After reading this article you will learn about goal succession and goal displacement.

Goal Succession:

When new goals are added to existing goals of the organisation, goal succession is said to have taken place.

Goal succession can take the following forms:

1. Add New Goals to the Existing Goals:


The company may decide to add new goals to its existing goals. The old goals are, thus, not discarded and new goals are added to expand the business. For instance, a lung foundation (NGO) has the goals of creating awareness about lung health by making policies for tobacco control. Besides lung health, if it also looks after other public health problems like Indoor Air Pollution, it adds new goals to the existing goal to make the organisation more challenging and demanding.

2. Replace Existing Goals with New Goals:

New goals may be added if:

a. Existing goals cannot be achieved and, therefore, new goals have to be added so that organisations can survive in the competitive environment.


b. Existing goals have become irrelevant in the light of changing environmental conditions.

c. Existing goals have been achieved and, therefore, new goals have to be framed.

3. Enlarge Scope of Existing Goals:

The goals remain the same but their scope is widened to cover a larger segment of market and expand the business. An educational institution, for example, which was initially set up to impart education on regular academic courses may also subsequently impart vocational training to students. Imparting vocational training is, thus, widening the existing goal to impart education, pursued in addition to formal education.

Goal Displacement:


Goal displacement means moving away from the intended goal. When organisations over­-emphasise the rules and regulations to achieve the goals, members start placing so much importance to the rules that the rules become an end rather than means to achieve the end. This results in goal displacement.

The activities of the organisation become centered around the procedures and there appears distortion in organisation’s functioning. This distortion reflects achieving goals other than those that the organisation originally intended to achieve. Moving from intended goals to actual goals means goal displacement.

Some of the reasons that result in goal displacement are as follows:

1. When goals are non-attainable.


2. When employees lack confidence to work.

3. When route to achieving goals is strict rules and regulations.

4. When managers are incompetent to achieve the goals.

5. When individuals subordinate organisational goals to individual goals.


6. When managers formulate two sets of goals: stated goals and real goals.

Stated goals are the goals stated on paper which the organisation wants its stakeholders to believe. These are not what the organisation actually pursues. They are only official statements that appear in the organisation’s charter, annual report and public statements. They are often conflicting and appear as stakeholders want to see. Actually, they are subject to diverse interpretations and are not meant for actual implementation.

A politician asking for votes to provide public service may actually be doing so to increase his political power. A business organisation that actually states its objectives as customer satisfaction has profit maximisation as his real goal. Strong global growth, building market leadership and promoting company’s values at best are the statements that describe what the organisation is trying to accomplish.

However, what actually happens is not what is stated. The goals which the organisation actually pursues are the real goals. They are reflected in organisational policies and managerial actions. Though unwritten and unofficial, they are the actual standards against which actual performance is measured.


On getting a child admitted to school, the authorities say — A class will have a maximum number of 25 students so that students-faculty relations can be maintained. It is not surprising to find when the session starts that the class has 45 to 50 students.

The stated goal of promoting student learning process is displaced by the real goal of making money by admitting more students. An important way to avoid goal displacement is to follow the approach of Management by objectives.