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MBO (Management-by-Objectives) Can Help Bring Order Into Our Chaotic Courts

NCJ Number
Management Focus Volume: 25 Issue: 3 Dated: (May-June 1978) Pages: 24-32
R A Nielsen; R A Drumm
Date Published
9 pages
In Massachusetts, the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) met its court system's problems in management through development of a management-by-objectives (MBO) plan.
In initial meetings consensus held that the diversity of activities within the OES (ranging from legislation drafting to the devising of personnel and budgeting systems for the courts) was fragmenting the office. They sought a coordinated and focused work effort. With the help of a consultant and LEAA funding, OES developed objectives to define direction for the OES, establish a system of professional accountability, improve utilization of limited resources, and build awareness and understanding of the OES. The MBO approach was appropriate because it emphasized results rather than means. It maintained that the clearer the idea of what the institution is trying to accomplish, the greater the prospects of accomplishing it, and that progress can best be measured in terms of what is stated to be accomplished. MBO integrates the full spectrum of the management process: planning, measuring, controlling, and rewarding. With the MBO approach, the OES established a mission statement, goals, and objectives to achieve those goals. From the original 50 objectives 27 were derived that were approved by management. Each committee member and manager outlined for each of their functions an objective plan form detailing responsibilities and authority, constraints, objectives statements, and required resources and training. Experience showed that greater participation of personnel in devising the plans yields greater success by providing an enhanced feeling of commitment to planned achievements. Moreover, MBO, as an ongoing management process, needs to be reappraised and updated periodically. Charts show the objectives decided upon by OES and illustrate planning, using the MBO system.


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