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Business Goal Setting (BGS) bridging strategy and organisational behaviour; as part of strategy development, what elements of business goal setting contribute to employee intellectual buy-in? A multiple case-based study.

Business Goal Setting (BGS) bridging strategy and organisational behaviour; as part of strategy development, what elements of business goal setting contribute to employee intellectual buy-in? A multiple case-based study.
Business Goal Setting (BGS) bridging strategy and organisational behaviour; as part of strategy development, what elements of business goal setting contribute to employee intellectual buy-in? A multiple case-based study.
This qualitative research has sought to understand better the concept of setting goals at a business level and their role, as a part of Strategic Management, in strategy development and implementation. A business goal can be said to be an eventual desired state or destination that fulfils the ambitions of the business. The literature on Strategy indicates that business goals are accepted as part of strategy development but does not elaborate on what purpose business goals serve, how they should be developed, what they should contain or how they should be communicated in order to maximise their effectiveness. The literature tends to assume that the business goals are a given. Organisational Behaviour based empirical work on goals at an individual level has been extensive, and this has been extended to team, group and macro levels but not specifically at a business level nor researched from a Strategy perspective. This research seeks to bridge these two disciplines and fill this gap. The research method involved collecting data from three different companies, through documents, interviews and qualitative surveys, to understand what business goals were chosen, their intended purpose, how they were developed, how they were communicated and what were the results. The data was differentiated between those who developed and communicated the business goals (generally the Senior Leadership Team), and the employees whom they were intended to influence. The information was coded, and key elements were determined based on the evaluation of the research participants’ understanding and acceptance, or intellectual buy-in, to the business goals as a proxy for measuring their collective contribution to business performance. The three organisations had very different approaches to Business Goal Setting (BGS) and different levels of effective employee intellectual buy-in, which produced a comprehensive view of the key elements in terms of content and process. These are presented in three case studies, followed by a cross-case analysis and conclusions. It was found that clarity of understanding is a key element of Business Goal Setting; this includes any terms used, the intended purpose of the business goals, and what needs to be considered in their development and communication. The research has identified that there is value in using business goals as both business and leadership tools and that poor use can have a negative effect on an organisation. Well-developed business goals, the research indicates, are those that provide direction and purpose to employees. They have the potential to enhance communications, organisational alignment and better decisionmaking. To achieve this, the business goals must provide context and be understood, memorable, tangible and measurable and, most importantly, provide clarity to employees how their role contributes to the achievement of the business goals. This research has developed theory, from a Strategy perspective, filling the gap in terms ii of where business goal setting fits within Strategic Management theory and strategy development as a part of this. The research also builds on Goal Setting theory from an Organisational Behaviour perspective, adding layers of detail that might not have been relevant at individual or group levels, and potentially enhancing this theory. This research will contribute both to academic understanding and better management practice.
University of Southampton
Callander, Jeffrey Scott
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Callander, Jeffrey Scott
d48bb6bf-7807-4b79-8e25-c1bc7c78c9bb
Higgs, Malcolm
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Marti, John V
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Callander, Jeffrey Scott (2020) Business Goal Setting (BGS) bridging strategy and organisational behaviour; as part of strategy development, what elements of business goal setting contribute to employee intellectual buy-in? A multiple case-based study. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 324pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This qualitative research has sought to understand better the concept of setting goals at a business level and their role, as a part of Strategic Management, in strategy development and implementation. A business goal can be said to be an eventual desired state or destination that fulfils the ambitions of the business. The literature on Strategy indicates that business goals are accepted as part of strategy development but does not elaborate on what purpose business goals serve, how they should be developed, what they should contain or how they should be communicated in order to maximise their effectiveness. The literature tends to assume that the business goals are a given. Organisational Behaviour based empirical work on goals at an individual level has been extensive, and this has been extended to team, group and macro levels but not specifically at a business level nor researched from a Strategy perspective. This research seeks to bridge these two disciplines and fill this gap. The research method involved collecting data from three different companies, through documents, interviews and qualitative surveys, to understand what business goals were chosen, their intended purpose, how they were developed, how they were communicated and what were the results. The data was differentiated between those who developed and communicated the business goals (generally the Senior Leadership Team), and the employees whom they were intended to influence. The information was coded, and key elements were determined based on the evaluation of the research participants’ understanding and acceptance, or intellectual buy-in, to the business goals as a proxy for measuring their collective contribution to business performance. The three organisations had very different approaches to Business Goal Setting (BGS) and different levels of effective employee intellectual buy-in, which produced a comprehensive view of the key elements in terms of content and process. These are presented in three case studies, followed by a cross-case analysis and conclusions. It was found that clarity of understanding is a key element of Business Goal Setting; this includes any terms used, the intended purpose of the business goals, and what needs to be considered in their development and communication. The research has identified that there is value in using business goals as both business and leadership tools and that poor use can have a negative effect on an organisation. Well-developed business goals, the research indicates, are those that provide direction and purpose to employees. They have the potential to enhance communications, organisational alignment and better decisionmaking. To achieve this, the business goals must provide context and be understood, memorable, tangible and measurable and, most importantly, provide clarity to employees how their role contributes to the achievement of the business goals. This research has developed theory, from a Strategy perspective, filling the gap in terms ii of where business goal setting fits within Strategic Management theory and strategy development as a part of this. The research also builds on Goal Setting theory from an Organisational Behaviour perspective, adding layers of detail that might not have been relevant at individual or group levels, and potentially enhancing this theory. This research will contribute both to academic understanding and better management practice.

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Published date: July 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 447767
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/447767
PURE UUID: 3050b8b5-62f5-41a3-9784-e7faf0778e45

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Date deposited: 19 Mar 2021 17:34
Last modified: 12 Dec 2021 13:07

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Contributors

Thesis advisor: Malcolm Higgs
Thesis advisor: John V Marti

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