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Strategic Planning in Public Sector Engineering Organization

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ABSTRACT: In today's engineering and construction industries, the concepts of company loyalty, traditional competitors, and employee development are changing at a pace that has not previously been encountered in postindustrial times. In response to these changing concepts private and public organizations alike are increasing their emphasis on long-term or strategic planning. This paper introduces strategy planning, describes the expected results of strategic planning efforts in engineering and construction organizations, and provides a case study illustration of the process for the City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering (a 1,000person public sector architectural and engineering organization). The case study describes the seven steps used by the Bureau starting with building a strategic planning team to ending with evaluation of the implementation effort. Lessons learned from the case study are used to identify several recommendations for future planning efforts in the area of strategic planning.


The history of strategy and strategic planning covers a broad timeline from ancient Greece to the 21st century. Organizations, practitioners, and researchers from every sector of the professional world have focused on strategy as a primary topic at some point (Chinowsky 1999). In contrast to mathematics, physics, or material science, strategy does not contain universal truths that can be documented through scientific theorems and proofs. However, as illustrated through the extensive history of

strategic planning, scientific and management advancements have been integrally related to the field for centuries. From this development, strategic planning encompasses principles from a combination of quantitative and qualitative fields. On the quantitative side, management and industrial sciences have formalized the domains of operations, logistics, and finance. Complementing this quantitative rigor are the qualitative human dimensions of psychology, sociology, and human resource management. In combination, these quantitative and qualitative elements address diverse organization needs including professional, technical, and strategic demands.



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