Enhancing strategic planning in the UK construction industry

Strategic planning is a key management function which provides future direction and helps determine the competitiveness of companies. Evidence suggests that construction companies put less emphasis in exercising this function than their counterparts in other sectors. In order to understand current practice, a questionnaire survey and a workshop of senior managers in the UK construction sector was conducted, the results of which are reported here. This provides a platform for a proposed process framework for enhancing the strategic planning practices of companies within the construction sector using the principles of scenario planning. The proposed framework was derived from futures literature and evolved through a series of interactions with key construction industry stakeholders. The framework emphasises that the appreciation of relevant external factors and industry scenarios, in addition to the stakeholder engagement throughout the process, helps determine the overall effectiveness of the scenario planning undertaken. Benefit is maximised from having a common understanding of alternative futures, obtained by explicitly capturing perceived future events, drivers and associated interconnectivities investigated in the scenario mapping exercises. This should help UK construction companies involved in the process to better navigate their potential future(s) and hence enhance their strategic planning practices.