What Do Multiple Objectives Really Mean for Performance? Empirical Evidence from the French Manufacturing Sector
Forthcoming: Strategic Management Journal
52 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2019 Last revised: 15 May 2020
Date Written: May 15, 2020
We explore the performance consequences of the simultaneous pursuit of multiple objectives in organizations. Taking advantage of a unique dataset covering both the objectives pursued and performance outcomes, we test the hypothesis that is the cornerstone of multiple objective theory: performance on a given metric increases when it is pursued as an objective but decreases with the number of other objectives pursued simultaneously. We find overall support to this hypothesis, which holds for most, but not all, objectives. We further unpack the link between multiplicity of objectives and performance, investigating the moderating effects of organization design choices. This study suggests that multiple objectives impose a cost on organizations, but also provide a benefit of alleviating tradeoffs in achieving higher performance in multiple dimensions.
Keywords: Multiple Objectives, Performance Paradox, Organization Design, Behavioral Strategy
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation