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Management by Objectives (MBO)

 

Disciplines > Change Management > Creating Change > Management by Objectives (MBO)

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Method

Set formal objectives for people that they will have to achieve, but do not tell them how they have to achieve this.

In particular, if you can, give people objectives that they can only achieve by working in the intended change.

Give them relatively free rein in how they go about achieving the objectives. Particularly if you want encourage a change in behavior or attitude, then you might encourage them to 'look outside the box' for creative new ways of achieving the objective.

Example

A company that is seeking to get people to work more collaboratively than individually gives its people objectives that they cannot achieve alone. There is no explicit requirement to work together, but the people soon find that they only way to succeed is to collaborate.

Discussion

MBO uses a 'what-how' approach. The people in question are told what to do, but not how. The 'how' thus becomes a part of their contribution to a successful conclusion.

Done well, MBO, causes people to invest personally in the work as they become involved in what is their plan rather having to blindly comply with imposed and detailed commands.

MBO has received bad press in the past. This is typically where it has been badly implemented, for example when managers used it as an excuse to give people tasks that were impossible. This may happen as a result of laziness on the part of the particular managers in question or may even be a deliberate ploy, such as to force people to work beyond their normal work hours.

See also

 

 

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