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‘Belief in Action: The Salvation Army, a Global Not-for-Profit Organization’ Synthesis Essay

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Strategic planning/analysis in management is a continuous process and is used to provide a framework for future organizational growth. The efficiency of an organization is determined by how effective its strategies have been formulated and implemented and how strategic the organization is in realizing its objective of providing and preserving excellent service (Bryson 2002, 173).

Strategy planning entails laying down cautiously how the organizational goals will be achieved and it includes spelling out objectives, or definite results, for every premeditated goal. Consequently, attaining a premeditated goal characteristically involves achieving a set of objectives along the. Organizations usually include budgets and human resource in their plans so as to be more specific when laying out their objectives.

Inclusion of budgets in the laying out a plan is crucial as it helps in showing how the scarce resources are going to be distributed, for example assets, human resources, expenses and operational costs. Strategic planning goes through a process from setting the mission, objectives, situation analysis, strategy creation, execution and finally control so as to achieve positive results and an effective plan of action (Bryson 2004, 248).

“Strategic planning is inextricably interwoven into the entire fabric of management and not separate and distinct from the process of management” (Steiner 1997, p.3). Management in all companies has issues characterizing it because running a business however small or big it is, involves making sound and intelligent decisions for the business to keep its doors open.

According to Appelbaum, St-Pierre & Glavas (1998, 289), though a thriving organization need not have all of the positive characteristics, most thriving organizations show more positives than negatives. Flourishing organizations tend to focus on clientele and their needs.

They invest in ways to advance sales and provide better-quality service to clients, and they do not forget that their clientele and their needs underlie their organization’s survival.

Budgets, human resources and finances

What are the stakeholder issues that the Salvation Army might encounter? How should the organization seek to resolve them?

Stakeholders of the Salvation Army may encounter a number of issues due to its insistence on the mode of operation of it’s primarily functions on a geographical basis through local autonomous territorial commissioners.

Although this may be a good and positive mode of handling their affairs, it needs to take up more bold initiatives to be able to move in sync with the ever changing 21st century and move away from the “comfortable patterns of missioning behaviour”; this will help and mould it into a more adaptable organization.

Other issues such as political influences in their operations due to their non-conflictual approach in working with other faiths and financial challenges arising from unserviced pledges from fundraisers and financers are also major concerns.

This has led the Salvation Army to result in selling off some of its assets and lay off some of its administrative staff from employment because the job or the worker has been deemed no longer necessary (Johnson, Scholes & Whittington 2008, 671; Camillus 1986, 361).

Knowledge of an organization’s strategic position is an important aspect of management if proper strategic positioning and action is to be undertaken.

For an organization to be extra efficient it must gather appropriate intelligence about its external and internal environments and it must also develop management information systems especially suited to the circumstances to prop up its strategic administration and decision making capacity.

For the Salvation Army this is crucial for it to be able to change into a more versatile organization still loyal to its staff and at the same time maintain quality service to its clients. Managers should be able to develop analytical proficiency and specialized information pedestal as an expert so that they can enhance their organization’s appraisal of its strategic position.

Given this state of affairs, it is clear change is always a constant facet of our existence and the only variable that remains is the swiftness of transformation, therefore strategic mangers have a critical and complex job (Goodstein, Nolan & Pfeiffer 1993).

Identifying a course of action and implementing strategy unto action is key process in fulfilling the strategy planning process and is a day to day activity aligned with proposed strategies within an organization. Budgets play a major role in putting a strategy into action as they act as guides to what is need to be done.

“They set standards for coordinated action and provide a basis for controlling performance to see that it is in conformance with plans” (Steiner 1997, p.215). For the Salvation Army to further imprint its authority it has to be more effective in activating its strategy points and putting them into action. It has to take into consideration both its clients and staff and come up with a balance between the two so as to be more versatile.

According to Rea and Kerzner (1997, 87) review of an organization’s customers, competitors, strengths and weaknesses provides a framework for creating an effective marketing strategy.

Mangers will have to decide which potential strategy will lead to the most growth and strongest competitive advantage. “It is, however possible to specify the requirements which must be satisfied by any approach to strategy development which can hope to be successful in today’s changeable world” (Hedley 2002, p.2).

