Methodology for sustainability strategic planning and management

First section

This article is about methodology for sustainability strategic planning and management. Its main purpose is to propose a frame work that will intend to help organizations to achieve the sustainability goal by means of a methodology that integrates sustainability in both the planning and management tasks of the organization.

In this case, the last factor serves as a base for the implementation of an information system aligned with the business strategy. This article comprises of exhaustive review of literature about corporate social responsibility, strategic planning of organizations and balanced scorecards (BSCs). Moreover, a methodology that has been developed describes the process of designing and implementing sustainability BSC for sustainability strategic planning and management.

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It also shows the following results that methodology can be easily implemented at companies with a minimum of computer resources, but managers play a key role in its success since they are responsible for providing the necessary environment for overcoming such an important change.

Second section

The key learning points in this article include the following issues that are mentioned below.

There should be a theoretical background comprising of Strategic planning, performance management systems and balanced score card, sustainable development, corporate sustainability and CSR.
There are also phases in sustainability strategic planning and management methodology which include planning the project, defining the enterprise mission statement, analyzing stake holders, strategy definition, strategy implementation plan definition, design of indicators and targets, validation, SBSC implementation, and monitoring.
Moreover, the second section comprises a SSPM methodology validation which includes validation limitations, participant company and case description.

Third section

I agree with Bryson (1995) statement that management meeting its mandates and fulfilling the mission should result from strategic planning, which is defined as “producing fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what the organization is, what it does, and why it does it”.

This is true because strategic planning is a way of establishing business direction and decision making, in addition to resource allocation. Strategic planning should ideally focus on management course of action in relevance to the management’s set objectives in order to attain its goals and mission.

I agree with (Porter, 1979) statement that the objective of the strategic planning processes is to design competitive strategies that enable the firm to find a position in the present environment and to go beyond perceptions of the current situation to distinguish the enterprise into the future because strategic planning is developed in manner that allow implementation of action plans (Mitchell & Wood, 1997). Also, it is true that environment is continually changing and strategic planning is a continuous process in the company.

It is the process by which firms derive a strategy to enable them to anticipate and respond to the changing dynamic environment in which they operate. In order to achieve its set goals and mission, management has to keep pace with the changing environment which in turn affects the management both internally and externally. For instance, business environment changes like in market, competition and technology should be focused in strategic planning.

Fourth section

Title for this article is methodology for sustainability strategic planning and management. The aim of this article is to propose a frame work that intends to help organizations achieve the sustainability goal by means of a methodology that integrates sustainability in both the planning and management tasks of the organization and that serves as a base for the implementation of an information system aligned with the business strategy.

Its design entail exhaustive review of literature a bout corporate social responsibility, strategic planning of organizations and balanced scorecards (BSCs), a methodology has been developed that describes the process of designing and implementing sustainability BSC for sustainability strategic planning and management.

Its theoretical background focus on strategic planning which is corporate managerial practice by means of which a set of processes are under taken in order to define a range of strategies that will contribute to the achieving of the organization’s mission statement (Mintzberg, 1978).

The objective of the strategic planning processes is to design competitive strategies that enable the firm to find a position in the present environment and to go beyond perceptions of the current situation to distinguish the enterprise into the future. Since the environment is continually changing, strategic planning is a continuous process in the company.

It is the process by which firms derive a strategy to enable them to anticipate and respond to the changing dynamic environment in which they operate. In a dynamic business environment, the plans of many managing directors are constantly in the course of modification, revision and refinement, often in the minds of the top management, emergent or actual strategy can diverge from planned strategy.

According to the article, organizations meet their goals by satisfying their customers more effectively and efficiently than their competitors. Efficiency is a measure of Methodology of how economic resources are used to achieve the customer’s satisfaction. For sustainability frame work, a business performance measurement system is a set of metrics for measuring and evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of business operations that can be used as a support in making suitable decisions to enhance the competitiveness of the firm.

Strategic planning derives a general strategy from the mission statement, the implementation of a strategy requires the development of a progressively more concrete set of objectives and indicators broken down to the level of departments or fields of business. The balanced score cards approach helps to integrate these within the over all strategy by exploding the business strategy in a hierarchical system of strategic objectives, all of them aligned towards the financial perspective.

This article balanced score cards approach involves identifying key components of operations, setting goals for them, and finding ways to measure progress towards their achievement. Its objectives are organized in perspectives and cause effect relations are stabilized among them. In addition, performance indicators are defined for the different objectives.

Many are the expected benefits of a balanced score cards implementation, providing advantages such as keeping a consistent long term strategy, providing integration within other improvement programs or acting as a cornerstone of present and future success by informing managers “what has gone wrong” and where they can improve performance among others (Kaplan& Norton, 1992).

