The Concept Of Management By Objectives (MBO)
The concept of MBO is closely connected with the concept of planning. The process of planning implies the existence of objectives and is used as a tool/technique for achieving the objectives. Modern managements are rightly described as 'Management by Objectives' (MBO). This MBO concept was popularized by Peter Drucker. It suggests that objectives should not be imposed on subordinates but should be decided collectively by a concerned with the management. This gives popular support to them and the achievement of such objectives becomes easy and quick.
Management by Objectives (MBO) is the most widely accepted philosophy of management today. It is a demanding and rewarding style of management. It concentrates attention on the accomplishment of objectives through participation of all concerned persons, i.e., through team spirit. MBO is based on the assumption that people perform better when they know what is expected of them and can relate their personal goals to organizational objectives. Superior subordinate participation, joint goal setting and support and encouragement from superior to subordinates are the basic features of MBO. It is a result-oriented philosophy and offers many advantages such as employee motivation, high morale, effective and purposeful leadership and clear objectives before all concerned per-sons.
MBO is a participative and democratic style of management. Here, ample a scope is given to subordinates and is given higher status and positive/participative role. In short, MBO is both a philosophy and approach to management. MBO concept is different from MBC (Management by Control) and is also superior in many respects. According to the classical theory of management, top management is concerned with objectives setting, directing and coordinating the efforts of middle level managers and lower level staff. However, achievement of organizational objectives is possible not by giving orders and instructions but by securing cooperation and participation of all persons. For this, they should be associated with the management process. This is possible in the case of MBO and hence MBO is different from MBC and also superior to MBC.
MBO is an approach (to planning) that helps to overcome these barriers. MBO involves the establishment of goals by managers and their subordinates acting together, specifying responsibilities and assigning authority for achieving the goals and finally constant monitoring of performance. The genesis of MBO is attributed to Peter Drucker who has explained it in his book 'The Practice of Management'.
Definitions Of Management By Objectives MBO :-
- According to George Odiome, MBO is "a process whereby superior and subordinate managers of an Organisation jointly define its common goals, define each individual's major areas of responsibility in terms Of results expected of him and use these measures as guides for operating the unit and assessing the contribution of each of its members."
- According to John Humble, MBO is "a dynamic system which seeks to integrate the company's needs to clarify and achieve its profits and growth goals with the manager's need to contribute and develop himself. It is a demanding and rewarding style of managing a business."
Features Of Management By Objectives MBO :-
- Superior-subordinate participation: MBO requires the superior and the subordinate to recognize that the development of objectives is a joint project/activity. They must be jointly agree and write out their duties and areas of responsibility in their respective jobs.
- Joint goal-setting: MBO emphasizes joint goal-setting that are tangible, verifiable and measurable. The subordinate in consultation with his superior sets his own short-term goals. However, it is examined both by the superior and the subordinate that goals are realistic and attainable. In brief, the goals are to be decided jointly through the participation of all.
- Joint decision on methodology: MBO focuses special attention on what must be accomplished (goals) rather than how it is to be accomplished (methods). The superior and the subordinate mutually devise methodology to be followed in the attainment of objectives. They also mutually set standards and establish norms for evaluating performance.
- Makes way to attain maximum result: MBO is a systematic and rational technique that allows management to attain maximum results from available resources by focussing on attainable goals. It permits lot of freedom to subordinate to make creative decisions on his own. This motivates subordinates and ensures good performance from them.
- Support from superior: When the subordinate makes efforts to achieve his goals, superior's helping hand is always available. The superior acts as a coach and provides his valuable advice and guidance to the subordinate. This is how MBO facilitates effective communication between superior and subordinates for achieving the objectives/targets set.
Steps In Management By Objectives Planning :-
- Goal setting: The first phase in the MBO process is to define the organizational objectives. These are determined by the top management and usually in consultation with other managers. Once these goals are established, they should be made known to all the members. In setting objectives, it is necessary to identify "Key-Result Areas' (KRA).
