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.
References in periodicals archive ?
These include cognitive constraints on the ability of anyone in war to comprehend all its variables, especially when "nonlinear" dimensions need to be factored into the strategic calculus; "goal displacement," in which standard operating procedures of complex organizations become ends in themselves rather than entirely changeable means of achieving strategic objectives; interaction with the enemy; and "friction." In the United States especially, they include democratic pluralism, which makes it difficult to set a coherent policy or to tailor strategy to it, and the need for compromise, which makes it highly likely that more than a few political leaders will jump only halfway across Clausewitz's ditch, thus failing to achieve their objectives.
"goal displacement" to describe what happens when complying
When the potential scholarly activities of full-time community college faculty are narrowly defined as research, however, mission creep is insinuated, and community colleges are accused of attempting to encroach upon the purview of four-year research institutions in an expression of "goal displacement." One way to invalidate the criticisms of mission creep is to apply a broader definition of scholarship to the activities of community college faculty.
The major problem with evaluating agency performance based on outputs rather than outcomes is that attaching importance to these measures may lead to goal displacement as agencies focus on generating numbers that please political officials, rather than devoting their energies to achieving more meaningful policy outcomes.
A commonly used example of goal displacement involves the classification of crimes by law enforcement agencies.
The above example suggests how incentive structures can generate goal displacement in public agencies.
Although the classic cases of goal displacement by public authorities probably involve a failure to adapt to new circumstances, there is some evidence that the hospital service area is one where the second type of goal displacement dynamic may be occurring.
The first problem is compliance fraud, for clients have the opportunity to present fraudulent information to indicate compliance.(2) The second problem is goal displacement. When sanctions are used to discipline the clients regardless of their actual behavior, the goal of reforming clients' behavior may be displaced by the imperatives of the administrative process.
Client-based verification also causes a subtle change in the function of financial sanctions, resulting in goal displacement. This occurs when the client's actual behavior is confused with the artifact of that behavior contained in the verification record.