Question & Answer: What's your opinion on who to involve in the planning process? What trade-offs…..

What’s your opinion on who to involve in the planning process? What trade-offs do you see with your view of stakeholder involvement?

Expert Answer

In my opinion, top level management is to involve in planning process in an organization. Since management is the thinker, it has to play prominent role in planning. Further the planning process of assessing an organization’s goals and creating a realistic, detailed plan of action for meeting those goals. The basic steps in the management planning process involve creating a road map that outlines each task the company must accomplish to meet its overall objectives.

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Trade-off analysis is a process whereby stakeholders are engaged to consider the merits of different management strategies, and explicitly determine management priorities. It requires information to be able to answer stakeholders’ questions about impacts of different activities on the resource in question. Organising that information, so that it is understandable and useable is a central feature of tradeoff analysis. Trade-off analysis is a tool that can help decision-makers understand resource use conflicts and stakeholders’ preferences for management.

Trade-off analysis begins with a stakeholder analysis to identify stakeholders, and a conflict assessment to determine stakeholders’ interests and potential useconflicts. Information from the analysis can be used to generate future development scenarios. The stakeholders who have been identified as important to the process are then engaged to agree upon a set of likely impacts of the alternative future scenarios (these impacts are referred to as the management criteria) for the resource under investigation – in this case the coastal zone. This information forms the basis for the multi-criteria analysis. Information is collected to determine the impacts of the alternative future scenarios on each of the management criteria. This information is collated in an ‘Effects Table’, a table containing all the information. Multi-criteria analysis is used to analyse the data that has been collected. The multi-criteria analysis method generates a ranking of the alternative future scenarios, from a least preferred outcome to a most preferred outcome. The impact of the stakeholders’ management preferences on this ranking is then assessed. The stakeholders are again engaged and asked to express their priorities for management in an iterative process using information dissemination, trust building and consensus building techniques. At each stage of the iterative process the stakeholders’ preferences, in the form of weights, are fed into the multi-criteria analysis model. Each time a ranking of outcomes is generated and this is circulated to all other stakeholder groups. Again, using consensus building techniques, the stakeholders are given the opportunity to reconsider their prioritisation in light of the other groups’ stated priorities. The purpose of this is to reveal to stakeholder groups the areas of consensus on which they already agree, and to indicate to the decision-makers the future development options that would be supported by the stakeholders. Finally, all the stakeholder groups are brought together in a consensus building workshop to identify specific management decisions they support, and actions that they can undertake to contribute to the desired outcome. Trade-off analysis can be undertaken at a range of levels of participation and available information. The depth of the analysis depends on the available resources to expend on the investigation.

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