As seen above, finances, human resources and information are key factors in strategy analysis for future organizational growth. Any strategies that are decided on have to be within an organizations budget for smooth and effective course of action to be taken or else they will fail.

The strategy implementation process cannot be carried out without having information therefore “the approach must provide a means for identifying the underlying factors which are critical for long term success at the individual organizational level, and which are sufficiently fundamental that their effects can be expected to persist indefinitely in the face of continual general environmental change” (Olsen & Eadie 1982, 139).

Secondly, the approach should provide a means of establishing the implications of these factors for the allocation of limited resources, especially cash, within an organization that undertakes a variety of activities.

Governance and strategic vision

How should the Salvation Army organize itself in terms of governance and strategic vision?

The Salvation Army’s success can be greatly attributed to its strengths, which it has in abundance. It is well known for its service to all and leadership role, and can comfortably operate in any given place or situation. In operates in over 100 countries worldwide, with a membership of over 2million members and volunteers all working or involved in different capacities it has the largest voluntary pool.

The Salvation Army has created a strong name for itself through its willingness and diverseness provision of social welfare in the world.

It also has a global presence and especially after it undertook the largest disaster response in its history by allocating close to 365 million dollars when hurricane Katrina struck the gulf coast of America, this was more than three times what the American government pledged. Salvation Army has a very efficient governing structure that monitors all its operations worldwide.

The strategic plan is a framework by which the organization defines its objectives and how it will achieve them through utilizing its resources. The plan should entail a mission, vision, benchmarks, a timeline, leadership and management actions required to support the plan and a course of action to implement the plan.

The vision affirms the proposed status of the organization after the full execution of the plan and hence it is a long term view. The mission is the organization present function to the society, and is the reason for its existence.

However, the main purpose of the strategic plan is to keep the company competitive in its services hence remain relevant in the market (Allison & Kaye 2005, 283). The Salvation Army is a massive organization spanning across 111 countries and needs that needs an efficient strategic plan particularly in the implementation of the above solutions.

…at the organizational level, performance improvement will occur when management provides the entire work force with all the necessary training and technical infrastructure to support the transformational change initiatives.

All is needed for (strategic organizational) change is to determine the right training program, technology (requirements) and the appropriate incentives for each situations (Felkins, Chakiris & Chakiris 1993, 49).

To be a better and most esteemed social provider and service to the community organization, the Salvation Army should provide its stakeholders with the best experiences. The organization should come up with a timeline of how implementation of its strategies is going to take place and spell out the course of action.

Within these timeline the strategic issues should have all been addressed hence boosting the ‘army’s’ image and influence. The objectives will be implemented in terms of their importance; the most urgently needed solution will be the first to be implemented, but it’s the responsibility of the management to establish which.

Strategic positioning

Critically discuss the strategic choices that you think are pertinent to the strategic positioning of the Salvation Army.

With the looming Salvation Army’s financial issues, the organization should adopt strategies, which address each department and territory individually that will improve efficiency in operations and also in administration and running of the worldwide ‘army’. To solve its marketing and finance issues, the Salvation Army should focus on international expansion of its social provision services.

It should first plan to increase its reach in sectors such as its service to the armed forces and health programmes by “constructing new hospitals, more mobile units and canteens for the uniformed armies along with an increased emphasis on the adaptation of new ways of service delivery and do away with their rigid stand of its earlier years (Bryson 2004, 164).

This will cushion its employees from becoming redundant. These funds in addition to funds from financers can be utilized on other matters such as; research and publication, expansion into other countries.

Human resources

The organization has very dedicated personnel both employed and volunteers, negligible labour turnover, and usually promotes the employees to take up other higher ranks or positions. The organization rewards its personnel very well and hence trains them on what it represent and what it seeks to be in the society’s mind. Learning opportunities should be encouraged as a way of helping their employees acquire new skills.

This can be through establishment of things like study leaves where they are given time off to go and study and then come and take on new position and scholarship provisions. This is a good idea although most employers and managers do not value it as they cite it raises the cost of operational costs of an organization as it will be forced to hire extra staff to take care of the vacant positions while the employees are out on study leave.

Another good way of conducting knowledge acquisition and skill improvement without incurring extra costs is by organizing in-service programs and training workshops, where the workers can improve their knowledge at the same time executing their duties. All this are contributing factors towards good relations between the employer and their employees within a given work place.

The Salvation Army places a lot of emphasis on having its people think globally, regardless of race, creed, sex, status, color or age and serve with a passion (Gorrod 2007, 671). Overall management of the organization is excellent in that the organization is big but it is able to monitor all its activities globally through a distribution of its activities into territories with territorial commanders.

The mission statement is to retain and draw funders and stakeholders by ensuring that our services and programmes are efficient, while still onto their principles for the stakeholders’ interests; while the vision statement is to be the best and most esteemed service to the community organization in the world by providing the stakeholders with the best experiences ever.

The objectives and issues to be addressed are: to develop a universal corporate culture and create ethics to govern the ‘army’s’ operations and management to ensure that its services are safe for use by its clients through improving on its quality of service, to avoid legal suits and interference from governments where they are in operation hence allowing no loopholes that might be a source of crisis, to increase revenues by expanding to new frontiers but still maintain the traditional value of quality, to improve on the accounting procedures, embrace innovative marketing strategies and to implement effective management and leadership practices, to ensure sustainability; by developing projects to conserve the environment, and uphold human rights, to embrace new technology and finally skilled personnel for quality control in a cost effective way (Thompson 1967, 96).

Sustainable growth

What could the organization do in order to sustain their growth and success in the future?

Despite the threats that face the Salvation Army in terms of changing times, the organization has several opportunities at hand. Foremost, the organization should concentrate more on attaining its objectives, which are; maintain quality service to its clients, establish a liaison with fundraisers and stakeholders by addressing employee specific needs.

To achieve this, the organization should position itself as a convenient, personalized social care provider to all. It should implement an aggressive, sophisticated marketing strategy, by considering brand-building strategies, promotional packs, and informational marketing.

It can also extend its operations by possibly providing ambulatory facilities. For future expansion plans, the Salvation Army should increase its reach into the health sector and its service to the armed forces and also strive to set up its operations in the rest of the world.

Appreciation of systems put in place for maximum efficiency, managers should be well informed of all the departments and branches of the organization and stake holders alike.

In this case, the Salvation Army has many facilities and programmes ranging from education, healthcare, residential, service to the armed forces, service to the community and much more all employing close to about more than 2 million personnel and volunteers, which should all be harmonized into one system hence creating stability and quality social care to all.

The organization’s top brass is obligated to support the organization’s strategic plan and ensure that all resources required in its implementation are available and also ensure that they are well utilized for the plan to achieve its impact and move the organization forward into the twenty first century. They ought to be capable to decide what objective is critical and how the rest will follow in terms of realization.

The management should also supervise the plan implementation to ensure that its objectives are followed. It should also ensure that the plan implementation process is documented and each stage should be evaluated to determine its benefits and demerits (Bartlett & Ghoshal 1993, 105).

Apart from dealing with just stakeholders and other external factors, the Salvation Army should strive to have cordial relationships with its workers/employees. Employee salaries’ issues are usually a sensitive matter at a workplace if not well negotiated, agreed and remunerated and this might lead to interference with working relations.

A circumstance where an employer decides on low wages for his workers translates to poor execution of duty by them. Another thing to note is the period taken to pay them, it ought to be consistent, and in case of a shortfall in the meeting of the deadline they should be informed some days prior to the day they are paid (Bradford, Duncan & Tarcy 2000, 57).

One should be paid according to the amount of work he or she has done within that specified time, by doing this the employer will be working without incidences of preferential treatment as everybody gets what’s is due to them. The salaries should also be reasonable in that they should be able to meet the needs of the workers.

The success of the organization will depend on involvement of all stakeholders and funders of the organization hence the need for more experts and partners.

While accounting and marketing new strategies objective will mainly work in structuring the organization for the future, these objectives therefore require officials to coordinate the plans and also review their performance by preparing reports quarterly which they will forward to the top commanders responsible for the plan so that the whole plan can be assessed.

