Although some theorists try to draw a fine distinction between goals and objectives managers usually use the terms interchangeably.
Goals or objectives are considered important ends towards which organizational and individual activities are directed.
An objective may be defined as a specific commitment to achieve a measurable result within a given time: period.
According to many experts, objectives are the single most important feature of the planning process.
All managers must be able to set good objectives, to be aware of their importance, and to understand how objectives combine to form a means-ends chain.
According to Anthony P. Raia,
Objectives should be expressed in quantitative, measurable, concrete terms, in the form of a written statement of expected results to be achieved within a given period of time.
In other words,
objectives should represent a firm commitment to attain something specific. So a well written objective should state what and when is to be accomplished in an organization.
Objectives mean end results, and overall objectives require to be supported by sub-projects.
Objectives tend to constitute a hierarchy as well as a network. A hierarchy ranges from a broad aim to specific individual objectives.
The highest peak of the hierarchy is the socioeconomic purpose of society, such as requiring the company to contribute to the welfare of the people by providing goods and services at a reasonable cost.
Then there is the mission or purpose of business which might be to supply convenient and cheaper transportation for common people.
The stated purpose might be to produce market and service automobiles.
Missions or purposes, in turn, are translated into general overall objectives and strategies, such as producing low cost, environment-friendly automobiles.
The next level of the hierarchy constitutes more specific objectives, such as those in the vitally important result areas. These are the key result areas in which performance is essential for the success of the organization.
The following are some of the examples of objectives for key result areas:
(a) to get a 10 percent return on investment by the end of the financial year 2006-7.(profitability),
(b) to increase production of x products by 7 percent without increasing cost or reducing the current standard of quality by June, 2007 (productivity).
The objectives are then divided and delegated into division, department and section objectives down to the lowest level of the organization.
Ensuring Verifiability of Objectives
Objectives that can be measured are verifiable. This means that in order to make objectives verifiable one must be able to quantify them as far as possible.
Thus, A manager
Who wants to ensure verifiability of objectives must be able to answer the question like—”At the end of a year (period), how do I know if the objective has been accomplished?”
For example, the objective of earning a rate of return on investment of 20 percent at the end of the current fiscal year can well be verified against the actual performance of the year.
On the other hand,
If the objective is to earn a reasonable profit in a particular year, does not indicate how much profit is to be made.
what is reasonable to the subordinate may not be at all reasonable to the manager.
Examples of how non-verifiable objectives can be made verifiable;
|Non-verifiable objectives||Verifiable objectives|
|To improve sales.||To improve sales by 25% in 2006|
|To make reasonable profit.||To achieve a profit of 18% in 2006|
|Improve labor-management relations.||To reduce the incidence of strike and lockout during the next five years by 50%|
|To augment the training program.||To train 50% of the executives and 70% of the workers during the five years through 2005 to 2010.|
|To improve communication.||To convene five meetings with departmental managers every month in 2006.|