Every organization has various types of goals. "Organizational goals are desired states of affairs or preferred results that organizations attempt to realize and achieve" (Amitai Etzioni). The idea of organizational goals has a long history in economics, in which the classic position posits an entrepreneur or ownership group which in turn establishes the goals of the firm. Alternatively, these goals may represent a concesus arrived at by all members of the organization.
One useful scheme for describing organizational goals was provided by Charles Perrow. He has identified the following types of organizational goals:
* Officials goals. These goals are the formally stated goals of an organization described in its charter and annual reports and they are emphasized in public statements by key executives.
* Operative goals are the outcomes that the organization actually seeks to attain through its operating policies and activities.
* Operational goals Organizational goals define the performance objectives and desired behaviours within an organization.
However, a typical social organization today has multiple stakeholders-groups of people, and consequently has multiple goals, which, at times, may be mutually conflicting.
According to Perrow, multiple organizational goals can be classified into four major categories:
* Output goals. These goals are the "end product," such as consumer products, services, health care, or education.
* System goals. System goals relate to the organization itself, and they consist of such things as growth, stability, profit, efficiency, market share.
* Product goals. Product goals consist of the characteristics of the goods or services, such as quality, styling, uniqueness, variety, and price.
* Derived goals refer to the way an organization uses its power and influence to achieve other social or political goals (such as employee welfare, community services, or political aims).
Henry Minztberg has provided a different classification of goals:
* System goals. There are four system goals: survival, efficiency, control, and growth.
* Formal goals. Formal goals are used by managers to tell everyone what they are doing.
* Ideological goals. These goals are what the people within the organization believe in.
* Shared personal goals. These goals are what people within the organization come together to accomplish for their mutual benefit.
For most organizations, goals are constantly changing and members of the organizations must respond appropriately, by formulating new goals as well as deciding which goals will be accomplished, and in what order.