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Improving the Use of Management by Objectives in Police Departments

NCJ Number
Date Published
105 pages
This study examined critical issues police departments face when deciding about the adoption, design, and implementation of management-by-objectives (MBO) programs.
Data collection between 1983-1984 involved a literature review, a mail survey of police departments (300 usable responses, 37-percent return), telephone interviews with personnel at 12 departments with MBO's, field visits and in-person interviews, and a questionnaire survey of personnel with MBO experience. Overall, results indicate that MBO systems appear to have considerable potential for helping police departments motivate management personnel to improve service delivery and service outcomes. Properly designed MBO's include setting of objectives and performance targets, feedback of results, and increased participation by lower- and mid-level management. Some of the police departments examined preserved these basic motivational elements and achieved hoped-for benefits, but most did not appear to take advantage of the motivational potential of such programs. Major problems included vague objectives, insufficient performance review and training, inadequate reporting systems, and exclusion of lower level managers. 12 notes and 159 references.

Date Published: January 1, 1987