Targets will be set for each objective at the commencement of each financial year, with each department been assigned adequate resources that will be monitored by the officials responsible.

There shall be agreed upon evaluation techniques which shall be used in the preparation of the quarterly reports. The reports will be used to prepare an annual report which will be used in setting the targets for the following year (Ring & Perry 1985, 281; Eden 1992, 805).


In the current business environment, change is inevitable and this creates the need now more than ever for organizations to undertake strategy analysis and formulation process so as to position themselves for the future. As it has been discussed in this paper the survival of an organization depends on its willingness to change and to what lengths it can go to achieve this.

Strategy planning depends on key fundamental points which are, budgets/resources, human resources and information. These three factors are necessary if a manger is to come up with an effective and efficient plan for implementation. A lot of organizations usually come up with good strategies but they fall short of their intended purpose as the right course of action for implementation was not efficient enough.

The management needs a continuous framework for future organizational growth and this can be achieved through strategic planning. Identifying a course of action and implementing strategy into action is key process in fulfilling the strategy planning process. Furthermore, the organization finds it easy to adapt its systems when the relation between itself and its clients and stakeholders is well established for a long term ultimate goal.

Also knowledge of an organization’s strategic position is a very important aspect of management if proper strategic positioning and action is to be undertaken.

For an organization to be extra efficient it must gather appropriate intelligence about its external and internal environments and it must also develop management information systems especially suited to the circumstances to prop up its strategic administration and decision making capacity.

In following the recommendations above Salvation Army will be able to turn around its operations and be strategically placed to tackle the ever changing business environment towards achieving its objectives.

Reference list

Allison, M. & Kaye, J., 2005. simplified strategic planning: a no-nonsense guide for busy people who want results fast. Worcester, MA: Chandler House Press.

Allison, M. & Kaye, J., 2005. Strategic planning for nonprofit organizations: a practical guide and workbook, 2nd edn. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Appelbaum, S., St-Pierre N. & Glavas, W., 1998. Strategic organizational change: the role of leadership, learning, motivation and productivity. Management Decision Vol. 36, no. 5 pp. 289–301.

Bartlett, C. & Ghoshal , S., 1993. A Beyond strategic planning to organization learning: Lifeblood of the individualized corporation. Strategy & Leadership Vol. 26, no. 1 pp. 34 – 39.

Bradford, R., Duncan, P. & Tarcy, B., 2000. simplified strategic planning: a no-nonsense guide for busy people who want results fast. Worcester, MA: Chandler House Press.

Bryson, J., 2004. Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: a guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement, 3rd edn. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Bryson, J., 2002. Strategic Planning. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences pp. 15145-15151.

Bryson, J., 2004. Creating and implementing your strategic plan: a workbook for public and nonprofit organizations, 2nd edn. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Camillus, J., 1986. Strategic planning and management control: systems for survival and success. Lexington, KY: Lexington Books.

Eden, C., 1992. Strategy development as a social process. Journal of Management Studies, vol.29: pp.799–812.

Felkins, P, Chakiris, B, & Chakiris, K (1993), Change Management: A Model for Effective Organizational Performance, Quality Resources, White Plains, New York, NY.

Goodstein, L., Scholes, K. & Pfeiffer, W., 1993. Applied strategic planning: a comprehensive guide. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Professional.

Gorrod, M., 2007. Risk Management Systems: Technology Trends (Finance and Capital Markets). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hedley, B., 2002. A fundamental approach to strategy development. Long Range Planning Vol. 9, no. 6 pp. 2-11.

Johnson, G., Scholes, K. & Whittington, R., 2008. Exploring corporate strategy: texts and cases, 8th edn. Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall.

Olsen, J. & Eadie, D., 1982. The Game Plan: Governance With foresight. Washington, D.C: Council of State Planning Agencies.

Rea, P. & Kerzner, H., 1997. Strategic Planning: A Practical Guide, 8th edn. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Ring, P. & Perry, J., 1985. Strategic management in public and private organizations: implications and distinctive contexts and constraints. Academy of Management Review Vol 10, pp. 276-286.

Steiner, G., 1997. Strategic planning: what every manager must know. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Thompson, J., 1967. Organizations in Action. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

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