Disadvantages of Management by Objectives?

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Robert, Ireland
I'm trying to build a complete list of all disadvantages of Management by Objectives:
1. May lead to suboptimalization: people or departments are not stimulated to look beyond their own objectives and help eachother.
2. Innovation is not stimulated.
3. The time and paperwork involved.
4. Potential misuse by superiors who simply assign (rather than negotiate) objectives.
5. Subordinates may try to negotiate easy goals.
6. Watch out for unrealistic (too high) expectations about what can be reasonably accomplished.
7. Inflexible, rigid.

  MBO Disadvantages
Martin, USA
Here's a couple of weaknesses in the MBO assumption base that I use:
1. It emphasizes the setting of goals over the working of a plan.
2. It underemphasizes the importance of the environment or context in which the goals were set. That context includes everything from the availability and quality of resources, to relative buy-in by leadership and stakeholders.
3. It doesn't address the importance of successfully responding to obstacles and constraints as essential to reaching a goal. The model didn’t adequately cope with the obstacles of:
· Defects in resources, planning and methodology,
· The increasing burden of managing the information organization challenge,
· The impact of a rapidly changing environment, which could alter the landscape enough to make yesterday’s goals and action plans irrelevant to the present.
  Disadvantages of MBO
Abha Nagpal, India
1. Although it focuses an employee's attention on goals, it does not specify the behaviors required to reach them. This may be a problem for some employees, especially new ones, who may require more guidance.
2. MBO also tends to focus on short-term goals, goals that can be measured by year's end. As a result, workers may be tempted to achieve short-term goals at the expense of long-term ones
3. The successful achievement of MBO goals may be partly a function of factors outside the worker's control
4. Performance standards vary from employee to employee, and thus MBO provides no common basis for comparison. For instance, the goals set for an "average" employee may be less challenging than those set for a "superior" employee. How can the two be compared?
5. MBO systems often fail to gain user acceptance. Managers often dislike the amount of paperwork these systems require and may also be concerned that employee participation in goal setting robs them of their authority.
  Two Main Reasons of Problems with MBO
Jagdish B Acharya, India
MBO is a good idea and has many uses in management. However it fails to result in organizational success as per its promise for two main reasons.
1. It is relatively static for about a period of one year. In today's fast moving world anything that is static for an year is likely to be risky.
2. It is often used with lot of rigour and as sole criterion for performance measurement and compensation. It is one way to recognize contribution and not the only way. In some cases of intangible contributions, it fails to recognize catalysts due to this reason.
If MBO is made flexible and not an annual exercise and not used as sole criterion for compensation, then it is useful.
  MBO Problems
Kershaw, UK
Having managed with objectives in several companies I would say they are clearly not for everyone. In most cases the benefit does not justify the time and energy. Overall, if objectives are related to some incentive (financial / promotion) then staff will concentrate solely on those until achieved and ignore everything else which is detrimental to the business.


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