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The topic of this research project is on the “Effect of Management by Objectives (MBO) on workers performance in Nigeria Public Service Organization.  A case study of National Population Commission (NPC), Enugu”.  The researchers were motivated to carry out research on this topic due to the neglect of the benefits inherent in involving workers in objective setting by the most Nigerian Public Service Organizations.  The researchers in conducting the research developed four research questions and they formed the basis of the questionnaire construction.  The researchers made use of both primary and secondary sources of data collection with the structured questionnaire as the main instrument used.  The population for the study is 417 of the National Population Commission (NPC), Enugu.  In order to reduce the figure to a researchable size, Yamani statistical formula was used to arrive at the researchable size of 204.  After the collection of the distributed questionnaire, 186 copies were used for the final analysis which were the good number of the questionnaire returned by the respondents.  The simple random sampling technique was used in selecting the sample for the study.  Whereas the data collected were presented and analyzed using frequency, percentage and table.   The findings revealed that the National Population Commission (NPC), Enugu and other Public service organizations in Nigeria have not largely embraced the system of Management by Objective (MBO).  The study identified time consuming, over-emphasis on goal setting over the working plan, lack of support from top level management, personally conflicts between superiors and subordinates as some of the problems associated with MBO.  The study also revealed that MBO if properly adopted have a high positive effect on workers performance.  While the benefits inherent in MBO include better motivation, clarity of goals, better communication and coordination, higher commitment to objectives and better link between organizational objectives and individual workers goals.  Based on these findings, the researchers recommended that the organization and other public service organizations in Nigeria should totally embrace the MBO system to at least have a system of management open to the public.  The researchers also listed some elements that need to be followed with the help of experts to avoid the problems associated with the MBO system.  Similarly, the researchers recommended some roles and positions the officials and executives should play to reap the full benefits of the system.












Title Page                                                              i

Certification                                                           ii

Dedication                                                             iii

Acknowledgement                                                   iv

Abstract                                                                v

Table of contents                                                    vii


  • Background and Need for the Study 1
  • Statement for the Problem 5
  • Objectives of the Study 9
  • Theoretical Foundation of the Study 10
  • Research Questions 13
  • Significance of the Study 14
  • Scope of the Study 16
  • Limitations of the Study 17
  • Definition of Terms and Acronyms 18

References                                                      20


2.1  Meaning and Origin of Management by Objective

(MBO)                                                            21

2.2  Principles of Management by Objectives               25

2.3  Application of Management by Objective              28

2.4  The Framework of Management by Objective        30

2.5  Objectives Setting Process                                 34

2.6  Staff Development and Performance Review         38

2.7  Limitations and Achievements of MBO                  46

References                                                      51


3.1  Research Design and Method                              53

3.2  Sources of Data Collection                                 54

3.2.1  Primary Sources of Data                                  54

3.2.2  Secondary Sources of Data                              54

3.3  Location of the Study                                        55

3.4  Population of the Study                                     55

3.5  Sample Size and Sampling Technique                  57

3.5.1 Sampling Technique                                        62

3.6  Instrumentation                                              63

3.7  Validity of the Instrument                                  64

3.8  Reliability of the Instrument                               66

3.9  Method of Data Collection                                  68

3.10 Instrument Distribution and Return rate               69

References                                                      69


INTERPRETATION OF DATA                                       73


5.1  Findings                                                          85

5.2  Recommendations                                            87

5.3  Conclusion                                                      90

Bibliography                                                    91

Appendix                                                        95

Questionnaire                                                  96










In the early stages of industrialization management by objectives (MBO) was used primarily at higher management levels. Today, it has to be adopted on the shop floor as well. This implies that one should be able to define objectives that one should be able to define objectives at the group level and minimum base should be settled down to measure the performance of employees. Growth of international competition has leads to an increase in customer’s expectations regarding quality. To be competitive today, an organization is require to implement a continuous and effective management by objective system. This can be viewed as a goal setting technique for management. Management by objective is also a mechanism for appraising managers and professional employee. With applying different management by objective practices according to Cole (2004:159) such as coaching and mentoring, performance based reward; employee participation, and job description, employees are evaluated based on how they accomplish specific goals set up by the manager.

This research project calculates the influence of these management by objective practices in Nigeria public sector organization. Majority of the management by objective type organization evaluated in private sector were affected dramatically in the from of better employee performance as well as organization productivity. So management by objective performance planning programme will clarity job responsibility provides clear performance goals and reduce ambiguity through feed back. Management by objective offers a practical support at team level and leads employee performance as well as organizational productivity.

Group productivity and job satisfaction also improved by commitment of group member towards their goal. The encouragement by participation of group in organization planning affects on job satisfaction of each group member. According to Antonio (2005:13), management by objective is an effective tool for leading self­-regulating teams. Proper coaching and mentoring promotes better organizational productivity. It enables teams to solve prospective group inconsistency.

