Management by Objectives: The Team Approach

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Study of the many books, articles, case studies, speeches, and discussions about management by objectives (MBO) indicates that most forms of this approach tend to reinforce a one-to-one leadership style. It is also apparent that MBO efforts vary from being highly autocratic to highly participative among organizations and even within some organizations. In this article we present a case and strategy for collaborative management by objectives (CMBO), a participative, team-centered approach. This approach has a number of unique features that will minimize some of the deficiencies in more traditional versions, but as we shall see, the skills involved and the organizational climate required for its optimal effectiveness may not come easily. Let us first compare the autocratic and participative characteristics of one-to-one versions of MBO. Examples 1a through 1d in Table 1 illustrate how this form can differ along the autocratic-participative continuum. In one contemporary version of MBO, the superior prepares a list of objectives and simply passes them down to the subordinate. In a second version, the superior prepares the subordinate’s list of objectives and allows him or her ample opportunity for questions and clarification. In a third version, the subordinate prepares his own list of objectives and submits this list to his superior for discussion and subsequent editing and modification by the superior

Management by Objectives: The Team Approach’, WendellL.French and RobertW.HollmannCalifornia Management Review, XVII (3) (1975): 13–22. Copyright © 1975, by The Regents of the University of California. Reprinted from the California Management Review, by permission of The Regents.
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