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Management by Objectives (MBO)


Management by Objectives (MBO) is a strategic management approach that emphasizes setting and tracking clear, specific, and achievable objectives within an organization. Managers and employees collaboratively define, agree upon, and monitor these objectives, ensuring that individual and team performance aligns with the organization’s overall goals. MBO aims to improve efficiency, enhance communication, and empower employees through involvement in decision-making processes.


The phonetics of the keyword “Management by Objectives (MBO)” can be transcribed as:/ˈmænɪdʒmənt baɪ əbˈdʒɛktɪvz (ˌɛmˈbiːˈoʊ)/

Key Takeaways

  1. Management by Objectives (MBO) is a goal-setting process in which employees and managers work together to set and achieve specific and measurable objectives.
  2. MBO focuses on aligning individual performance with organizational goals, thus ensuring everyone’s efforts contribute to the overall success of the company.
  3. The MBO process generally involves setting objectives, monitoring progress, providing feedback, and evaluating performance to ensure continuous improvement and employee development.


Management by Objectives (MBO) is an important business and finance concept as it emphasizes the establishment of clear, specific, and measurable objectives to guide the decision-making and performance evaluation processes in an organization. By incorporating MBO, managers and employees work collaboratively to align individual goals with the overarching strategic objectives of the company, thereby fostering a goal-oriented culture, improving accountability, and ensuring that resources are optimally utilized. This approach facilitates better communication and transparency within the organization while also empowering employees to take ownership of their responsibilities. In turn, this leads to higher levels of motivation, job satisfaction, and productivity, ultimately contributing to the overall success and growth of the business.


Management by Objectives (MBO) is a strategic management approach that aims to align employees’ objectives and performance with the organization’s overall goals and vision. The primary purpose of MBO is to foster clear communication between management and employees, enhance employee motivation, and allow individuals to see how their work contributes to the organization’s success. By setting quantifiable, time-bound, and actionable objectives, MBO enables both employees and management to measure progress and make adjustments as necessary. This process promotes accountability, ensures that measurable outcomes are prioritized, and cultivates a performance-driven organizational culture.

In practice, MBO involves a series of collaborative goal-setting meetings between managers and employees to define and agree upon specific, achievable objectives. This collaborative effort encourages buy-in from all parties and helps create a sense of ownership for employees in their work. Moreover, by regularly reviewing and assessing the progress toward these objectives, organizations can identify gaps, reallocate resources, and provide support where needed, thus improving overall efficiency and effectiveness.

In essence, Management by Objectives is a powerful tool for driving organizational success through a concerted focus on well-defined targets and encouraging ongoing communication, collaboration, and shared responsibility between employees and management.


1. General Electric (GE): General Electric, one of the largest and most successful multinational conglomerates, has been using Management by Objectives (MBO) since the 1950s. Under CEO Jack Welch, GE implemented MBO as a core component of its organizational strategy, focusing on clearly defined objectives and individual accountability. Employees at various levels were involved in setting goals for themselves, and their performance was assessed based on their success in achieving those goals. This approach played a key role in driving GE’s growth and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

2. Intel Corporation: Intel, the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturing company, is another example of a successful business leveraging MBO. As a highly innovative and technology-driven company, Intel emphasizes the importance of aligning individual objectives with the overall organizational goals. Using MBO, Intel ensures that employees understand their roles, expectations, and targets; it also promotes employee engagement and motivates them to contribute to the company’s strategic objectives. The MBO process helps Intel foster an environment of clear communication, innovation, and continuous improvement.

3. Google: Google, one of the world’s most valuable technology companies, adopts MBO principles through an approach called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). This technique, which was introduced to Google by its former CEO and Chairman, John Doerr, helps the company remain focused on its goals, maximize productivity, and maintain a culture of accountability and collaboration. OKRs set ambitious goals for various teams and individuals, and they encourage employees to think outside the box to find innovative solutions. Google’s success in achieving its strategic objectives can be attributed in part to the effective use of OKRs, which exemplify the principles of Management by Objectives.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Management by Objectives (MBO)?

Management by Objectives (MBO) is a strategic management approach where employees and managers work together to set, monitor, and achieve specific organizational goals. MBO is focused on achieving clear, measurable objectives in order to improve both individual and organizational performance.

Who developed the MBO concept?

The MBO concept was developed by management guru Peter Drucker in his 1954 book “The Practice of Management.”

How does MBO work?

MBO works by clearly defining the objectives for each employee and aligning them with the organization’s overall goals. Managers and employees collaborate to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives. Progress towards these objectives is regularly monitored and evaluated, allowing adjustments to be made as needed.

What are the benefits of MBO?

MBO offers several benefits, such as increased employee motivation and engagement, better communication between management and employees, improved performance measurement, and enhanced collaboration. By setting clear objectives, employees understand their role in achieving organizational goals, leading to increased job satisfaction and productivity.

What are the key elements of MBO?

The key elements of MBO include goal setting, participation, periodic review, and performance appraisal. Goal setting involves defining SMART objectives. Participation encourages employee involvement in the decision-making process. Periodic review helps track progress toward objectives, and performance appraisal evaluates the achievement of objectives and provides feedback for improvement.

What are the potential challenges or disadvantages of MBO?

Some challenges or disadvantages associated with MBO include a focus on short-term objectives at the expense of long-term goals, excessive paperwork and bureaucracy, and potential resistance from employees who may feel micromanaged or disagree with the objectives set. MBO can also be time-consuming if not implemented efficiently.

How can MBO be effectively implemented within an organization?

To effectively implement MBO, organizations should follow these steps: 1) clearly define their overall goals and objectives, 2) communicate these goals to all employees, 3) involve employees in setting their own objectives that align with the organization’s goals, 4) regularly review progress toward objectives and make adjustments as needed, and 5) provide ongoing support, resources, and feedback to help employees achieve their objectives.

Related Finance Terms

  • Goal Setting
  • Performance Measurement
  • Employee Participation
  • Organizational Planning
  • Management Feedback

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