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Seven aspects of strategy formation: Exploring the value of planning

Fletcher, Margaret and Harris, Simon (2002) Seven aspects of strategy formation: Exploring the value of planning. International Small Business Journal, 20 (3). pp. 291-306. ISSN 0266-2426

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Abstract

It has been widely argued that the planning approach that dominates entrepreneurial training does not represent either actual or good strategic decision-making. Studies examining the impact of planning on performance have had inconclusive results and have been subject to considerable methodological problems. This study defines planning and emergent approaches within seven constituent aspects of strategy formation, and then explores their association with growth. Data was gathered from participants of a Graduate Enterprise business start-up programme, seven to twelve years after completing their training. The data was analysed to assess the association between growth and low growth firms and their use of 'planning' or 'emergent' alternatives within the seven aspects. Some planning approaches were associated with growth. Using a written business plan, however, was not. Future research needs to identify the constituent aspects of planning that are of value, which entrepreneurship education programmes can then reflect.