This article will help you to learn about the comparison between plan and planning.

Management theorists often draw a distinction between plans and planning. Plans are simply statements of the things to be done and the sequence and timing in which they should be done in order to achieve a given end.

But planning involves:

(i) Deciding on aims and objectives,


(ii) Selecting the correct strategies and programmes to achieve the aims,

(iii) Determining and allocating the resources required and

(iv) Ensuring that plans are communicated to all concerned.

And our above definition of planning suggests that the planning process involves the continual evaluation, analysis, and adjustment of organisational activities toward defined and agreed upon objectives. E. W. Reeilley has suggested as early as 1955 that “successful planning has to be based on a searching look within, a broad look around, and a long look ahead.”


The implications are clear:

1. The look within involves “through reviews of organisational assets, including human resources, facilities and equipment, location and patents and trade-marks.”

2. The broad look around, as the name implies, “is relations oriented, focusing upon such factors as the organisation’s relations with suppliers, lenders, customers, and the commu­nity.”

3. The long look ahead “combines the above factors with forecasts that relate the present to the future.”


In fact, a plan is just a programme of action regarding the future based on the initial resources of the company and planning is the process through which a plan is carried out in practice. Thus the term ‘plan’ is basically a theoretical concept but the term ‘planning’ has a practical bias. The alternative to a plan is chaos or disorder. Likewise the alternative to planning is random walk (behaviour).

Boone and Koontz have highlighted the point that “plans are natural outgrowths of the planning process. They are detailed expressions of action necessary to accomplish stated organisational objectives. Once plans are formulated and implemented, they are periodically evaluated to deter­mine their success in moving the organisation in the direction of its stated goals.” In short, plans are result of the planning process.