions that relate to the main aim of the research.
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Introduction

This chapter describes the descriptive investigations carried out as part of phases one and two of the normative research model and is divided into two broad headings; the first section describes the various investigations that were carried out as a mixture of surveys, interviews and review of planning documentation. The second major section describes the results of the investigations and gives details where appropriate of the findings from the data analysis and finally a summary of conclusions from the descriptive research done.

The various literature reviews together with these descriptive investigations are in response to the need within the normative research model to evaluate and describe the initial state of the object of the investigation (strategic planning) and to analyse relationships and possibilities for change.

A variety of research methodologies (see chapter 2) were used to gather data on the issues needing clarification and an update on views related to strategic planning. The first sections will describe the framework and context for each of the various investigative steps, and where applicable describe the survey instrument and the steps taken to gradually drill down from a broad survey of organisations down to the specific detail within one organisation’s strategic plan; the investigations were carried out as follows:

  • Survey of the Planning Process.

  • Survey Concerning Strategic Plan Usability.

  • Examine Executives and Documentation of Organisations.

    • o

      “SV Group”: Interviews with Executives & SP Documentation

    • o

      “Lou’s Place”: an OPM Performance Measurement Plan

    • o

      A Well-Publicised Strategic Plan.

Following the sections that outline the framework and context for each investigation there are the descriptive results for each of the investigations, with a final section to describe the main conclusions derived from the results.

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Survey Of The Planning Process

This section concerns a survey of organisations in NSW, Australia to determine the importance of the strategic planning process and to get an up-to-date view on a number of issues raised in the literature (see section ‘Evaluate some Concerns in Strategic Planning’ in Chapter 2 for a list of issues).

The planning process survey was conducted as a telephone questionnaire by research assistants using a scripted questionnaire that was filled in by the research assistant with the answers from the respondent. Companies were selected from searching the yellow pages of the telephone directory.

The planning process questionnaire was first tested in several small trials in order to test the questions and their format. Discussions with the people conducting the questionnaire uncovered a problem that the use of terms familiar in IS/IT investigations were causing difficulties because of a lack of understanding by the business people. The solution was to change the terminology to that more familiar to the business people in the organisations, so that it was more easily understood. Hopefully they would all use the rephrased terminology in the same way (a shared understanding of the meaning of a question). The question formats moved away from information systems terminology and closer to business terminology. There were still some residual difficulties with the questionnaire, however the assistants were rehearsed in the meanings of the questions and understood the nature of the questionnaire, and so were able to clarify where necessary to minimise any problems that respondents might have with understanding the terminology.

To allow the respondent to be more flexible in their answers and allow them to use different terminology than that in the questionnaire, some of the answers were planned to be in narrative form and these answers would be coded at a later stage. The complete questionnaire is shown in Appendix A.

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