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A conceptual framework is used in research to outline possible courses of action or to present a preferred approach to an idea or thought. For example, the philosopher Isaiah Berlin used the "hedgehogs" versus "foxes" approach; a "hedgehog" might approach the world in terms of a single organizing principle; a "fox" might pursue multiple conflicting goals simultaneously. Conceptual frameworks are a type of intermediate theory that attempt to connect to all aspects of inquiry (e.g., problem definition, purpose, literature review, methodology, data collection and analysis). Conceptual frameworks can act like maps that give coherence to empirical inquiry. Because conceptual frameworks are potentially so close to empirical inquiry, they take different forms depending upon the research question or problem. Several types of conceptual frameworks have been identified, such as:

Working hypothesis Descriptive Categories Practical ideal types Models of operations research Formal hypotheses

These are linked to particular research purposes such as:

Exploration or Exploratory research Description or Descriptive research Gauging Decision making Explanation Prediction

What is Management by Objectives (MBO)? Management by objectives (MBO) is a systematic and organized approach that allows management to focus on achievable goals and to attain the best possible results from available resources. It aims to increase organizational performance by aligning goals and subordinate objectives throughout the organization. Ideally, employees get strong input to identify their objectives, time lines for completion, etc. MBO includes ongoing tracking and feedback in the process to reach objectives. Management by Objectives (MBO) was first outlined by Peter Drucker in 1954 in his book 'The Practice of Management'. In the 90s, Peter Drucker himself decreased the significance of this organization management method, when he said: "It's just another tool. It is not the great cure for management inefficiency... Management by Objectives works if you know the objectives, 90% of the time you don't." Using Management by Objectives The five-step process for MBO shown in figure 1, below. Each stage has particular challenges that need to be addressed for the whole system to work effectively.

These steps are explained below: 1. Set or Review Organizational Objectives MBO starts with clearly defined strategic organizational objectives (see our article on Mission and Vision Statements for more on this.) If the organization isn't clear where it's going, no one working there will be either. 2. Cascading Objectives Down to Employees To support the mission, the organization needs to set clear goals and objectives, which then need to cascade down from one organizational level to the next until they reach the everyone. To make MBO goal and objective setting more effective, Drucker used the SMART acronym to set goals that were attainable and to which people felt accountable. He said that goals and objectives must be:

Specific Measurable Agreed (relating to the participative management principle) Realistic Time related Notice the "A" in SMART is "agreed." This is sometimes referred to as "achievable" but,

with MBO, agreement about the goals is a critical element: It's not enough for the goals and objectives to be set at the top and then handed down. They must flow, or trickle, down through various stages of agreement. The only goal that is going to be met is one that is agreed on. How much easier is to get buy in when the person responsible for achieving the goal had a hand in developing it? 3. Encourage Participation in Goal Setting Everyone needs to understand how their personal goals fit with the objectives of the organization. This is best done when goals and objectives at each level are shared and discussed, so that everyone understands "why" things are being done, and then sets their own goals to align with these. This increases people's ownership of their objectives. Rather than blindly following orders, managers, supervisors, and employees in an MBO system know what needs to be done and thus don't need to be ordered around. By pushing decision-making and responsibility down

through the organization, you motivate people to solve the problems they face intelligently and give them the information they need to adapt flexibly to changing circumstances. Through a participative process, every person in the organization will set his or her own goals, which support the overall objectives of the team, which support the objectives of the department, which support the objectives of the business unit, and which support the objectives of the organization. 4. Monitor Progress Because the goals and objectives are SMART, they are measurable. They don't measure themselves though, so you have to create a monitoring system that signals when things are off track. This monitoring system has to be timely enough so that issues can be dealt with before they threaten goal achievement. With the cascade effect, no goal is set in isolation, so not meeting targets in one area will affect targets everywhere. On the other hand, it is essential that you ensure that the goals are not driving adverse behavior because they have not been designed correctly. For instance, a call centre goal of finishing all calls within seven minutes might be useful in encouraging the staff to handle each call briskly, and not spend unnecessary time chatting. However, it might be that customers' calls were becoming more complex, perhaps because of a faulty new product, and call centre operators were terminating the call after 6 minutes 59 seconds in order to meet their target, leaving customers to call back, frustrated. In this situation, the monitoring process should pick up the shift in the goal environment and change the goal appropriately. Set up a specific plan for monitoring goal performance (once a year, combined with a performance review is not sufficient!) Badly-implemented MBO tends to stress the goal setting without the goal monitoring. Here is where you take control of performance and demand accountability. 5. Evaluate and Reward Performance MBO is designed to improve performance at all levels of the organization. To ensure this happens, you need to put a comprehensive evaluation system in place. As goals have been defined in a specific, measurable and time-based way, the evaluation aspect of MBO is relatively straightforward. Employees are evaluated on their performance with respect to goal achievement (allowing appropriately for changes in the environment.) All that is

