Abstract The role of goal setting in the management of strategic change and control is examined. Three factors driving strategic change are identified that are only superficially discussed in parts of the strategy literature: Competitive Advantage, Strategic Capabilities and Industry Key Success Factors. These factors address the control requirements of emergent as well as planned strategies. A five-factor model is proposed which underpins the importance of planning. It recognizes the importance of emergent strategies that develop in response to changes in the internal and external environments of the firm and will assist managers in assessing, anticipating and responding to changes in industry structures and competitive forces.