The Use of Management by Objectives in Municipalities: Still Alive?

Alvin E. Holliman and Marcia Bouchard

While Management by Objectives (MBO) has essentially been ignored in the past twenty years by researchers, particularly regarding its use and/or usefulness by municipalities, Holliman explored its relevance along with other management models in his doctoral dissertation. Findings included exclusive use by 3% of the 893 survey respondents and use in combination with other models by 14% of the respondents. In effect, MBO is used in some form by 17% of the municipalities. Furthermore, its usefulness as a model for enhancing management control was found to be slightly useful with a mean rating of 4.06 on a six point Likert scale, based on all responses, and 4.54 (between slightly useful and moderately useful) when considering valid responses for cities using that system only. Furthermore, MBO’s rated usefulness compares favorably to ratings for other management models and data suggests it should be regarded as an effective tool for enhancing management control.