Strategic cycling: Shaking complacency in healthcare strategic planning

Jim Begun, Kathleen B. Heatwole

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


As the conditions affecting business and healthcare organizations in the United States have become more turbulent and uncertain, strategic planning has decreased in popularity. Strategic planning is criticized for stifling creative responses to the new marketplace and for fostering compartmentalized organizations, adherence to outmoded strategies, tunnel vision in strategy formulation, and overemphasis on planning to the detriment of implementation. However, effective strategic planning can be a force for mobilizing all the constituents of an organization, creating discipline in pursuit of a goal, broadening an organization's perspective, improving communication among disciplines, and motivating the organization's workforce. It is worthwhile for healthcare organizations to preserve these benefits of strategic planning, at the same time recognizing the many sources of turbulence and uncertainty in the healthcare environment. A model of 'strategic cycling' is presented to address the perceived shortcomings of traditional strategic planning in a dynamic environment. The cycling model facilitates continuous assessment of the organization's mission/values/vision and primary strategies based on feedback from benchmark analysis, shareholder impact, and progress in strategy implementation. Multiple scenarios and contingency plans are developed in recognition of the uncertain future. The model represents a compromise between abandoning strategic planning and the traditional, linear model of planning based on progress through predetermined stages to a masterpiece plan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-352
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Healthcare Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


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