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Dissertation Abstract

The Strategic Planning Process and Local Government: A Naturalistic Inquiry into the use of Electronic Meeting Systems Software in the Strategic Planning Process

Pamela Sue Olson Staggs
Regent University

Strategic planning is a valuable tool for public sector organizations. Electronic Meeting Systems (EMS) software enhances the ability to include a larger number and broader spectrum of participants. Increased participation in the strategic planning process, particularly in public sector organizations, has proven to increase support for the decisions made and the strategies developed. Research, in controlled settings, indicates that using an EMS increases the speed of decision making, improves the quality of decisions reached, and automatically documents the process. The purpose of this dissertation was to determine if the use of electronic meeting system software affected the participants' perception of the strategic planning process in comparison with strategic planning using a traditional manual strategic planning process. This dissertation focuses on one local government's information technology department that has used both a traditional strategic planning process and EMS software to automate the strategic planning process. Chapter One examines the importance of strategic planning for local governments in a climate of rising pubic expectations from government. Chapter Two is a literature review that examines strategic planning in the public and private sector and electronic meeting system software. Chapter Three provides a detailed description of the research method used for this study. Chapter Four presents the findings and provides the results and analysis. Finally, Chapter Five presents the discussion and conclusions regarding the study.