- Manager-Subordinate involvement: After the organizational goals are defined, the subordinates work with the managers to determine their individual goals. In this way, everyone gets involved in the goal setting.
- Matching goals and resources: Management must ensure that the subordinates are provided with necessary tools and materials to achieve these goals. Allocation of resources should also be done in consultation with the subordinates.
- Implementation of plan: After objectives are established and resources are allocated, the subordinates can implement the plan. If any guidance or clarification is required, they can contact their superiors.
- Review and appraisal of performance: This step involves periodic review of progress between manager and the subordinates. Such reviews would determine if the progress is satisfactory or the subordinate is facing some problems. Performance appraisal at these reviews should be conducted, based on fair and measurable standards.
Advantages of Management By Objectives MBO :-
- Develops result-oriented philosophy: MBO is a result-oriented philosophy. It does not favor management by crisis. Managers are expected to develop specific individual and group goals, develop appropriate action plans, properly allocate resources and establish control standards. It provides opportunities and motivation to staff to develop and make positive contribution in achieving the goals of an Organisation.
- Formulation of dearer goals: Goal-setting is typically an annual feature. MBO produces goals that identify desired/expected results. Goals are made verifiable and measurable which encourage high level of performance. They highlight problem areas and are limited in number. The meeting is of minds between the superior and the subordinates. Participation encourages commitment. This facilitates rapid progress of an Organisation. In brief, formulation of realistic objectives is me benefit of M[BO.
- Facilitates objective appraisal: NIBO provides a basis for evaluating a person's performance since goals are jointly set by superior and subordinates. The individual is given adequate freedom to appraise his own activities. Individuals are trained to exercise discipline and self control. Management by self-control replaces management by domination in the MBO process. Appraisal becomes more objective and impartial.
- Raises employee morale: Participative decision-making and two-way communication encourage the subordinate to communicate freely and honestly. Participation, clearer goals and improved communication will go a long way in improving morale of employees.
- Facilitates effective planning: MBO programmes sharpen the planning process in an Organisation. It compels managers to think of planning by results. Developing action plans, providing resources for goal attainment and discussing and removing obstacles demand careful planning. In brief, MBO provides better management and better results.
- Acts as motivational force: MBO gives an individual or group, opportunity to use imagination and creativity to accomplish the mission. Managers devote time for planning results. Both appraiser and appraise are committed to the same objective. Since MBO aims at providing clear targets and their order of priority, employees are motivated.
- Facilitates effective control: Continuous monitoring is an essential feature of MBO. This is useful for achieving better results. Actual performance can be measured against the standards laid down for measurement of performance and deviations are corrected in time. A clear set of verifiable goals provides an outstanding guarantee for exercising better control.
- Facilitates personal leadership: MBO helps individual manager to develop personal leadership and skills useful for efficient management of activities of a business unit. Such a manager enjoys better chances to climb promotional ladder than a non-MBO type.
Limitations of Management By Objectives MBO :-
- Time-consuming: MBO is time-consuming process. Objectives, at all levels of the Organisation, are set carefully after considering pros and cons which consumes lot of time. The superiors are required to hold frequent meetings in order to acquaint subordinates with the new system. The formal, periodic progress and final review sessions also consume time.
- Reward-punishment approach: MBO is pressure-oriented programme. It is based on reward-punishment psychology. It tries to indiscriminately force improvement on all employees. At times, it may penalize the people whose performance remains below the goal. This puts mental pressure on staff. Reward is provided only for superior performance.
- Increases paper-work: MBO programmes introduce ocean of paper-work such as training manuals, newsletters, instruction booklets, questionnaires, performance data and report into the Organisation. Managers need information feedback, in order to know what is exactly going on in the Organisation. The employees are expected to fill in a number of forms thus increasing paper-work. In the words of Howell, "MBO effectiveness is inversely related to the number of MBO forms.
