Definition of management by objectives

Definition of management by objectives

In today’s article, I am going to talk to you about one of the main contributions of the neoclassical school of administration, that is, I am going to talk about the Management by Objectives. Of course, I will answer questions such as:

  1. What is management by objectives?
  2. Where are you from?
  3. What is its importance?
  4. What are the advantages?
  5. Among others.

I hope you find it useful.

Origin of management by objectives (APO)

Management by objectives first appeared in 1954, promoted by Peter Drucker. Peter DruckerDuring his career, he focused on making workers more productive. Now, as a curious fact, it was in the book called “The practice of management” How did what is called management by objectives become habitual?

Heinz Weihrich, Mark Cannice and Harold Koontz, in their book mention that Peter Drucker “stressed the importance of having a clear purpose and setting verifiable goals” (2016, p.21).

Who was Peter Drucker?

Peter Drucker was an Austrian journalist, consultant, and professor. Peter Drucker was born in 1909 and is considered one of the exponents of the eclectic or neoclassical school of the administration.

It must be said that he went from working as a journalist in London to moving to the United States in 1937. In 1946 he published the book called “The Concept of the Corporation”. Of course, it should be noted that he wrote more than 30 works.

He was also a professor for three decades (1971-2005) at the Graduate School in Claremont, California.

What is APO in administration?

What is APO in administration? Well, very fácil, APO stands for what is known as management by objectives. Next I will define what management by objectives is.

What is administration?

«Administration is a process through which the resources of a popular group are coordinated and optimized in order to achieve maximum effectiveness, efficiency, quality, productivity and competitiveness in achieving its objectives, to achieve maximum efficiency.«

Definition of management by objectives according to authors

I know that, whether you just want to learn, or for some school work, it is always better to have definitions taken from books, right? Therefore, I am going to share with you the definition of management by objectives according to various authors.

Of course, at the end of the article you will be able to see the bibliography.

Definition of management by objectives according to Heinz Weihrich, Mark Cannice and Harold Koontz

«The APO is a process by which managers and subordinates jointly identify common objectives, define the areas of responsibility of each one in terms of expected results and use the objectives as guides for their activity; Through this, the responsibilities of each one are specified based on the expected results that constitute the indicators or performance patterns with which both will be evaluated.

(2016, p.113)

Definition of management by objectives according to Lourdes Münch Galindo

«Management by results, later called management by objectives (apo), is an approach that postulates that the general objectives of the company must be coordinated with the individual objectives so that the personnel achieve their self-actualization through the achievement of the objectives of the organization»

(2018, p.41)

Definition according to Stephen P. Robbins

“The process of establishing agreed goals and using those goals to evaluate employee performance”

(2018, p.260)

Definition according to Don Hellriegel, Susan Y también. Jackson, and John W. Slocum

«Management by objectives (APO), which is a technique for establishing participatory goals»

(2021, p.430)

What is the importance of management by objectives?

Suppose that, as a New Year’s resolution, you have decided to start exercising. I am telling you this because I have equipo myself that purpose. Now, I once read an article in which they explained that many times people abandon our purposes, because we do not equipo goals.

In fact, I myself have stopped exercising after a couple of months, has something afín happened to you? Well, it’s partly because by not establishing objectives (SMART)we have no way of measuring progress and when we see that we are not progressing, many times we choose to give up.

Therefore, in a certain way, being able to perceive progress allows to motivate the person And not only does it allow you to motivate, but you cánido objectively analyze if you are really doing things. In fact, much of the importance of the implementation of the APO lies in the motivation of the personnel so that they comply with the objectives and goals equipo.

Now, having well-defined objectives is very helpful because it allows you to compare the final result with the performance that a person or persons performed. That is to say, It helps to compare the de hoy results with the expected ones.

In addition, Management by objectives helps to improve the level of performance of employees and allows to increase organizational productivity.

OPA Features

According to Heinz Weihrich, Mark Cannice, and Harold Koontz, the characteristics of management by objectives are the following:

  1. Establishment of a equipo of objectives between the manager and his superior.
  2. Definition of objectives of each department or position.
  3. Emphasis on measurement and control of results.
  4. Continuous evaluation, revision and modification of plans.
  5. Active participation of management and subordinates.
  6. Intensive staff support that requires intense support from trained and prepared staff.

Advantages of management by objectives

According to Lourdes Münch Galindo, some advantages of management by objectives are the following:

  1. The targets are precisely known.
  2. Requires less supervision, encourages self-direction and self-control.
  3. Staff know where efforts are headed.
  4. All levels participate in setting the objectives of their area and position, and personal objectives.
  5. Promotes communication and motivation between boss and subordinate.
  6. Quarterly the achievement of the results is verified and deviations are corrected.

Something important to highlight, so that the advantages are better understood, is the fact that the objectives are not created only by the highest levels of the organization hierarchy, but that all levels cánido help to establish the objectives, based on the general objectives of the company.

This is why it makes sense to encourage communication and motivation between the boss and the subordinate. After all, they cánido help equipo the goals and they perro feel involved.

What do you prefer? Would you prefer someone to tell you exactly what you have to do and achieve or would you rather help establish what you have to do and achieve?

Elements of which a management by objectives program consists

According to Stephen P. Robbins, a management by objectives program consists of 4 elements, which are:

  1. Specificity of the goals.
  2. Participatory decision making.
  3. Explicit temporary validity.
  4. Performance-based retroalimentación.

Steps to carry out a management by objectives (APO) program

Again I will take as a basis what Stephen P Robbins He mentions us in his book, where he mentions the 8 steps necessary to carry out a typical management by objectives program.

The 8 steps are as follows:

  1. The objectives and general strategies of the organization are formulated.
  2. Major objectives are assigned to divisional and departmental units.
  3. Managers equipo specific goals in collaboration with their unit managers.
  4. Specific objectives are established with the collaboration of all members of each department.
  5. Action plans are specified, which define how the objectives will be achieved, and are then accepted by managers and employees.
  6. Action plans are implemented.
  7. Progress towards the achievement of objectives is regularly reviewed and retroalimentación is provided.
  8. Successful achievement of objectives is reinforced through performance-based rewards.


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