A planning technique that aims to integrate all the planning activities of an organisation and relate them to the best overall objectives for the organisation.
A large number of planning techniques has been extensively used in business and commerce for a considerable time. Budgetary control (q.v.) which involves a large amount of budgetary planning has been one of the most wide ranging and successful, via its materials, labour, sales, overheads, R&D, capital and cash budgets. A further development of this is the technique of profit planning (q.v.), which considers a number of alternative strategies on capital investment, expansion, diversification for example, before setting a single preferred plan. Corporate planning represents a further widening and, at the same time, a closer integration of earlier techniques. As examples of the widening process, corporate planning would normally include management development and training, environmental and community plans in addition to operating plans. As an example of closer integration, the technique would involve all managers and departments in setting objectives and determining the means to achieve them, in relation to the overall company plan.
The technique has found most favour with larger companies of mature standing, i.e. those whose days of headlong growth are over, who are subject to strong international competition and who wish to think out extremely carefully their future investment projects and at the same time to harmonise and integrate the policies, procedures and plans created in each country, division and operating unit of the company.