Objectives -Definition, Characteristics and their advantage

The terms objective and goal indicate an end result to be sought and accomplished. Goals and objectives both have value orientations and indicate desired conditions considered necessary to improve the overall performance of the organisation.

Definition of Objectives

Three widely quoted definitions on objectives are given below :-

  • Objectives are goals established to guide the efforts of the company and each of its components.
  • An organization goal is a desired state of affairs which the organization attempts to realize.
  • Objectives indicate the ‘end point of a management programme’.

Characteristics of organization Objectives

Just like any other management function, objectives have certain basic features. Generally speaking, enterprise objective are visible and understood by all. When objectives are defined and set, it is hard to plead ignorance, forgetfulness and misunderstanding.

Apart from these simple descriptions, enterprise objectives have the following features :

  • Objective Form a Hierarchy
  • Objective Form a Network
  • Multiplicity of Objectives
  • Long and Short-Range Objectives

1. Objective Form a Hierarchy

In many organizations objectives are structured in a hierarchy of importance. The hierarchy of objective is a graded series in which organization’s goals are supported by each succeeding managerial level down to the level of the individual. The objectives of each unit contribute to the objective of the next higher unit.

The hierarchy or objectives in an organization is described through means-ends chain. The ends means-ends chain helps us to see how board goals are translated into operational objectives.

In the organization the relationship between means and ends in hierarchical goals established at one level require certain means for their accomplishment.

2. Objective Form a Network

Objective interlock in a network fashion. They are inter-related and inter-dependent. The concept of network of objective implies that once objective are established for every department and every individual in an organization.

If the various objective in an organization do not support on another, people may pursue goals that may be good for their own function but may pursue goals that may be good for their own function but may be detrimental to the company as a whole.

3. Multiplicity of Objectives

Organization pursue multifarious objective. At every level in the hierarchy, goals are likely to be multiple.This objective can be broken down into a group of objective for the product, advertising, research, promotion managers.

The advertising manager goals include: designing product messages carefully, create a favorable image of the product in the market, etc. similar goals can be set for other marketing managers. It turns out that there are several goals involved. This may be due to the fact that the enterprise has to meet internal as well as external challenges effectively.

Internal problems may hover around profitability, survival, growth and so on. External problems may be posed by government, society, stockholders, customers etc. Such assignment of priorities helps to keep a perspective, especially when there are many goals for one position.

4. Long and Short-Range Objectives

Organizational objective are usually related to time. Long-range objective extending over five or more years are the ultimate or dream objective for the organization. They are abstractions of the entire hierarchy of objective of the organization.

Short-range objective (one year goals) and medium-range objective (two to four year period goals), reflect immediate, attainable goals. The short-range and medium-range objective are the means for achieving long term goals and the long term goals supply a frame work reinforce each other in such a way that the total result is greater than the sum of the effects taken individually.

Importance of Objectives

Objectives are essential to organizations. Organizations produce and market economic products and services, universities provide teaching and research, governments provide welfare and security and so on.

Objectives affect the size, shape and design of the organization, and they are important in motivating and directing personnel. Organizations are attainment instruments.

Objective serve the following functions :

  • Legitimacy
  • Direction
  • Co-ordination
  • Benchmarks for success
  • Motivation

1. Legitimacy

Objective describe the purpose of the organization so that people know what a stand is for and will accept its existence and continuance.

Objective help to legitimize the presence of organization in its environment. Now the organization can emphasize its uniqueness and identity.

2. Direction

Objective provide guidelines for organizational efforts. They keep attention focused on common purposes. Once objective are formulated, they become the polar star by which the voyage is navigated.

Every activity is directed toward the objective, every individual contributes to meet the goals. “without seeing the target, a manager would be like a blindfolded archer- expending useless effort and creating havoc.”

3. Co-ordination

Objective keep activities on the right track. They make behavior in organizations more rational, more coordinated and thus more effective, because everyone knows the accepted goals to work toward.

In setting effective goals managers help members to all levels of the organization to understand how they can best achieve their own goals by directing their behavior toward the goals of the organization.

4. Benchmarks for success

Objective serve as performance standards against which actual performance may be checked. They provide a benchmark for assessment. They help in the control of human effort of human effort in an organization.

5. Motivation

Goals are motivators. The setting of a goal that is both specific and challenging leads to an increase in performance because it makes it clear to the individual what he is supposed to do. He can compare how well he is doing now versus how well he has done in the past and in some instances how well he is performing in comparison to others.


At last words, Objectives affect the size, shape, and design of the organizations and they are important in motivating and directing personnel. And the hierarchy of objective is a graded series in which organization’s goals are supported by each succeeding managerial level down to the level of the individual.

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