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Strategic Planning in the Malawi Public Sector: Potential Tool for Progress or Regression?

Abstract

The process of developing strategic plans in the public sector is regarded as one indicator of positive reform in the system. The assumption is that strategic planning ensures that (just like in the private sector) public sector organizations’ operations should cost less but deliver better service. Ultimately the argument is that public sector institutional governance and responsiveness to the citizenry is not only seen but felt. However, strategic planning has to be done in an appropriate manner for it to deliver. For instance an analysis of the underlying motives, the role of leadership in the process as well as the relevance or viability of the guiding strategic planning model significantly affect the nature of expected results. In the early 2000s, the Malawi public sector embarked on a serious drive towards strategic planning process as part of its reform package. In order to ascertain it’s potential to transform the Malawi public service, this paper focuses at critically analyzing the strategic planning process in the Malawi public sector by among other things asking: who initiated and led the process? What approach determined the process? What is the possible potentiality of the adopted strategic planning approach in enhancing the reform agenda in Malawi? Based on interviews with senior officers in key Malawi public sector institutions, the paper concludes that the strategic planning process is ‘transitional and fluid’ hence lacks the clout to effectively enhance reforms in this sector. Another finding is that lack of effective leadership has largely contributed to the status quo.

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Correspondence to Happy Mickson Kayuni.

Appendix

Appendix

Table 2 Bunning’s model of strategic planning approach in the public sector with an added element of ‘Transitional & Fluid’ approach

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Kayuni, H.M. Strategic Planning in the Malawi Public Sector: Potential Tool for Progress or Regression?. Public Organiz Rev 17, 373–391 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11115-016-0345-3

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Keywords

  • Strategic planning
  • Strategic management
  • Public sector reform
  • New Public Management
  • Leadership
  • Malawi