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Whether you know it or not, everyone has objectives. In this lesson, you’ll learn about organizational objectives and will be provided some examples. You’ll also have an opportunity to check your knowledge with a short quiz after the lesson.

Definition of Organizational Objectives

Organizational objectives are short-term and medium-term goals that an organization seeks to accomplish.

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An organization’s objectives will play a large part in developing organizational policies and determining the allocation of organizational resources. Achievement of objectives helps an organization reach its overall strategic goals.

Key Concepts

Setting objectives can involve many factors. You can set a single objective for your organization or multiple objectives. You set target deadlines for the accomplishment of objectives. Other critical factors include who controls the decisions that will affect objective achievement. The decision-makers must be committed to the objectives.

Organizational politics will come into play, with differing interests supporting the advance of objectives that are best for them. This usually results in bargaining between various interest groups in the organization, which results in objectives that are satisfactory to the key organizational groups, such as sales, research and development, marketing, and production. Finally, you must take into account factors that can hinder setting and achieving objectives, such as time, institutional, financial, and environmental constraints.

Example

Let’s say that you are the director of a non-profit organization that assists recently-arrived immigrants to your community. The organization provides language classes, civics classes, financial planning classes, and assistance in obtaining housing and work. Your organization’s strategic goal is simple: help immigrants integrate into the community. The programs are the means by which you hope to achieve that strategic goal.

Your sources of revenue are limited because they are based only upon donations and state and federal grants. You are meeting with the program directors for the annual meeting to set the organization’s objectives for the next year.Unfortunately, given the state of the economy, donations are down and competition for government grants has become fierce. Each program director zealously advocates for advancement of his or her program, but there are going to be winners and losers this year because of the funding. You all agree that each program should be maintained, because they are essential in achieving the organization’s goal of integrating newly-arrived immigrants. However, you decide to focus your efforts this year on language classes, work assistance, and housing assistance because you feel these three programs are absolutely essential for the achievement of your strategic goal.

You and your team come up with the following objectives for the year:

  • Increasing employer participation in the work program by 15%
  • Purchasing two duplexes in residential neighborhoods for temporary housing for newly-arrived immigrants
  • Retaining another language instructor and adding three more English as a Second Language night classes at the local community college to increase participation from 65% to 85%
  • Maintaining funding levels and participation levels in the other programs
  • Hiring a part-time grant writer and fundraiser with a goal of increasing grant award dollars by 15% and donations by 20%

You seek to achieve these objectives within 12 months. No one is perfectly happy with the objectives because no one got all that they wanted for their respective programs, but the objectives are satisfactory to everyone because they help the organization achieve its overall strategic goal.

Lesson Summary

Organizational objectives are short- and medium-term goals that an organization seeks to accomplish so it might reach its overall strategic goals.

Objectives will usually play a part in the setting of an organization’s policies and allocation of resources. Factors that affect setting of objectives include pursuit of single or multiple objectives, setting of target deadlines for completion, leadership commitment, setting one or a few optimal objectives, or setting many objectives that are satisfactory to all stakeholders. Additionally, you must consider various obstacles to objective achievement, including time, institutional, financial, and environmental constraints.

Learning Outcomes

Finishing this lesson should make it possible for students to:

  • Define organizational objectives
  • Give examples of possible short-term and medium-term goals
  • Discuss the need for single and multiple objectives
  • Identify possible obstacles to achievement of objectives

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