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Challenges to strategic planning in public institutions: A study of the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, South Africa

Nqobile Dlamini (School of Public Management and Administration, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)
Adrino Mazenda (School of Public Management and Administration, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)
Tyanai Masiya (School of Public Management, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)
Norman Tafirenyika Nhede (School of Public Management and Administration, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 17 January 2020

Issue publication date: 28 January 2020

905

Abstract

Purpose

A strategic plan is a document used to communicate an organisation’s goals and the actions needed to achieve those goals. Strategic planning in public organisations promotes timely decisions, enhances the management of limited resources in a more rational manner, improves service delivery and induces greater satisfaction of customers. The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to critically examine the strategic planning challenges facing the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS), and how these impact organisational performance; second, to identify strategies that can be implemented to enhance strategic planning and performance management in the DTPS.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper used a qualitative case study design with the aid of document analysis to provide insight into the research questions.

Findings

The paper concludes that public institutions such as the DTPS face a plethora of challenges that militate against successful strategic planning and implementation. A major challenge is resistance to change arising from a desire to maintain the status quo. This paper argues that it is important to promote strategic planning, and aligning organisational objectives with performance in public institutions.

Research limitations/implications

This study is based on documentary research and therefore its findings may lack current findings that would have emerged from direct interviews.

Practical implications

This research contributes towards efforts being made to make strategic planning and implementation effective and credible in public institutions especially in sub Saharan Africa.

Originality/value

In many South African public institutions, strategic planning is viewed as the work of top management, a misconception which compromises service delivery. In addition, strategic planning has been implemented as a direct attempt to inhibit poor budgetary planning and corruption in procurement systems, and in order to effectively manage public resources. There is a need for the department to conduct regular skills development programmes, uproot top-level bureaucracy, and increase innovation, monitoring and evaluation of organisational activities.

Keywords

Citation

Dlamini, N., Mazenda, A., Masiya, T. and Nhede, N.T. (2020), "Challenges to strategic planning in public institutions: A study of the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, South Africa", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 109-124. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPL-10-2019-0062

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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