Management by objectives – MBO and role analysis


Management by objectives is a process by which management at different levels and their subordinates work together in identifying goals and establishing objectives consistent with the organizational goals and attaining them. Performance is measured against objectives and deviations are discussed. Superiors and subordinates review the existing objectives and establish the fresh objectives for the new time span after the deviations are discussed.

MBO is essentially a method of self-evaluation. Goal-setting is a highly participative process with self-established role prescriptions. Here job analysis would not cover all the activities of tasks performed by the superior and subordinate under MBO. Role analysis should be undertaken covering the task performed by employee under MBO programs.

Role Analysis

Edwin B Flippo felt that analysis should e extended to include various roles played by an employee in view of the criticism leveled against job analysis. A role would consist of the total pattern of expected behavior, interactions and sentiments for an individual holding an assigned job. The concept of role is something more than the job. Generally, the job incumbent is expected to play different roles while discharging his duties. An example of this is a manager is expected to play the role of protector of the interests of his subordinates. Similarly, the subordinates are expected to maximize the productivity/sales/profit. Sometimes the employees are expected to play informal roles which would not be included in job analysis.

A boundary spanning job is one whose incumbent is commissioned to deal with some significant element of the outer environment. Role analysis of personnel holding boundary spanning jobs provides a good example of potential value in the making of personnel decisions. In his position the incumbent of credit officer’s job of a bank has to deal with different types of borrowers with different backgrounds. Likewise the incumbent of a personnel manager’s job has to deal with trade union leaders or regional and central unions, government officials, police officers, managements of various organizations and management associations. Such roles often need verbal skills, sensitivity to the values of external people and personnel, public relations, counseling and conciliation skills and extra ordinary inter-personal relations.
These different roles of the employee, conflict with each other and that conflict is called role conflict. Employees have to play different roles, in addition to just performing their duties, as listed in job description. Hence, it is felt, that job analysis can’t cover all these activities of the personnel. It should be extended to role analysis. The job designers should take the emerging concept of role analysis into consideration in designing or redesigning the jobs.

MBO with regards to HR forms the basis for performance appraisal and at the end of the specified period performance evaluation. The superior in setting up the objectives tries to include all possible roles of the incumbent. MBO is a broader term for an organization and even overall strategy for short term and long term formulated by the directors also covered by this. In this article we have discussed the MBO in relation to superior and incumbent in heir work related area.