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Organizational effectiveness is a concept organizations use to gauge how effective they are at reaching intended outcomes.[1] Organizational effectiveness is both a powerful and problematic term. It may be used to critically evaluate and improve organizational activities; this is one of its strengths. However, the term has been noted as problematic as it means various things to different individuals. Furthermore, there are alternative methods for measuring organizational performance.[2] Organizational effectiveness embodies the degree to which firms achieve the goals they have decided upon, a question that draws on several different factors.[3] Among those are talent management, leadership development, organization design and structure, design of measurements and scorecards, implementation of change and transformation, deploying smart processes and smart technology to manage the firm's human capital and the formulation of the broader Human Resources agenda.

Economic Models of Organizational Effectiveness

In economics, organizational effectiveness is defined in terms of profitability and the minimisation of problems related to high employee turnover and absenteeism.[4] As the market for competent employees is subject to supply and demand pressures, firms must offer incentives that are not too low to discourage applicants from applying, and not too unnecessarily high as to detract from the firm's profit maximization capability.[4]

As organizational effectiveness translates across a broad array of organizational functions, several different models have been developed to achieve flexibility among organizations with different functions and objectives.

  1. The Goal-Attainment Approach determines organizational effectiveness by determining the degree to which a firm achieves the goals it has established. This model has a broad scope and calls for a quantitative evaluation of a firm's profit and productivity maximization, its shareholder value and its social and environmental impact.[3] This approach is subject to an assumption that organizations are rational, deliberate and goal-driven, and prioritize the result over the means of achieving organizational effectiveness.[5] Many researchers, nevertheless, contend that this paradigm is flawed since it merely presupposes that organisations are effective to the degree that they fulfil their objectives. Objectives, for example, may be seen as subjective and political since they represent the values and priorities of consultation. Furthermore, defining objectives can be difficult, which can impede measurement, and disparities in measuring methods can make comparing organisations difficult. Finally, organisations may be unable to undertake thorough impact evaluations capable of establishing causal attribution.[6]
  2. The Systems Resource Approach views the organization as an interrelation of subsystems that function together to affect an organization's desired outcomes.[7] Consequentially, if anyone sub-system performs poorly perform its role, the performance of the entire system is negatively affected.[8] Using this approach, organizational effectiveness is measured with reference to an organization's environmental inputs, the inter-relations among its constituent divisions, the degree of flexibility a firm has to respond to changes in the market, and the level of efficiency an organization has when delivering output.[9]
  3. The Strategic Constituencies Approach establishes that organizational effectiveness is determined by reference to its ability to satisfy the demands imposed by its major shareholders - or "constituents", from which it requires continued support to remain in existence.[10] This model assumes that an organization is composed of several political arenas with vested interests that compete for control over limited resources.[8] As the firm must satisfy the needs of these constituent parts to continue its existence, effectiveness is obtained by ensuring the needs and expectations of the strategic constituencies are fulfilled.[11] This model also accounts for changes in the surrounding environment, whereby an organization must strategically prioritize which constituencies are the most fundamental to its ongoing survival to operate effectively.[12]

Major approaches to Effectiveness

Multidimensional approaches

The multidimensional technique measures efficacy in several dimensions at the same time. It is frequently used in conjunction with the goal realisation approach and the system resource method.[13] The Competitive Value Framework is a version on the multidimensional method that covers the three value dimensions that are at the heart of most legitimate definitions. They are as follows: organisational focus, organisational structure, organisational means, and organisational goals.[14] In different situations, these multidimensional methods merely reflect an increasing realisation that, in the words of Starbuck and Nystrom, "organisations contain ambiguous, partially incomparable, and incongruous goals."[15]

Reputational approach

The reputational method combines validity requirements with voter satisfaction. The effectiveness of reputation measures is often measured based on the self-reported perceptions of consumers, workers, or outside professionals.[16]

Social Science Disciplines

Rapid advances in social sciences and technology aided by clever experimentation and observation are bringing several truths to the light of society. There are several disciplines of social sciences that help the OE Practitioner be successful.

Four of them are outlined below:


The broader idea of organizational effectiveness is applied to non-profit organizations in making funding decisions. Foundations and other sources of grants and other types of funds are interested in the organizational effectiveness of those people who seek funds from the foundations. Foundations always have more requests for funds or funding proposals and treat funding as an investment using the same care as a venture capitalist would in picking a company in which to invest.

