Assessing the Strategic Plans of Medium Sized Cities in Texas
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This paper identifies ideal components of strategic plans for local governments and it assesses the extent to which Texas medium sized cities have adhered to the practical ideal type. The ideal components of a strategic plan have been developed through review of scholarly literature. The ideal strategic plan is organized into four categories: Organizational Background, Organizational Assessment, Organizational Needs and Desires and Organizational Future Appearance. Twenty three strategic plans, of an original twenty four mid-sized Texas cities, were assessed in comparison to the ideal strategic plan categories. Only one city did not have a strategic plan.
The cities were selected based on size; twenty four Texas cities had a population over 50,000 but less than 100,000. Population growth in Texas has caused medium sized cities to expand and this was factor in selecting them. A coding sheet was developed to assist the researcher in analysis of each city's strategic plan and descriptive statistics were used to present the data in a manageable form to describe the relationship of plan elements with ideal elements. A summary of the results explains the degree to which medium sized cities have followed the practical ideal type.
The overall assessment of the strategic plans revealed they did not meet the practical ideal type criteria established in the literature. It is noted that many strategic plans contained more than half of the total ideal type criteria and thus received a passing grade. Several elements of the 'Organizational Needs and Desires' category, which included goals, objectives and strategic issues, were present in almost all of the 23 cities. Internal assessment, a part of the Organizational Assessment, was one of the least present elements in the documents studied in this research.