Does formal strategic planning matter? An analysis of strategic management and perceived usefulness in Norwegian municipalities
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- SAM - Handelshøyskolen 
Original versionJohnsen Å. Does formal strategic planning matter? An analysis of strategic management and perceived usefulness in Norwegian municipalities. International Review of Administrative Sciences. 2019;87(4) https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0020852319867128
This article assesses whether municipal managers perceive strategic planning as most useful when integrated in mandatory area or financial planning processes or conducted in processes with separate strategic planning documents. Despite being widely adopted in practice and being extensively debated in scholarly discourse for decades, current research has little empirical grounding for providing advice for policy makers and public managers on such common design choices. Multiple regression analysis of 128 Norwegian municipalities shows that voluntary using a separate strategic planning document was related to the top-management’s perceived usefulness of the strategic planning. Integrating the strategic planning in other management processes was also related to the perceived usefulness of the strategic planning. Using mandatory planning documents such as four-year financial plans and long-term area plans as the main strategic planning document, formality or stakeholder involvement in the planning processes, were unexpectedly not related to the perceived usefulness of the strategic planning.