Management by objective serves well as a means to attain control, especially if a systematical and proper coaching programme for teams is adopted.  In practice, however, the use of this type of control in organizations also requires support by a separate operation within the organization. Managers should select best performing and most energetic employees who utilized all their capacity, with the hope of attaining the performance based reward.

Overlooking the use of management by objective in practice in developing societies for better performance has been selected for study in this research project. Recent research in developed countries Stylve and Willander (2005;24) maintained, indicated extensive use of management by objective type of management. Employee performance and organization productivity flourished in superb manner due to utilization of management by objective rather than traditional management practices.                                    Still various reasons tend to view the operationalization part of management by objective as more complicated and less attractive to follow.  This research work was therefore designed to investigate and expose the impact of management by objective on the performance of employees in organizations and the need for Nigeria public sector organizations to embrace this management technique.


1.2  STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM                                                                       

Management by objectives (MBO) is a practical application of the reasoning behind the motion of goal-setting theory. Management by objective is a process in which employees participate with management in the setting of goals or objectives. An essential feature of management by objectives programme is that it involves a one-on-one negotiation session between a supervisor and subordinate in order to set concrete objective for the employees performance. During the session a deadline is set for the measurement of accomplishment, and the paths to the desired goals and the removal of possible obstacles are discussed. After an establish period of time has elapsed,the supervisor and subordinate meet again to review the subordinate performance using the agreed upon goals as a measuring stick (Hassan,2001;3).

Hassan’s concept of management by objective is based on an understanding premise that any system of management is better than no system at all.  A second premise states that to be workable, any management system must bridge the gap between the theoretical and the practical notion that management activity should be directed towards the accomplishment of pre-established goals.  A third important premise establishes that the appraisal of managerial performance is not an activity autonomous from other activities of the firm.  In other words, it regards the appraisal process as only one of several sub-systems operating within the confines of a goal-oriented management system.

One should not be mistaking by asking if the Nigeria public sector organizations performance shows the application of any management system at all.  How workable is the management method or is it just a theoretical method?  and finally, how often is the management performance appraised even in isolation of other organizational activities?

In the world of business today, a manager is clearly in a technical and economic environment that does not obtain in; for instance, educational spheres.  It is possible to survive in an educational setting despite several mistakes (although you will not do your reputation much good) but it can be quite otherwise with the manager in an organization whose primary goal is profit.  Managers’ tasks are manifold, from decision taking to managing people.  These tasks are all directed to one end; achieving a particular goal or goals.  “If you don’t have a goal, you have no idea whether you are on the right road or not”. –

It is very important therefore, that managers and employees know what their boss expects of them.  A system of management by objective if it is working well could tell them this.  But the Nigeria public sector organizations ignored the basic elements of management by objective to their own peril and to the detriment of the public.  Hence, the lack of commitment to duty, marginal productivity and lateness to work by workers characterized the system.  The demand from boss for an overtime has been followed by consistent murmuring and grumbling by workers since they are not part of the planning activities and they does not take part in setting the goal(s).

These situations spurred the interest of the researchers and they decided to subject the impact of management by objective on employees performance in organizations into critical examination.  That is, to find out if the concept of management by objective is known in National Population Commission Enugu.  The problems associate with its practice, and its actual impact on the employees performance.  The study will also examine the important benefits associated with its application in organizations.



       The general objective of this study is to examine the effect of Management by Objective on the performance of Employees in an organization.  The specific objectives of the study include;

  1. To ascertain the extent to which the National Population Commission Enugu practice the elements of management by objective.
  2. To assess the problems associated with the practice of Management by Objective in an organization.
  3. To examine how the application of management by objective affect the performance of workers in National Population Commission (NPC), Enugu.
  4. To discover the benefits associated with the application of management by objective in any organization.
  5. To proffer means of making management by objective a success in Nigeria public sector organizations in general.



The study has its theoretical foundation based on Management by Objective theory or style.  The phrase Management by Objective was coined by Peter Drucker in the 1950s, in his classic book “the practice of management”. He saw it as a principle of management aimed at harmonizing individual manager goals with those of the organization.

The leading exponent of MBO, Humble (1971) as quoted in Cole (2004:158), sees MBO as a means of integrating organizational goals, such as profit and growth, with the needs of individual managers to contribute to the organization and to their own self-development.  A system of management by objective therefore, seeks to achieve a sense of common purpose and common direction among the management of an organization in the fulfillment of organization results.

The most important features of management by Objective (MBO) to Cole (2004:158) are,

  • It develops logically from the corporate planning process by translating corporate and department objectives into individual managers’ objectives.
  • It focuses on results (system outputs) rather than on activity (system processes).
  • It seeks to improve management performance. An MBO system enables managers to see how well they are performing in the key areas of the jobs.  It also provides a basis for realistic discussions between managers and their supervisors concerning progress in their areas.

