Types of objectives and their overall Hierarchy
1. Primary Objectives:
These are the objectives for which a company has been started. Every business aims to earn more and more profits out of its working. Primary objectives are related to the company and not to individuals. Earning of profits out of providing goods and services to the customers is the primary objective of a company. The goods and services are provided as per the requirements of customers. Earning profits through customer satisfaction helps in earning goodwill and regular clientele. The production of goods and services as per determined targets will be achieved through individual goals of employees in the organization.
2. Secondary Objectives:
These objectives help in achieving primary objectives. The targets are identified and efforts are made to increase efficiency and economy in the performance of work. The goals dealing with analysis, advice and interpretation provide support to goals directed by primary objectives. Secondary objectives, like primary objectives, are impersonal in nature. The primary goal of earning profits through providing goods and services will be achieved if there is a plan to add new products in the market at regular intervals. The goal of adding new products will be a secondary goal which will help in achieving the primary objective.
3. Individual Objectives:
These are the goals which individual members in an organization try to achieve on daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. These objectives are achievable as subordinate to primary and secondary goals. Most of the individual objects are economic, psychological or non-financial rewards which an individual tries to achieve by using resources of time, skill and effort. An individual tries to satisfy his needs and desires by working in an organization. In order to motivate individuals for raising their performance, organizations offer varied incentives.
4. Social Objectives:
These are the goals of an organization towards society. These include the obligations required by the community, government agencies etc. These also include goals intended to further social, physical and cultural improvement of the society. Social obligations of business has become essential these days. Business has to produce goods and services by taking into consideration health requirements of people. There are expectations that business should also spent a part of its profits for the welfare of community.
Hierarchy of Objectives:
Objectives form a hierarchy ranging from the broad aim to specific individual objectives. At the top of it the main goals of the organization are set. The organization has to see its responsibilities towards society and then towards herself. The organization is required to contribute to the welfare of society by providing good quality products at reasonable cost. The main purpose of the business is to provide a specific level of services or a proper type of goods. The overall objectives of the organization are specified at the top level management.
The objectives of the key areas are also determined at the higher level management. The next in hierarchy comes the objectives of divisions and departments and units and these are decided at middle level management comprising Vice-president or functional managers. The objectives of individuals are decided at the bottom of the hierarchy. The junior level management sets performance standards of individuals.
The hierarchy of objectives is shown in the diagram:
Top Down and Bottom up Approach:
There is some controversy whether the objectives should be fixed at top down or bottom up. In the top down approach upper level managers set objectives for the subordinates while in the bottom up approach subordinates initiate the setting of objectives of their positions and present them to their superiors. The proponents of the top down approach are of the view that overall objectives of the organization should be set at Chief Executive Officer level of top level of management. It will provide a proper synchronization of objectives of different areas and individuals.
On the other hand the supporters of bottom up approach argue that top management needs to have information from lower levels in the form of objectives. Since subordinates fix their own goals they will be motivated and committed to their performance. It may not be advisable to rely entirely on one approach. Both the approaches should be used wisely for better results. In a practical situation such decisions are linked to factors such as the size of the organization, the organization culture, leadership style of the executive and the urgency of the plan.