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Meaningful Management by Objectives

Hellström, Mikael LU and Ramberg, Ulf LU (2010) The 33rd Annual Congress of European Accounting Association p.1-21
Abstract
This article examines management by objectives as practiced in Swedish local government. The point of departure is recent legislation concerning public management in local government. The new law stipulates that all municipalities must have objectives for their operations and measurements that clearly show whether or not the objectives have been met. However, earlier research has found problems with both breaking down and operationalizing objectives as well as with identifying measurements that clearly demonstrate cause and effect between objectives and the actions that are the intended outcome of the objectives.



The empirical objects of the paper are of a tentative nature and describe how three local government... (More)
This article examines management by objectives as practiced in Swedish local government. The point of departure is recent legislation concerning public management in local government. The new law stipulates that all municipalities must have objectives for their operations and measurements that clearly show whether or not the objectives have been met. However, earlier research has found problems with both breaking down and operationalizing objectives as well as with identifying measurements that clearly demonstrate cause and effect between objectives and the actions that are the intended outcome of the objectives.



The empirical objects of the paper are of a tentative nature and describe how three local government organizations in Sweden, one municipality and two hospitals, are managing by objectives. The cases were selected based on the notion that their control conditions must vary, since onerous control conditions have been considered a key component in the explanation of why local governments have so often failed to successfully manage by objectives.



The theoretical premises of the study are based partly on the traditional management by objectives literature and partly on a theory of action. The study shows that there are at least two possible ways open to organizations that want to manage by objectives. In brief, the first way begins with the notion that organizations can formulate and use objectives to lock the actions and thinking of individuals into a familiar state of security and stability. The second is to formulate and use objectives so as to make novel ideas and actions possible. We argue that both approaches are needed for effective management and are, if anything, complementary. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
submitted
subject
keywords
performance measurement, municipalities, control, Management by objectives, action, measure
pages
21 pages
conference name
The 33rd Annual Congress of European Accounting Association
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
fbbd58d6-add7-4585-b74f-30c849530df4 (old id 1766907)
date added to LUP
2011-01-27 14:01:54
date last changed
2016-04-16 11:42:14
@misc{fbbd58d6-add7-4585-b74f-30c849530df4,
  abstract     = {This article examines management by objectives as practiced in Swedish local government. The point of departure is recent legislation concerning public management in local government. The new law stipulates that all municipalities must have objectives for their operations and measurements that clearly show whether or not the objectives have been met. However, earlier research has found problems with both breaking down and operationalizing objectives as well as with identifying measurements that clearly demonstrate cause and effect between objectives and the actions that are the intended outcome of the objectives. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
The empirical objects of the paper are of a tentative nature and describe how three local government organizations in Sweden, one municipality and two hospitals, are managing by objectives. The cases were selected based on the notion that their control conditions must vary, since onerous control conditions have been considered a key component in the explanation of why local governments have so often failed to successfully manage by objectives. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
The theoretical premises of the study are based partly on the traditional management by objectives literature and partly on a theory of action. The study shows that there are at least two possible ways open to organizations that want to manage by objectives. In brief, the first way begins with the notion that organizations can formulate and use objectives to lock the actions and thinking of individuals into a familiar state of security and stability. The second is to formulate and use objectives so as to make novel ideas and actions possible. We argue that both approaches are needed for effective management and are, if anything, complementary.},
  author       = {Hellström, Mikael and Ramberg, Ulf},
  keyword      = {performance measurement,municipalities,control,Management by objectives,action,measure},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {1--21},
  title        = {Meaningful Management by Objectives},
  year         = {2010},
}