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224 ? Organizational Behavior
Fifth, goals are most likely to motivate people toward higher performance when they are accepted and there is commitment to them. Participating in the goal-setting process helps build such acceptance and commitment. It helps create “ownership” of the goals. However, Locke and Latham report that goals assigned by someone else can be equally effective. The assigners are likely to be authority figures, and that can have an impact. The assignment also implies that the subordinate can actually reach the goal. Moreover, assigned goals often are a challenge and help define the standards people use to attain self-satisfaction with their performance. According to Locke and Latham, assigned goals lead to poor performance only when they are curtly or inadequately explained.
? GOAL SETTING AND MBO
When we speak of goal setting and its potential to influence individual performance at work, the concept of management by objectives, or MBO, immediately comes to mind. The essence of MBO is a process of joint goal setting between a supervisor and a subordinate.67 It involves managers working with their subordinates to establish performance goals and plans that are consistent with higher level work unit and organizational objectives. When this process is followed throughout an organization, MBO helps clarify the hierarchy of objectives as a series of well-defined means-end chains.
Figure 5.6 shows a comprehensive view of MBO. The concept is consistent with the notion of goal setting and its associated principles discussed above. Notice how joint supervisor-subordinate discussions are designed to extend participation from the point of establishing initial goals to the point of evaluating results in terms of goal attainment. In addition to these goal-setting steps, a successful MBO system calls for careful implementation. Not only must workers have the freedom to carry out the required tasks, managers should be prepared to actively support their efforts to achieve the agreed-upon goals.
Although a fair amount of research based on case studies of MBO success is available, few rigorously controlled studies have been done. What there is re-
Subordinate actively participates in developing performance goals
performs tasks while ^
Subordinate actively participates in performance review
How the management by objectives process works.
Section Five ? 225
ports mixed results.68 In general, and as an application of goal-setting theory, MBO has much to offer. But it is by no means easy to start and keep going. Many firms have started and dropped the approach because of difficulties experienced early on. Among the specific problems it creates are too much paperwork documenting goals and accomplishments and too much emphasis on goal-oriented rewards and punishments, top-down goals, goals that are easily stated in objective terms, and individual instead of group goals. MBO also may need to be implemented organizationwide if it is to work well.
Alternative Work Arrangements
Alternative ways of scheduling time are becoming increasingly common in the workplace. These arrangements are essentially reshaping the traditional 40-hour week, 9 to 5 schedules where work is done on the premises. Virtually all such plans are designed to influence employee satisfaction and to help employees balance the demands of their work and nonwork lives.69 They are becoming more and more important in fast-changing societies where demands for “work-life balance” and more “family-friendly” employers are growing ever more apparent.70 For example, dual-career families with children, part-time students, older workers (retired or near retirement age), and single parents are all candidates for alternative work arrangements.
? COMPRESSED WORK WEEKS
A compressed work week is any scheduling of work that allows a full-time job to be completed in fewer than the standard five days. The most common form of compressed work week is the “4/40” or 40 hours of work accomplished in four 10-hour days.
This approach has many possible benefits. For the worker added time off is a major feature of this schedule. The individual often appreciates increased leisure time, three-day weekends, free weekdays to pursue personal business, and lower commuting costs. The organization can benefit, too, in terms of lower employee absenteeism, and improved recruiting of new employees. But, there are also potential disadvantages. Individuals can experience increased fatigue from the extended workday and family adjustment problems. The organization can experience work scheduling problems and customer complaints because of breaks in work coverage. Some organizations may face occasional union opposition and laws requiring payment of overtime for work exceeding eight hours of individual labor in any one day. Overall reactions to compressed work weeks are likely to be most favorable for employees allowed to participate in the decision to adopt the new work week, who have their jobs enriched as a result of the new schedule, and who have strong higher-order needs in Maslow’s hierarchy.71