In this article sustainable development, corporate sustainability and corporate social responsibility; over the last decades, many have been the theories about sustainable development. This term was initially used as an egocentric concept directed to the conservation of existing ecosystems.

There are many expected benefits from the sustainable or socially responsible management of the corporations. Regarding cooperate social responsibility from a strategic perspective, companies would increase shareholder’s value and at the same time fulfill all their responsibilities and compromises with society and other stakeholders. Financial measures are insufficient, and new measures that address the impact of current strategies and actions on sustainability of business growth are required.

According to this article, many works can be found regarding sustainable strategic planning, or sustainable scorecards, but no one of them offers a process to set up both techniques in an integrated step by step procedure. The latter will be expected to allow companies to save costs and obtain better results, since common steps on both strategic planning and balanced score cards implementation are performed just once and a major integration is obtained.

The main aim of the sustainability strategic planning and management methodology is to describe the process of designing and implementing sustainability balanced score cards for corporations by means of asset of activities and techniques.

This methodology does not include solely the necessary phases to set up a balanced score cards balanced score cards system in a company, but instead it provides a whole frame work to help companies in sustainability strategic planning and management by integrating different existing techniques. Sustainability strategic planning and management has the following phases: planning of the project.

This is the initial phase in the development of any performance measurement project and hence, it is also the first step in our proposed methodology. During this phase, it is necessary, therefore, to create the plan for the project, defining tasks, time lines and resources, to establish the quality control mechanisms and to draw up the plan for change.

The second one is defining the enterprise mission statement. This phase focuses on understanding the business. Analysis is conducted to examine the enterprise in the competitive environment, its internal situation, culture and above all, the strategic relevance of the different stakeholder groups.

The aim here is to define the general aspects of the enterprise level: its mission, vision and values, and in this sense. To write the mission statement, it is necessary to identify all those who have a claim on the business, that is, its stakeholders. A management system for CS requires that an adequate strategic frame work has to be established in the sense of a viable sustainable approach before hand (Jackson, 2001).

Third is the analysis of stakeholders. During the mission statement formulation, identification of different stakeholders has to be done, but only for the purposes of the mission statement formulation in terms of sustainability, so a more complex stakeholder analysis has to be performed in order to formulate a sustainable strategy.

Hence, the purpose of this phase of the methodology is to carry out an extensive stakeholder analysis that will allow the business to integrate the stakeholders’ needs and expectations into the business strategy and to provide a base for the scorecard’s indicators definition. Additionally, it will be useful for the preventive identification of those areas where a potential conflict among stakeholders groups may appear.

Strategy definition is the fourth phase; this phase is related to strategy formulation, which has the purpose to determine the future direction of the firm, and it has been widely treated in planning literature. Given that there is no world agreement about the significance of cooperate social responsibility concept, many different approaches are considered possible to be used by accompany in its strategy definition, concretely in its sustainable strategy definition.

As the purpose of this methodology is to help companies adopt sustainability, market strategic orientation should be rejected by companies using this methodology, but they are still free to choose between reactive or proactive strategic behavior on the basis of having in mind the triple bottom line and not just the financial goals. Fifth strategy is definition plan implementation: During this phase, the action plans that will enable objectives fulfillment are defined.

The new sustainable approach can make it difficult to label the affordable planes, since it involves changing the corporate culture and employee attitudes, defining responsibilities and accountability, establishing organizational structures, information reporting systems and operational practices (Husted & Salazar, 2006).

Designing of indicators and targets is the sixth phase. Once objectives have been established and plans have been developed in order to reach them in a sustainable manner, it is time to define which indicator measures will comprise the sustainable balance score card.

One of the most crucial elements to be accomplished in designing a system of indicators is to make sure it is properly aligned with the strategy, offering information about the extent to which objectives are being reached. With such purpose, it is considered that the best option is to use the selected objectives as the base for the indicators definition, so that measures in all three perspectives are formulated based on the causal map of objectives.

Phase seven is validation; a complete validation of the designed system of indicators and cause-effect relations is realized. The idea here is to use the results achieved over a period of time in order to look for a relation among the cause and effect indicators, and to measure the relation among the variables chosen so that further adjustments to the proposed system can be made. Regression analysis can be used to adjust the indicators and to achieve a better system design.

If these results have not been recorded, its management staff can estimate the results to make the indicator systems fit better. Phase eight is sustainability balanced score card implementation. In this phase, the computer system that aids the sustainable balanced score card is implemented and is integrated within the information system of the enterprise.

