A case study of strategic planning and competitive strategy as applied to two institutions of higher education

Conchita Yvonne Battle, University of Pennsylvania


The purpose of this study was to discover whether there was a similar relationship between strategic planning and the process of competitive in higher education institutions. The case study method, in conjunction with an analysis of the literature written by George Keller, Kenichi Ohmae, and Michael E. Porter, was used in order to ascertain the correlation between strategic planning and competitive analysis. Findings of the study discovered institutional change as the main impetus that led the two institutions studied to begin thinking about finances, student enrollment, educational quality and curriculum in and out of the immediate institutional environment, which are core elements of strategic planning. Given how difficult implementing strategic planning is in any environment this study discovered that the reality of successfully developing an effective plan is even more of a problem for higher education. This was demonstrated in three ways: (1) there is no clear product; (2) planning is just one activity; and (3) it is easy for an institution to chart and write down its ideas, but it is much harder to actually make change occur. The limitations of trying to apply business theory to higher education lie in the sole premise that colleges and universities are non-profit organizations, unlike business entities. The case studies also show how difficult it is to actually apply theory, whether higher education or business, to day-to-day practice. Recommendations for the successful integration of strategic planning and competitive strategy in higher education include: (1) a far-sighted leader; (2) institutional vision; (3) an adequate information system; (4) an effective faculty governance system; and (5) financial stability.

Subject Area

Higher education|School administration

Recommended Citation

Battle, Conchita Yvonne, "A case study of strategic planning and competitive strategy as applied to two institutions of higher education" (1999). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9930538.