Strategic Control vs Operational Control: Difference and Comparison

Strategic control is a process that involves setting goals, developing strategies to achieve those goals, and then monitoring the progress of those strategies.

It focuses on long-term objectives throughout an organization. While operational control is a process used to ensure that planned objectives carry out everyday operations within an organization.

This process involves measuring performance against previously established standards and making necessary adjustments to achieve targets.

Both types of control involve setting goals and objectives, measuring progress towards them, and correcting any deviation from the plan.

However, strategic control focuses on long-term objectives, while operational control is more concerned with short-term results.

This distinction enables organizations to achieve their desired outcomes more effectively.

Key Takeaways

  1. Strategic control monitors and adjusts long-term business strategies, while operational control manages resources and processes.
  2. Strategic control requires the evaluation of external factors and alignment with organizational goals, whereas operational control emphasizes efficiency and effectiveness within the organization.
  3. Strategic control involves top-level management decisions, while operational control is handled by middle and lower-level management.
Strategic Control vs Operational Control

Strategic Control vs Operational Control

Strategic control is the process of monitoring and adjusting a company’s strategy to achieve long-term goals. Operational control is the day-to-day management of a company’s operations, with mid-level managers and supervisors responsible for implementing strategies and using resources effectively.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonStrategic ControlOperational Control
MeaningStrategic Control implies a process of controlling the formulation and implementation of an organization’s plan and strategy.Operational Control systems are framed to ensure that routine operations align with the company’s plans and objectives.
Main concernGuiding the future direction of the companyAction control
Strives forEffectivenessEfficiency
DeterminesIs the company moving in the right direction?How efficiently is the company performing?
Performed byTop-level executivesFunctional level executives
Factors AffectingExternal environmentInternal Environment
FocusMonitoring and evaluation of the strategic management process.Individual tasks and operations
Time HorizonLong TermShort Term

What is Strategic Control?

Strategic control is an important aspect of effective business management.

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It involves evaluating performance against predetermined goals and objectives and ensuring that processes, systems, and activities align with the organization’s strategy.

Strategic control focuses on the larger picture and helps to ensure that initiatives are successfully implemented.

The process of strategic control consists of several elements, including setting objectives, monitoring progress, and evaluating results.

Setting objectives involves analyzing the organization’s strengths and weaknesses as well as its resources and capabilities to determine what it needs to achieve to remain competitive.   

The organization must then create an action plan outlining how it will reach these objectives.

Monitoring progress is an essential element of strategic control. It also includes assessing the performance of key personnel, processes, technologies, and other resources.

Evaluation is another important part of strategic control. Once objectives have been established and progress monitored, organizations need to evaluate the results of their efforts.

Strategic control helps ensure that organizations remain competitive in their respective markets.

 It enables organizations to adjust quickly to changing external and internal conditions, allowing them to stay ahead of the competition and maximize profits.

Strategic control also helps organizations identify potential risks and opportunities early on, enabling them to respond quickly.

By using the strategic control process, organizations can effectively monitor their performance, evaluate the results of their efforts, and make any necessary adjustments to remain competitive.

What is Operational Control?

Operational control is a broad concept that encompasses all the processes, procedures, and structures used to achieve organizational objectives.

It covers everything from setting up routines for employees to follow to tracking performance metrics and assessing results against targets.

While operational control may appear primarily concerned with managerial functions such as controlling costs or evaluating employee performance, its scope reaches far beyond these specific activities.

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Operational control is also concerned with broader aspects of the business, such as customer service, compliance, and safety.

Operational control is an essential part of any business, as it helps to meet organisational objectives. Proper operational control can help streamline processes, maximize efficiency and minimize mistakes, resulting in a more profitable and successful business.

To properly implement operational control, organizations must have clearly defined goals, policies, and procedures; a detailed understanding of the organization’s operations; an effective system for measuring performance; and a way to analyze results to make data-driven decisions.

Additionally, organizations must be able to identify any potential problems with their operational control systems and devise strategies to address them.

Main Differences Between Strategic Control and Operational Control

  1. Strategic control focuses on the organization’s long-term goals, while operational control is more concerned with daily operations.
  2. Strategic control is about ensuring that the organization is heading in the right direction, while operational control ensures that individual tasks are carried out effectively.
  3. Strategic control deals with high-level decisions, while operational control handles day-to-day tasks.
  4. Strategic control looks at the big picture, while operational control focuses on specific details.
  5. Strategic control establishes guidelines and policies, while operational control ensures these are followed.
  6. Strategic control sets standards and expectations, while operational control measures actual results against these standards.
  7. Strategic control provides guidance and support, while operational control takes corrective action when necessary.

Last Updated : 14 October, 2023

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