Management by objectives

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Management by objectives
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Management by objectives (MBO) is a comprehensive technique, result-oriented, possible to use not only in industrial organizations, but also in public institutions. According to this concept, the manager together with his subordinates systematically determine the personal and team objectives. Objectives should have a moderate degree of difficulty, be substantiated, and at the same time such that the employee was willing to accept and get involved in their implementation. Rewards must be directly related and equivalent to the objectives achieved by the employee. This technique helps managers in matching awards to the individual needs of employees, explains the expectations, ensure justice in rewarding.

Idea of management by goals (objectives)

The idea of ​​management by objectives (MBO) has been developed and published by Peter Drucker rather as a way of applying targets to motivate people than to control them. He wrote that "the effective management must be guided by the vision and effort of all managers toward a common purpose." It is assumed that employees act in accordance with the assumptions of the theory of Y (i.e., physical and mental effort in work is as natural as play or rest, commitment to goals is a function of rewards associated with their achievement, people acting on objectives exercise self-direction and self-control, the average person learns under the right conditions, people are not afraid to take over the responsibility, and even strive for it, imagination, creativity and ingenuity needed to solve the problems of the organization, are widespread in the population of workers).

Over the years, the concept was variously modified and refined but in general its main message has not changed: the aim should be to improve the efficiency of management and their subordinates.

Management by objectives implementation

Properly introduced management by objectives is permeating the entire organization enabling a significant improvement in short- and long-term planning and, perhaps most importantly, focus on activities that are relevant from the perspective of the success of the company as a whole. It allows to articulate manager's expectations to a single employee and their enforcement. This leads to the optimization of the organizational structure - responsibilities are precise and actually observed, followed and supported by delegation of difficult tasks.

Management by objectives provides effective procedures for monitoring the degree of implementation, allow corrections and improvement of the performance of individual employees. One of the most important benefits is more just evaluation based on objective criteria, and consequently more adequate reward and promotion. In the longer term, typical of the MBO element of participation in the decision making process can significantly enhance the motivation of the individual and the belief that by doing his duties in the company he acquires his own aspirations.

The components of the Management By Objectives system

Individual MBO systems can be very different from each other. Some concern the individuals in the organization and other organizations as a whole, some insist on planning at the corporate level and other on individual and individual motivation. The most effective MBO systems include following six elements:

  • Commitment - on all level of management. Both in the process of determining how and evaluation of objectives.
  • Setting objectives at the highest level of management - the top management determines the strategy of the organization and outlines the main objectives, by which both managers and employees have a clearer picture of the organization's strategy, which allows them to better plan and implement individual goals and feel their own share in success of organization.
  • Individual goals are determined for each employee on every level of organization. This way of setting objectives allows an employee to understand exactly what is expected of him and helps to efficiently plan how to implement the planned activities.
  • Participation - the greater the involvement of both managers and employees in setting goals, the greater is the chance to achieve those objectives. One of the distinguishing features of the MBO is the participation in goal setting.
  • Independence in carrying out the plans - after the goals are set, everyone has a lot of flexibility in their implementation, without the interference of management.
  • Reviews of the efficiency - workers and managers meet periodically in order to review the implementation of the company objectives. Determine potential problems and decide what could be done to solve them. If necessary goals can be changes for the next period.

Rules for implementing management by objectives

Involvement in the process at all levels of the organization, Setting objectives at the highest level, individual goals - determined in consultation with the supervisor, autonomy in carrying out the plans - the objective, systematic assessment of the results, continuous commitment to the highest level, education and training of managers, clear formulation of objectives, an effective flow of information on the results, encouraging the participation

Benefits of Management by Objectives

The main benefit of management by objectives is improved employee motivation, resulting from the participation in shaping the goals and tasks. Resulting from interaction in goal setting is better communication. It is also easier control employees and processes thorough the company. Periodic setting of objectives contributes to maintaining the progress of the organization towards realization of its long-term goals.

On the other hand, the use of the technique of management by objectives may end in failure, if there is no support of top management, and implementation is delegated to lower-level management. Another problem is the excessive focus on quantitative targets, associated with an excess of bureaucracy and reporting. Problems in the application of technology also result from a lack of ability or willingness to cooperate between superiors and subordinates.

Management by objectives can be a source of creative energy. it can increase the involvement of employees, enabling them to participate in management, which strengthens the whole organization. Everyone knows what is expected of him, forcing management to set objectives and determine the timing of their implementation, facilitates communication managers and subordinates, promotes understanding by employees of the purpose of the organization, provides a fair assessment, and allows employees to self-assessment of their work.

Problems with MBO implementation

Inadequate style of management and lack of management support, reluctance to change, no interpersonal skills, problems in defining job descriptions, employee relationship efforts on the work of others, it can cause frustration, setting the mind on the objectives can limit creativity and innovation

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Author: Krzysztof Wozniak