Limitations of Management by Objectives

by • 27/09/2011 • part 2 ManagementComments Off on Limitations of Management by Objectives596

Q.3. Describe the limitation of Management by Objectives.

Limitations of Management by Objectives

In spite of its many advantages, the Management by Objectives has some weaknesses as follows:

1. Unfavorable Attitude of Managers


Some managers have an attitude that the regular attention required of them by Management by Objectives system, draws heavily on their busy time-schedule and is not consistent with their roles. They feel that it is not so effective a way as some other approaches. Some managers view their roles as principally involving policy-making, budget formulation etc.

2. Excessive Paper Work

Management by Objectives programme involves a huge amount of newsletters, instruction booklets, training manuals, questionnaires, performance date, review and appraisal reports to be prepared by the superiors and subordinates. Thus, Management by Objectives is said to have created one more “paper mill” in the organization added to the already existing large amount of paper work.

3. Problems about Goal Setting

Management by Objectives requires issuance of proper, exhaustive guidelines to goal-setters. However, managers responsible for practicing Management by Objectives do not themselves understand and appreciate a good deal about it, expecially about the concept of self-control and self-direction which is basic to Management by Objectives. Similarly, there are several other difficulties in goal setting:

  • Positive and active participation from subordinates is not easily forthcoming.
  • Truly verifiable goals are not easy to formalize.
  • Emphasis is put on short-range goals, where as long-range goals are avoided, though long-range goals are vital for growth and development of the organization.
  • Goals remain inflexible and rigid. For example, changes desirable in annual budgets are not easily accepted in the middle of the year.
  • Over-use of quantitative goals jeopardizes the qualitative aspect which may even more important the quantification is some case.
  • Goals tend to take precedence or priority over the people who use them. Any action is acceptable if it serves in the attainment of goals, without caring of its impact on people. Thus, all these difficulties come in the way of making management by objectives operational in an organization. Further, managing involves more than goal setting.

4. Time-Consuming Nature of Management by Objectives

Management by Objectives system is time-consuming especially in the early phases of its introduction when employees are unfamiliar with its process. Since managers also have to learn the necessary skills it is commonly estimated that it takes 2 years to take an management by objectives programme working smoothly. A few management by objectives programme working smoothly. A few management by objectives programmes have failed because managers could not spare adequate time needed for its various phases.

5. Difficulties in Making Organizational Changes

Management by Objectives system requires to be integrated with other systems in the organization, such as budgeting, forecasting, communication, control etc. Sometimes current practices may have to be changed. Thus, greater decentralization may become a necessity. Moreover, some systems may required to be changed, for example, control system, data processing system etc. Managers feel such changes as time-consuming, distributing there “status quo” (or as it is) facilities and difficult in different other ways.

6. Failure to Teach Management by Objectives Philosophy


Management by Objectives as a concept is simple but it is deceptively so. It is much easier to explain this principle than to introduce it to an origination, especially in a very dynamic and changing environment. Moreover, management by objectives is still building toward achieving a fully institutionalized system of management to be used by the entire key manager. Sometimes managers fail to use objectives as a constructive force, even with the full participation and assistance of their superiors. In order to understand the philosophy of management by objectives, managers have to make themselves professionals.

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