An exploratory study on the applicability of management by objectives (MBO) in managing woluntary social service agencies in local context

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An exploratory study on the applicability of management by objectives (MBO) in managing woluntary social service agencies in local context


Author: Lam, Muk-kwan
Title: An exploratory study on the applicability of management by objectives (MBO) in managing woluntary social service agencies in local context
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1997
Subject: Charities -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Studies
Pages: iii, [137] leaves ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: Management by Objectives (MBO) is regarded as an effective management approach which can promote the performance of any form of organizations which have a distinctive objective to achieve, irrespective of their nature of production or service. MBO is composed of five basic components. They are (1) objectives, (2) plans, (3) managerial direction and action, (4) control, and (5) feedback. These five components can be further divided into two vital parts : concrete and measurable objectives and management processes. It is noted that the approach has been generally adopted by local voluntary social service agencies as management tool in managing agency activities, though the approach appears not in its orthodox manner. However, despite its success of in commercial field, the approach seems to be unable to produce the same applauding results in welfare sector and the general performance of these agencies is often criticized as inefficient and ineffective. What is the problem with this ? In this study, it was found that social service agencies seem to be unable to provide needed conditions for the effective functioning of the approach. The problem lies in the fact that since the nature and outcome of social services are intangible in nature, the objectives of social service agencies are therefore difficult to be set in concrete and measurable terms. In the absence of a clear, concrete and measurable objective, the efforts made by the staff are also unable to be monitored and assessed. Under such situation, the approach is thwarted from directing agency activities to achieve the desired objectives. Although some respondents had proposed the use of activity level as indicator for assessing the performance of agencies, since the measure was unable to reflect the exact outcome of the service provided, such as the quality of service, other respondents were seen to have reservation on this proposal. However, this is not to say that MBO is totally inapplicable in social service agencies. It is argued that the approach may be applicable in the areas where tasks are more analyzable and are susceptible to quantity control. Furthermore, in order to make MBO more applicable and effective, it must be accompanied by mechanism which can help to monitor the quality aspect of the service. Apart from this, it is noted that the management of social service agencies has been greatly subject to the influence of commercial management theories. Although these management theories have had their contribution to the welfare sector, it is worried that the indiscriminate application of these theories in welfare sector would finally bring harm than good to the both the agency, the professional and the service recipients.

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