- Creates organizational problems: MBO is far from a panacea for all organizational problems. Often MBO creates more problems than it can solve. An incident of tug-of-war is not uncommon. The subordinates try to set the lowest possible targets and superior the highest. When objectives cannot be restricted in number, it leads to obscure priorities and creates a sense of fear among subordinates. Added to this, the programme is used as a 'whip' to control employee performance.
- Develops conflicting objectives: Sometimes, an individual's goal may come in conflict with those of another e.g., marketing manager's goal for high sales turnover may find no support from the production manager's goal for production with least cost. Under such circumstances, individuals follow paths that are best in their own interest but which are detrimental to the company.
- Problem of co-ordination: Considerable difficulties may be encountered while coordinating objectives of the Organisation with those of the individual and the department. Managers may face problems of measuring objectives when the objectives are not clear and realistic.
- Lacks durability: The first few go-around of MBO are motivating. Later it tends to become old hat. The marginal benefits often decrease with each cycle. Moreover, the programme is deceptively simple. New opportunities are lost because individuals adhere too rigidly to established goals.
- Problems related to goal-setting: MBO can function successfully provided measurable objectives are jointly set and it is agreed upon by all. Problems arise when: (a) verifiable goals are difficult to set (b) goals are inflexible and rigid (c) goals tend to take precedence over the people who use it (d) greater emphasis on quantifiable and easily measurable results instead of important results and (e) over-emphasis on short-term goals at the cost of long-term goals.
- Lack of appreciation: Lack of appreciation of MBO is observed at different levels of the Organisation. This may be due to the failure of the top management to communicate the philosophy of MBO to entire staff and all departments. Similarly, managers may not delegate adequately to their subordinates or managers may not motivate their subordinates properly. This creates new difficulties in the execution of MBO programme.
Essential Conditions for Successful Execution / Implementation of MBO Or...
Q.How To Make MBO Effective?
- Support from all: In order that MBO succeeds, it should get support and co-operation from the management. MBO must be tailored to the executive's style of managing. No MBO programme can succeed unless it is fully accepted by the managers. The subordinates should also clearly understand that MBO is the policy of the Organisation and they have to offer cooperation to make it successful. It should be a programme of all and not a programme imposed on them.
- Acceptance of MBO programme by managers: In order to make MBO programme successful, it is fundamentally important that the managers themselves must mentally accept it as a good or promising programme. Such acceptances will bring about deep involvement of managers. If manages are forced to accept NIBO programme, their involvement will remain superfluous at every stage. The employees will be at the receiving-end. They would mostly accept the lines of action initiated by the managers.
- Training of managers: Before the introduction of MBO programme, the managers should be given adequate training in MBO philosophy. They must be in a position to integrate the technique with the basic philosophy of the company. It is but important to arrange practice sessions where performance objectives are evaluated and deviations are checked. The managers and subordinates are taught to set realistic goals, because they are going to be held responsible for the results.
- Organizational commitment: MBO should not be used as a decorative piece. It should be based on active support, involvement and commitment of managers. MBO presents a challenging task to managers. They must shift their capabilities from planning for work to planning for accomplishment of specific goals. Koontz rightly observes, "An effective programme of managing by objective must be woven into an entire pattern and style of managing. It cannot work as a separate technique standing alone."
- Allocation of adequate time and resources: A well-conceived MBO programme requires three to five years of operation before it provides fruitful results. Managers and subordinates should be so oriented that they do not look forward to MBO for instant solutions. Proper time and resources should be allocated and persons are properly trained in the philosophy of MBO.
- Provision of uninterrupted information feedback: Superiors and subordinates should have regular information available to them as to how well subordinate's goal performance is progressing. Over and above, regular performance appraisal sessions, counseling and encouragement to subordinates should be given. Superiors who compliment and encourage subordinates with pay rise and promotions provide enough motivation for peak performance.