goal displacement


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goal displacement

the process where by an organization's primary objectives (for example the provision of services to consumers) come to take second place to other subsidiary objectives (such as monitoring employee performance). Writers on ORGANIZATIONS have shown how there is the ever-present danger that the means adopted to achieve organizational goals will become ends in themselves and displace the original goals. This tension is inevitable because organizations generally need to develop procedures to guide their members' job activities. But time and effort have to be expended to ensure that the procedures are adhered to and that they are effective. In this way operation of the procedures can come to dominate the activities of managers to the exclusion of attaining the goals the procedures were initially intended to achieve. See BUREAUCRACY.