Management by Objectives, however does not mean the subordinate or workers deciding what is done or what is not because the ultimate responsibility for the decision still rests with the management.  It is the decision making process relating to objective setting and its accomplishment that is shared among workers (Akpala, 1990:132).

Thus, the above theory if properly applied will contribute in no small measure to solve the employees performance related problems in Nigeria public sector organizations in general and National Population Commission Enugu in Particular.  If every word of it is applied to the latter, the workers who participated in determining the objectives to accomplish and when to accomplish it, will probably understand the decision and agree that a certain course of action is needed to achieve such objectives.  It will motivate the workers of the organization to contribute and encourages them to accept responsibility towards the achievement of the objectives within the time frame agreed.

On the other hand, management by objective will afford the management of National Population Commission, Enugu vis-a-vis other public service organizations to recognize its workers power and expertise, which they can solicit and combine with theirs to reach a join decision and perhaps high productivity.



The following research question were developed by the researchers to guide the study.

  1. To what extent has the National Population Commission practice the elements of management by Objectives?
  2. What are the problems associated with the application of management by objectives in National Population Commission, Enugu?
  3. How does the practice of management by objective affect workers performance in the organization?
  4. What are the benefits associated with the application of management by objective in National Population Commission, Enugu in particular and the Nigeria public sector organizations in general?



This study when completed, will be of utmost value to the National Population Commission Enugu in particular and other public and private enterprises, management consultants etc.  The study will make a huge contributions to the practical application of the management by objective principles by any establishment.

The issues set to cover in this study will assist in the formulation of a long term management policies that will provide checks on the interactions of management and employees, create conducive environment devoid of organization strife, as well establish sustainable high employee performance and industrial democracy.

The work is topical for evolving proper working condition that will translate to optimum productivity and industrial harmony.  The findings if completely and properly implemented, will help improve the relationship among workers, motivate them towards cost effectiveness and efficiency, translate to increase productivity and subsequent realization of desired organization objectives.

Above all, the work is set to contribute in no small measure to the existing literature as regards the effective way of improving employee performance in an organization.  It will provide a means through which other researchers could study this organization and further examine other aspects of management that fall within the preview of this work.



This study will focus primarily on the effect of Management by Objective (MBO) on the performance of employees in organizations. A case study of National Population Commission Enugu.

There are many variable relating to Management by Objective, but the research covered the level of the application of the elements of management by objective in the organization.  It looked at the problems associated with the practice of this management style as well as the benefits inherent in it.  The study also examine the general implication of the management technique on the performance of the employees of the organization.

It is however believed that the knowledge obtained from the study can be applied globally to appreciate better the impact of Management by Objective on the performance of employees in organization.



Although this research work was successfully carried out, but not without few hiccups and drawbacks that made it a daunting task.

Finance was a major limitation that impinged on the quality of this work.  This cropped up in various forms; the high cost of producing the questionnaire, typing and binding the project, and cost of transportation.

Apart from the obvious that time resource for the study was grossly inadequate as research period collided with lecture time, it occasioned the inability of the researchers to reach all members of the same size.

Another constraints was the low level of co-operation from the respondents in giving information they considered as official secret.

Hence, the few setbacks encountered notwithstanding, the study no doubt still remains a quality reliable and applicable work.



It is important that a definition of some of the terms used in the research work be defined in accordance with the application in the work.  Some of these terms are:

Employees:   Employees in this context means human resources of the organization which comprises all the experiences, skills, judgment, abilities, knowledge, contract, risk-taking and wisdom of individuals working the organization.  

Management: Here management means a collection of activities involving planning, organizing, motivation and controlling to achieve a predetermined objectives.

Mentoring:  This is a process whereby a senior or experienced person is assigned to guide and assist a junior persons in their development at work.

Coaching: A method of providing on-the-job training for an employee in which an experienced and skilled individual helps a colleague to apply knowledge and skills in practice.   

Objectives: Objective here means something that you are trying to achieve.  It means at organizational level, the positive results which an organization set to accomplished within a period of time.






Akpala, A. (1990), Management; An Introduction and the

Nigeria Perspective, Enugu: University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus Press.  

Antoni, A.C. (2005),”Management by Objective; An

Effective Tool for Organizational Performance Proceedings of ASBBS Volume 15 No. 1.

Cole, G.A. (2004), Management Theory and Practice Sixth

Edition, London: Thomson Learning High Holborn House.

Drucker, P.(1954), The Practice of Management, London

Heinemann Educational Books Limited.

Hassan, Z.(2001), Management By Objectives; A New Way

       Of Management.

Styhre, A. and Williander, M. (2005), The Framework of

       Management by Objective, London: Sage Publications.


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