Goals and Objectives

Goals and Objectives
Goals (Part 1)
 Are broad and ambiguous.
 Ambiguity is necessary in order to achieve agreement
among decision-makers. (incremental decisionmaking).
 Ambiguity means limited accountability and/or so
much flexibility that the administrative branch of
government needs to make decisions about
goals/objectives when the policy is operationalized.
 Ambiguity can also make it necessary for the courts
to interpret a policy.
Goals (Part II)
 Describe what the program is supposed to accomplish.
 Are different from the services offered.
 Are also different than outputs (or what is produced by the
 Can be multiple. Two or more goals may be contained in one
 Can be explicit or implicit. (Manifest or latent).
 Can be displaced. Original goal may be subverted by
procedures or regulations. Funding levels may be insufficient
to achieve the goal, service personnel may not comply in a
manner that allows goals to be achieved, there may be other
barriers to goal attainment. The goal identified in the policy
may not be the one intended. There may be unintended side
effects or consequences.
No Child Left Behind:
 Goal: Improvement in educational attainment for all
 Insufficient funds for schools to implement.
 Educational goal achievement as measured by
standardized tests may not be attainable for some
groups of students (ESL or disabled students may
not feasibly be able to pass the test under some
 In one state (Texas), the drop-out rate was higher
after the program was implemented.
Policies and Programs are expected to produce certain
• Staff
• Staff-Client
• Program
Procedures &
• Service
• Assessment
• Case
• Services
• Changes in
• Benefits
• Changes in
Client Status
Differentiating between Output and Outcomes
 Outputs are the immediate effects of the program.
 Outcomes are the long-term effects of the program.
For example, long-term goals might include,
improving health status, increasing access to higher
education, or increasing income or employment.
Short-term steps to achieving these things might
require the delivery of health services, improving
education quality, or providing job training services.
Goals and objectives are used to put the
organization’s mission into action
 Goals pertain to an ideal we want to reach such as “end
homelessness” or “improve the quality of life in the
 Objectives are steps to reaching the goal and must be
a) Measurable (Performance Standards)
b) Time-limited
c) Specify a target group
c) Related to a specific task or process
d) Evaluable
A short-term goal can be
a immediate objective;
long-term goals are
things that are supposed
to happen in the future
as a consequence of the
program or policy.
Short and long-term goals
Objectives put policies/programs into action
Policy Goal
Objectives might be found:
 Could be specified in the legislation
 Could be specified in regulations
 Could be included in government contracts for
services with nonprofit or for-profit organizations.
 Could be found in grant proposals submitted by
nonprofit and for-profit organizations when they
apply for government funds.
 Could be specified as performance goals by specific
government units (i.e. process all applications within
a 3 month period).
At the organization level:
 Objectives are used to measure whether the
individual organization achieved its goals.
 They can also be used to measure whether specific
units or individuals met goals (Management by
 These performance standards can be used to
pinpoint where improvements need to be made to
address implementation problems with programs
and policies.
Sample Goals & Objectives for a Medi-Cal
Outreach Program:
Goal: Improve health care status among community residents
Objective 1: Recruit 10 community residents for paid employment as peer
health educators by February 1, 2003. Evaluation criteria – number of
residents recruited
Objective 2: Provide a series of six training workshops on Medi-Cal
eligibility by April 1, 2003. Evaluation criteria – number of workshops
actually held, number of people attending, findings from evaluation
survey distributed to those attending.
Objective 3: Inform the public about Medi-Cal eligibility through local
media and community forums. Evaluation criteria: number of calls for
more information to Medi-Cal hotline. Number of people attending
Objectives can either focus on task or
 Task objectives focus on completing a specific activity or
delivering a specific number of services.
 Process objectives are a means used to complete a task-
related activity. Process objectives are most often related to
the process of service delivery, leadership development,
increasing public awareness, recruitment or training of
volunteers and staff, or strengthening the organization.
Most policies are based on some theory about how goals are
to be achieved. This is also called a “theory of action.”
Family Reunification
Improves Family Functioning; Child
Remains in Home
Well-being of Child is Enhanced
Fewer Children in Foster Care
Decreases the Amount of Government
Funding Used for Foster Care
 Should reflect theories about what is supposed to
happen in the program.
Should be concrete enough that they can be
Should incorporate program/policy principles and
provide clues about the values inherent in the
Should “fit” with the intent of the policy goal.
Should logically lead to the resolution of the policy
problem that is targeted by the policy.
Sources of Information About Policy Goals
 Enabling Legislation
 Legislative history including official documents and
transcripts of hearings
 State and Committee Studies and Reports
 Amendments to Bills
 Statements by Lawmakers