Respond in one of the following ways:
Reminder: Be sure to support your posting and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources and/or current literature. Use APA formatting to cite references in your posting and responses.
The Urban Planning Council is a governmental land use planning authority with responsibility for regulation and planning of property development in a Middle Eastern country. The organization carries out reviews of private sector land use master plans, providing input and advice as well as issuing permits. The organization also prepares master plans in-house in response to market demands for social housing. Finally, the Urban Planning Council is responsible for the creation, evolution, dissemination and implementation of various planning regulations, guide manuals and design standards to be adhered to by all entities in the sector.
The mandates handed down to the Urban Planning Council by the higher levels of government are:
According to Bryson (2011), a strategic issue is a “fundamental policy question or challenge affecting [the] mandates, missions, values…” of the organization. Two potential challenges that the organization may face within the strategic planning process are detailed here:
Firstly, the mandates of other governmental and semi-governmental organizations (key stakeholders) are not always clear or static. The government frequently rearranges and/or merges departments within different stand-alone agencies, in an effort to clarify and rationalize their mandates or to simplify the regulatory environment as a whole in the country. This applies to utility service companies, transport authorities, county-level municipal organizations and sector-specific regulatory entities. In the past 10 years, such changes have happened at least once per year at some level.
Secondly, the government has also been known to declare expatriate recruitment bans from time to time, in addition to ordering the removal of a percentage of existing expatriate employees. During such bans, which can last for a year or two, no government entity is allowed to permanently employ any foreign workers or professionals. This is done in an effort to ensure the highest possible levels of citizen employment. In this context, the term citizen refers to a national of the country. Such citizenship is only available by hereditary birth-right. There is no process for naturalization or application for citizenship by non-nationals, even for expatriate children born in the country. For the purposes of this discussion, citizens will hereafter be referred to as locals.
During the strategic planning process, the identification of these challenges takes place as part of Bryson’s (2011) fifth step in the process – “Identifying Strategic Issues Facing the Organization” (p. 185). This step is most effectively carried out in an organizational culture that encourages broad thinking and in-depth consideration of negative situations and implications, which is not necessarily in line with the culture of the locals. There are “at least eight” approaches to identifying issues such as these (Bryson, 2011, p. 194-195):
In the case of the Urban Planning Council, a combination of the direct approach and the goals approach would be most suitable, based on the abstract nature of the organization’s mandates, the existing culture of linear thinking and the “hierarchical authority structures” (dominated by locals) that are currently in place (Bryson, 2011, p. 195).
Overcoming the above-mentioned two challenges for the Urban Planning Council may require revisions to the organization’s mandates, based on the lack of availability of professional locals with suitable regulatory experience. It may be that the mandate should be reduced and simplified, in light of resource restrictions. Similarly, with regard to the potential restructuring of or merging with other governmental entities, organizational change is an inevitable requirement in order to accommodate such shifts in the stakeholder environment. Improved use of technological (data sharing and research) resources may also help to achieve “participative and collaborative” working relationships (Bryson, 2011, p. 429-430).
Bryson, J. M. (2011). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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