Corporate Planning


Growth and development are not the same thing. Neither is necessary for the other. A rubbish heap can grow but it does not develop. Artists can develop without growing. Nevertheless, many managers take development to be the same as growth. Most efforts directed at corporate development are actually directed at corporate growth.

To grow is to increase in size or number. To develop is to increase one’s ability and desire to satisfy one’s own needs and legitimate desires and those of others. A legitimate desire is one that, when satisfied, does not impede the development of anyone else.

Development of individuals and corporations is more a matter of learning than earning. It has less to do with how much one has than how much one can do with whatever one has.

Development is better reflected in quality of life than in standard of living. Therefore, the level of development of a corporation is better reflected in the quality of work life it provides its employees than in its profit-and-loss statement.

If an undeveloped country or corporation was flooded with money it would be richer but no more developed. On the other hand, if a well developed country or corporation was suddenly deprived of wealth, it would not be less developed.

A well-developed country or corporation can do more with its resources than one that is less developed. This is not to say that the amount of resources available is irrelevant. Resources can be used to accelerate development and improve quality of life, but they can best be used for these purposes by those who are developed.

Growth and development do not have to conflict; they can reinforce each other. The best evidence that this is happening is a simultaneous increase in standard of living and quality of life. However, there is currently a widespread belief that quality of life is being sacrificed to increase standard of living. This belief is accompanied by a willingness to sacrifice standard of living to improve quality of life, a willingness that is reflected in the environmentalist movement.

A lack of resources can limit growth but not development. The more developed individuals, organisations, or societies become the less they depend on resources and the more they can do with whatever resources they have. They also have the ability and the desire to create or acquire the resources they need.

An individual can grow too much. Some people and many societies believe that a corporation can too. But would anyone argue that individuals, corporations, or countries can develop too much?


ACKOFF, R. L. (1986). Management in Small Doses, Wiley, NY.