Q.2. Explain objectives and its features.
Ans. Objectives: Objectives are more precise as compared to mission and used to specify the end results which an organisation wants to achieve. However, there are two problems in giving the precise definition of objectives. First, goals and objectives are used interchangeably, though there are some differences between the two. Second, the end results, expressed as objectives, may be time specific or without this specification. Therefore, objectives are defined in different ways. For example, McFarland has defined objectives in quite broad term which is as follows:
‘Objectives are goals, aims, or purposes that an organisation wishes over varying periods of time. Terry and Franklin have also used the term goal in defining an objective. They view that:
‘A managerial objective is the intended goal that prescribes definite scope and suggests direction to the planning efforts of a manager
We can define objective as the intended end result that an organisation desires to acheive over varying periods of time. Because of time variation, objectives may be specified in different ways in which long-term objectives are supported by short-term objectives. Based on the definition of objective, we can derive its following features:
1. Each organisation, or group of individuals, has some objectives. In fact, organisations or groups are created basically for certain objectives. Members in the organisation or group try to achieve these objectives.
2. Objectives may be broad or they may be specifically mentioned. They may pertain to a wide or narrow part of the organisation. They may be set either for the long-term or for the short-term. For example, the basic objective of a business organisation may be to earn profit. This may be quite a broad objective. In order to achieve this broad objective, some specific objectives may be set, for example, how much profit and in which period. Thus, general objectives may be translated into operative objectives to provide definite action.
3. Objectives may be clearly defined or these may not be clear and have to be interpreted by the behaviour of organisational members, particularly those at top level. However, clearly defined objectives provide clear direction for managerial action.
4. Objectives have hierarchy. At the top level, it may be a broad organisational purpose which can broken into specific objectives at the departmental level. From departmental objectives, units of the department may derive their own objectives. This is possible because organisation is created by combining people into sections, departments, divisions etc. All of them try to achieve organisational objectives and, at each level, a unit may contribute to the fulfilment of tasks assigned to it. Thus, a hierarchy of objectives is created.
5. Organisational objectives have social sanction, that is, they are created within the social norms. Since organisations are social units, their objectives must conform to the general needs of the society. Various restrictions on organisational objectives are put through social norms, rules and customs.
6. An organisation may have multiple objectives. For example, Hindustan Lever Limited, under the chairmanship of T. Thomas (during 1973-80) formulated the following objectives:
(a) To expand and diversify in the area of chemicals;
(b) To continue to control costs and improve productivity very rigorously;
(c) To build up management skills for future growth;
(d) To utilise Rand D more effectively in creating new business opportunities;
(e) To build a strong board balancing the advantages of decentralising profit responsibility
against the advantages of centralised controls on personnel, finance, and technology;
(f) To communicate more openly and purposefully, internally as well as externally; and
(g) To develop succession to the board and to chairmanship.
It can be emphasized that many of these objectives are functional objectives, many of these objectives are intertwined and interrelated. Sometimes, many of the objectives may be even incompatible. This happens because over a period of time, many interest groups exert their pressure on organization objectives. For example, economic and social objectives of an organization may be incompatible, the achievement of one may be at the cost of the other at one point of time, while at other time, both can be integrated.