What are the Factors Influencing Goal Commitment?

Effective use of goals requires getting individuals and or workgroups to be committed to goals they must carry out. It is one’s attachment to, our determination to reach a goal.

Supervisory Authority: Goals may be assigned by a supervisor who explains the reasons for the goal to the staff and gives needed instructions. A supportive supervisor will be more effective than an authoritative one. A supervisor must encourage and offer opportunities.

Peer and Group Pressure: This builds goal commitment by focussing on everyone’s efforts. Successful individuals act as role models but if goals are seen as unfair, peer and group pressure can cut goal commitment.

Public Display: The commitment may be greater to difficult goals with public commitment rather than private.

Expectations of Success: If individuals have high expectations of success then they might be more committed. If they think they cannot accomplish the tasks, commitment to the goal is less likely. Expectations of Success If individuals have high expectations of success then they might be more committed. If they think they cannot accomplish the tasks, commitment to the goal is less likely.

Incentives and Rewards: During goal setting, incentives may be offered. Some are tangible like money and others are intangible such as job challenge and recognition of goal achievement. Positive outcomes may foster commitment but negative ones may inhibit commitment.

Participation: Where the individual participates in goal setting commitment will be stronger. Participation aids in plan development for goal implementation. Managers should include subordinates in goal setting and then in planning how to achieve those goals.

Planning Period: Plan can be made either for the long run or intermediate run, or short run. But there should be some logic in selecting the right time range for the company planning. A company should not plan for a longer period than is economically justifiable, yet it is at times risky to plan for a shorter period. The answer to the right planning period seems to lie in the “commitment principle”, that logical planning encompasses a period of time in the future necessary to foresee, through a series of actions, the fulfillment of commitments involved in a decision. What the commitment principle implies is that long-range planning is not really for future decisions but rather for the future impact of today’s decisions. In other words, a decision is a commitment, normally of funds, the direction of action, or reputation. Hence, decisions lie at the core of planning.

The planning period will be longer or shorter depends upon the extent to which flexibility is desired to be built into the plan. The short-range tends to be selected to conform to quarters or a year because of the practical need for making plans co-extensive with accounting periods. The arbitrary selection of five years or so for the long-range is often based on the belief that the degree of uncertainty over longer periods makes the planning of questionable value. Often short-range plans are made without reference to long-range plans. This is a serious error. No short-run plan should be made unless it contributes to the achievement of the relevant long-range plan. Sometimes the short-range decisions, which are taken on the immediate situation, not only fail to contribute to a long-range plan but actually impede or require changes in the long-range plan.

The commitment principle must be considered in light of the flexibility principle of planning. This principle applies to the building into plans and the ability to change direction. The more flexibility built into the plans, the lesser would be the danger of losses to be incurred by unexpected events. The more planning decisions commitment for the future, the more important it is that a manager periodically checks on events and expectations and redraws plans as necessary to maintain a course towards the desired goal. This is called the “principle of navigational change”. This principle applies to flexibility in the planning process.

Promoting Innovation: The Role of the Planning Process: An organization’s view of innovation may come from the highest levels. The CEO sees a future based on innovation and will communicate this to organization members. This can be reflected in the mission statement. Goals can encourage innovation by having new ideas incorporated into the goals. Actual plans may involve the introduction of new products and services. Plans can also achieve goals by using innovative means in order to achieve stated goals.

Potential Obstacles to Planning: A rapidly changing environment may make planning harder. Some managers may not believe in planning at all. The manager’s daily work schedule pressures may distract from planning. Some managers have poor planning knowledge and skills. There may be low managerial involvement which may reduce effective planning.

Overcoming Obstacles to Planning: Have top management show strong support for the planning process. Have lower-level managers engage in and support planning. Have planning staff help top management develop planning process components such as monitoring the external and internal environments to generate data to help in decision making. Increase training of staff in how to develop plans. Managers should review plans often. Managers should develop contingency plans which are alternative plans for use if the environment changes making original plans unsuitable.

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