Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Management


This thesis reports an investigation of the relationship between direct, indirect and internal perceived environmental conditions and the characteristics of the corporate strategic planning employed by Malaysian private firms. This thesis provides a framework for understanding the influence of direct, indirect and internal sectors of the environment as perceived by senior organisational members on the extent of planning characteristics employed by organisations. Five hypotheses stemming from the conceptual framework were used to relate two dimensions of the environment; i.e. perceived complexity and perceived uncertainty and characteristics of planning. This also includes two contextual factors; i.e. organisational size and managerial values/beliefs and their relationship with characteristics of planning.

The research was conducted in Malaysia, and the organisations used for the research were private enterprises. One hundred and seventy six (176) firms participated in the research, representing both the manufacturing and service sector. Using mail questionnaires and personally administered questionnaires, top management in each firm including head of planning was surveyed. The data collected were explored to test the expectations from the theoretical model. Preliminary data analyses indicated that the measures used have acceptable reliability and validity.

The results of data analysis significantly supported most of the major hypotheses and propositions. Specifically, clear linkages were found between perceived environmental complexity of the direct, indirect and internal sectors and most of the corporate planning characteristics investigated. Generally, planning was found not necessarily useful under high uncertainty.

Strong relationships were found between organisational size and managerial values/beliefs and most of the planning variables investigated. Planning was also found to vary by organisational size and/or managerial values at different complexity levels.

The results also showed significant differences in the design features employed among firms across different levels of complexity, organisational size and managerial values.

The results of the thesis were discussed with respect to major findings and significance for strategic management theory and practice. The thesis concluded with a discussion on the limitations of the research and suggestions for future research.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.