left to do is to tie goal achievement to reward, and perhaps compensation, and provide the appropriate feedback. Employees should be given feedback on their own goals as well as the organization's goals. Make sure you remember the participative principle: When you present organization-wide results you have another opportunity to link individual groups' performances to corporate performance. Ultimately this is what MBO is all about and why, when done right, it can spur organization-wide performance and productivity. Repeat the Cycle Having gone through this five-stage process, the cycle begins again, with a review of the strategic, corporate goals in the light of performance and environmental monitoring. When you reward goal achievers you send a clear message to everyone that goal attainment is valued and that the MBO process is not just an exercise but an essential aspect of performance appraisal. The importance of fair and accurate assessment of performance highlights why setting measurable goals and clear performance indicators are essential to the MBO system. Importance and Advantage of MBO 1. Better Management of Organizational Activities 2. Clarity in Organizational Action 3. Provides Maximum Personnel Satisfaction 4. Basis for Organizational Change 5. Other Benefits: Other specific benefits of MBO are as follows: It increases the effectiveness of management process. It effectively and efficiently uses the human resources. It encourages commitment towards goal attainment. It is a self-appraisal and self-management technique which leads through self-motivation and control. It inbuilt the result oriented attitude in employees. It reduces duplication of efforts. It advocates trust, cooperation and supportiveness that are central to human nature. It develops a greater sense of identification in employees. It serves as a device for organization control and integration.


Writing effective performance objectives starts with understanding what performance objectives are and how the align with and support your organizations goals, objectives, and priorities. It starts by following six steps. Six Steps to Writing Effective Performance Objectives 1. Understand the Purpose of Performance Objectives A performance objective is a specific end result that contributes to the success of the unit or organization and that an employee is expected to accomplish or produce. Performance objectives provide focus to an employees work to ensure that his or her actions are directed towards achieving important mission-related outcomes. Performance objectives are not work activities, task descriptions, or responsibilities listed in a performance description. A work activity is the action that an employee takes when performing his or her job. A performance objective specifies the outcome or end result of a work activity. EXAMPLES: Work Activity: Determine acquisition strategies. Performance Objective: By the end of the fiscal year, present two acquisition plans for new computer systems based on a thorough analysis of customer needs, capabilities, and cost/benefits. Work Activity: Prepare and deliver briefings. Performance Objective: By 28 February, deliver three briefings to key stakeholders regarding the new security initiative within the organization, and write a detailed report on the feedback received. Work Activity: Collaborate with others. Performance Objective: For each project received during the fiscal year, solicit at least one individual from outside of your work unit to provide input at the planning stage. Incorporate the individuals input into your final report. Recurring performance objectives are objectives written for activities that are part of an employees routine tasking which may be unforeseen in terms of volume and timing. Writing objectives that cover unforeseen work can be challenging, but this type of work is often an important part of an employees job and should be evaluated.

2. Compile Your Resources As appropriate, gather the following sources of information to help you write accurate, job-specific performance objectives: Directives Duty statements Performance examples Other guidance documents Position descriptions Standard operating policies and procedures

As appropriate, gather the following to help you tie the performance objectives to higher-level goals/objectives: Defense Intelligence Strategy and guidance National Intelligence Strategy and guidance Organizational goals, objectives, and priorities Supervisor performance objectives Work unit goals/objectives.

3. Determine the Most Important Aspects of the Job Make a list of the most important work activities for the job. Consider work activities: Critical for supporting the organizational mission Key to supporting other jobs in the organization Performed most often by the individual End Results

4. Work Activities

Choose three to six of the most important work activities on your list, and for each one, write down what the end result of performing that activity should be. EXAMPLES: Work Activity: Performs research on emerging foreign technologies. End Result: Produce a report on emerging foreign technologies. Recurring Task: Ensures computer program is working effectively. End Result: Submit weekly inspection reports, documenting problems and corrective actions.

5. End Results Objectives: Make Your End Result SMART Once you have written down several end results, turn each one into a SMART performance objective. Specific The performance objective needs to specify clearly defined expected results. Details are important so you know what is expected. Clearly defined expectations and results make it easier for your rating official to determine if you met the objective. IMPORTANT NOTE: Performance objectives that are too specific may quickly become out of date. EXAMPLES: Objective A Too Vague: Update report on emerging foreign technologies. Specific Information that could be included: What report should be updated? What is meant by updated? How much of the report will be updated? Updates should be current as of when? What are the standards for evaluating the quality of the updates? How would the rater know if the report was successfully updated? As needed, provide new sections for information not previously addressed, and revise previous sections for which you have found new information. The final product should demonstrate a thorough analysis of appropriate sources and meet quality standards as determined by relevant organizational guidelines and supervisor review. 6. Review Your Performance Objectives using the Checklist for Writing Effective Performance Objectives The checklist on page 11 identifies specific questions to help you determine if you are missing any critical components within performance objective effective. If you are: Missing something, then add it to your performance objective. Having trouble meeting some of the criteria on the checklist, refer to the Common Challenges and Potential Solutions section.