According to Richard et al. (2009) organizational effectiveness captures organizational performance plus the myriad internal performance outcomes normally associated with more efficient or effective operations and other external measures that relate to considerations that are broader than those simply associated with economic valuation (either by shareholders, managers, or customers), such as corporate social responsibility.[17]

Multiple dimensions

Scholars of nonprofit organizational effectiveness acknowledge that the concept has multiple dimensions [18] and multiple definitions.[19] For example, while most nonprofit leaders define organizational effectiveness as 'outcome accountability,' or the extent to which an organization achieves specified levels of progress toward its own goals, a minority of nonprofit leaders define effectiveness as 'overhead minimization,' or the minimization of fundraising and administrative costs.

Organizational effectiveness is evaluated within nonprofit organizations using logic models. Logic models are a management tool widely used in the nonprofit sector in program evaluation. Logic models are created for specific programs to link specific, measurable inputs to specific, measurable impacts.[20] Typically, logic models specify how program inputs production activities and outputs, such as services delivered, which in turn lead to impacts, such as improved beneficiary health.

See also


  1. ^ Etzioni, Amitia. (1964). Modern Organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  2. ^ Forbes, Daniel P. (June 1998). "Measuring the Unmeasurable: Empirical Studies of Nonprofit Organization Effectiveness from 1977 to 1997". Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 27 (2): 183–202. doi:10.1177/0899764098272005. S2CID 145657794.
  3. ^ a b "A Practitioner's Guide to Organizational Effectiveness". AIHR. 2020-12-07. Retrieved 2022-03-27.
  4. ^ a b Oluleye, Francis (19 November 2010). "Reward economics and organisation: The issue of effectiveness". African Journal of Business Management. 5: 1115.
  5. ^ Perrow, Charles (1961). "The Analysis of Goals in Complex Organizations". American Sociological Review. 26 (6): 854–866. doi:10.2307/2090570. ISSN 0003-1224. JSTOR 2090570.
  6. ^ Mitchell, George E. (April 2013). "The Construct of Organizational Effectiveness: Perspectives From Leaders of International Nonprofits in the United States". Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 42 (2): 324–345. doi:10.1177/0899764011434589. S2CID 145649629.
  7. ^ Kast, Fremont Ellsworth; Kast, Fremont; Rosenzweig, James Erwin (1985). Organization and Management: A Systems and Contingency Approach. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0-07-033443-4.
  8. ^ a b Love, Peter E. D.; Skitmore, Martin (1996). "Approaches to Organisational Effectiveness and Their Application to Construction Organisations". 12th Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting, the Association of Researchers in Construction Management.
  9. ^ Robbins, Stephen P. (1990). Organization theory: structure, design, and applications (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-642471-0. OL 2216352M.
  10. ^ Pfeffer, Jeffrey; Salancik, Gerald R. (2003). The External Control of Organizations: A Resource Dependence Perspective. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-4789-9.
  11. ^ Keeley, Michael (1978). "A Social-Justice Approach to Organizational Evaluation". Administrative Science Quarterly. 23 (2): 272–292. doi:10.2307/2392565. ISSN 0001-8392. JSTOR 2392565. PMID 10307893.
  12. ^ Hitt, Michael; Harrison, Jeffrey; Ireland, R. Duane; Best, Aleta (June 1998). "Attributes of Successful and Unsuccessful Acquisitions of US Firms". British Journal of Management. 9 (2): 91–114. doi:10.1111/1467-8551.00077. ISSN 1045-3172.
  13. ^ Cameron, K. (1 March 1982). "The Relationship Between Faculty Unionism and Organizational Effectiveness". Academy of Management Journal. 25 (1): 6–24. doi:10.5465/256021.
  14. ^ Forbes, Daniel P. (June 1998). "Measuring the Unmeasurable: Empirical Studies of Nonprofit Organization Effectiveness from 1977 to 1997". Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 27 (2): 183–202. doi:10.1177/0899764098272005. S2CID 145657794.
  15. ^ Starbuck, William H.; Nystrom, Paul C. (1983). "Pursuing Organizational Effectiveness That Is Ambiguously Specified". Organizational Effectiveness: 135–161. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-157180-1.50011-2. ISBN 9780121571801.
  16. ^ Jobson, J. D.; Schneck, R. (1 March 1982). "Constituent Views of Organizational Effectiveness: Evidence from Police Organizations". Academy of Management Journal. 25 (1): 25–46. doi:10.5465/256022.
  17. ^ Richard et al. (2009): Measuring Organizational Performance: Towards Methodological Best Practice. Journal of Management.
  18. ^ Herman, Robert D., & Renz, David O. (2008). Advancing Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness Research and Theory: Nine Theses. Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 18(4), 399-415.
  19. ^ Mitchell, George E. (2012). The Construct of Organizational Effectiveness: Perspectives from Leaders of International Nonprofits in the United States. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.
  20. ^ McLaughlin, John A., & Jordan, Gretchen B. (2010). Using Logic Models. In Joseph S. Wholey, Harry P. Hatry & Kathryn E. Newcomer (Eds.), Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.