Integration of the sustainability balanced score card computer system with the enterprise resource planning, which can be seen as being complementary systems, is an important factor for the success of the project. Enterprise resource planning systems are complex but flexible solutions that are easily integrated within other systems and can also be extended to the functionalities of a balanced score card (Grant, 2003)

Monitoring is final phase. Measurement systems are not simply designed and implemented, but they are also monitored over extended periods of time. Sustainability balanced score card systems succeed when they provide relevant facts and data on what is good about a current sustainability performance and what needs to be improved either immediately or in the future.

In this phase, a set of procedures for keeping track of the sustainability balanced score card should be designed. Implementation of the sustainability balanced score card is regularly checked and evaluated by monitoring the system in real time and then honing it to peak efficiency (Carroll,1979).

Strategic sustainability planning management methodology validation is done after an initial design of the methodology. This article’s author uses this methodology because its applicability is in all process analyses and to the acquisition of a holistic perspective of complex phenomena. The application of the sustainability strategic planning methodology is a complex process which has to be overcome carefully in order to be successful.

Despite its applicability to any type of organizations, there are some key factors that have to be overcome by companies using the methodology to integrate sustainability in their operations. Sustainability strategic planning requires a deep change in the nature of companies’ objectives and goals. It demands managers to broaden their view of the company, being conscientious of all the impacts, and searching for new opportunities that cooperation social responsibility model offers.

Fifth section

I can apply the subject matter in this article in improving UAE methodology as a result of applying it to the companies. Also, I can apply it in developing researching since there is still a lot of researches to do until sustainability is adopted by organizations in its wider range.

In addition, series of lessons concerning the main factors involved in the successful inclusion of sustainable concerns in business strategic planning and management have been learnt like Step by step planning.

The lesson learnt can be helpful to UAE business management sector. I would divide the complexity of the project in to stages produces more manageable sub stages, with specific objectives that enable significant results to be obtained in a reasonable amount of time. At the same time, this arouses greater interest in the new system among users.

In UAE I would use trained and experienced consultants in sustainability, strategy and computers. They are capable of transferring the needs of the business to the strategy map, the action plan and the configuration of the software that is going to be installed or developed, as well as the later management of change.

I would get end users involved in designing the sustainability balanced score card in UAE. Development of a sustainability balanced score card requires working directly with the end users of the processes and the software, since, we may run the risk of developing a system that is not useful or usable by those who are going to utilize it (Chalmeta & Grangel, 2005).

I can apply subject matter of this article in UAE through permanent control and evaluation of the sustainable strategy. The sustainable strategy implementation does not end when the computer system begins to operate.

It is some thing that is under continuous development and evaluation due to the continuous changes of the organization context. It is therefore important to systematically measure, control and analyzes its effectiveness in order to improve results.

Last section

I have learnt that to successfully carry out a project aimed at developing and implementing a sustainable balanced scorecard, it is essential to have a step by step methodology that directs the development and implementation processes.

Also, I have learnt that existing methodologies for implementing balanced scorecards or developing information system are not oriented towards the specific problems a rising in triple bottom line based projects.

Managers can use the step by step methodology as a supporting procedure to define and manage strategies at their companies. The application of the sustainability strategic planning management methodology produce changes in the companies, providing them with the expected benefits from strategic planning and sustainable behavior.

References

Bryson, J. M. (1995). Strategic planning for Public and Non profit Organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Carroll, A. B.(1979). A three dimensional conceptual model of corporate performance. Academy of management review, 4 (4), 497-505.

Chalmeta, R. & Grangel, R. (2005). Performance measurement systems for virtual enterprise integration, International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing,18 (1), 73-84.

Grant, R. M.(2003).Strategic planning in a turbulent environment: evidences from oil majors, StrategicManagementJournal,24 (2), 491-517.

Husted, B. W. & Salazar, J. (2006).Taking Friedman seriously: maximizing profits and social performance, Journal of management studies,43 (1), 75-91.

Jackson, J.(2001). Prioritizing customers and other stakeholders using the AHP, European journal of Marketing, 35(8), 858-71.

Kaplan, R. & Norton, D. (1992). The balanced score card: measures that drive performance. Harvard business review,34(3), 71-79.

Mintzberg, H. (1978). Patterns in strategy formation. Management science, 24 (9), 934-948.

Mitchell, R. K. & Wood, D. J. (1997). Toward a theory of stakeholder identification and salience: defining the principle of who and what really counts. Academy of management review, 22 (4), 853-86.

Porter, M. E. (1979). How competitive forces shape strategy. Harvard business review, 57( 2),137-45.

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