A goal is a statement of where the organization wants to be at a specific time in the future.

Goals are the ends towards which the efforts of an organization are directed to achieve.  Quantitative goals are referred to as objectives while non-quantitative goals are referred as aims.  Therefore goals and objectives are sometimes used interchangeably.

Types of Goals

Corporate goals

Corporate goals are the broad goals that relate to the organization as a whole i.e. what the overall organization wishes to achieve.  They include the mission and the vision of the organization.

Operational goals

These are goals that relate to specific functional areas e.g. marketing department may aim at venturing into new areas, increasing sales etc. Operational goals also include specific objectives relating to specific tasks within the organization.

Long term and short term goals

Long-term goals cover periods of between 5-10 years or beyond while short-term goals cover btw 0 – 1 year.

Economic and Non-Economic goals

Economic goals relate to profitability while non-economic goals are other goals other than economic goals e.g. social responsibility goals.

Primary and Secondary goals

Primary goals are the basic goals that an organization is established to pursue and they basically relate to profitability.  Secondary goals are subsidiary goals that an organization will pursue as it pursues primary goals e.g. Non-economic goals.

Characteristics of Good Objectives


Objectives should not be ambiguous but must indicate exactly what is to be accomplished and who is to accomplish it and within what time.  This will help eliminate confusion and ensure that organization members know and understand exactly what is expected of them.


Good objectives are measurable in quantitative terms and those that are not measurable in quantitative terms have a standard/ benchmark established against which the actual performance can be measured.


Good objectives should be challenging but attainable. If too simplistic, they demotivate employees and if they are too high they may frustrate the employees.

Good objectives should be in line with or consistent with reality and achievable within the resource constraints of the firm.

Time bound

A time period should be specified within which the objectives are to be achieved.

Other qualities include.

Objectives must be flexible – Provide room for change.

Easy to understand and interpret.

Long-term, short term and medium term goals should be consistent with each other.

Objectives should be valid indicating that consistent review of the objectives is important to determine whether they are still valid or they need to be changed.

Steps of goals setting
  1. Environmental scanning and monitoring through SWOT analysis.
  2. Set overall organizational goals based on the SWOT analysis.
  3. Establish sub-unit goals.
  4. Establish operational goals that will help in attainment of the sub-unit goals.
  5. Implementation and monitoring of the progress towards goals attainment at all levels of the organization.
  6. The assessment of the feedback.


Barriers to effective goal setting

  1. Setting in appropriate goals that don’t fit the organization’s purpose.
  2. Setting unattainable goals.
  3. Over emphasizing quantitative goals at the expense of qualitative goals.
  4. Rewarding ineffective goal setting.

Importance of Goals

  1. They provide motivation.
  2. They assist in control since they can be used as the yardsticks to measure how far the organization has gone in achieving the objectives.
  3. They assist in co-ordination.
  4. It eliminates harp hazard action. All actions are purposeful since they are directed towards attaining the objectives.
  5. Objectives lead to unified planning. Objectives provide the bases for planning. Setting of the objective is the first stage of every planning and for any plan to have meaning it must be designed to achieve particular objectives.
  6. It helps in decentralization of power and authority, as those with delegated authority know exactly what they are to achieve.
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