objective agreement

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The term target agreement describes a leadership technique in which a manager and their employees, e.g. B. a university president and the academic senate, a clinic director and the staff, a lecturer and his students or a teacher and his pupils agree on the realization of common goals, for example in the profiling strategy of the institution, a special project or a larger teaching plan .

Goal setting

When prioritizing corporate or project goals, managers regularly orientate themselves towards the global goals of the entire company. A distinction is made between short, medium and long-term goals and between operational and strategic goals.

When agreeing goals in the training sector, the main focus is on the motivation of all participants and their joint responsibility for achieving the agreed goals. The goal formulation is used to make the subsequent planning understandable to all those involved, to ensure sustainable cooperation and to be able to control the project progress in a target-oriented manner. For the use of the required resources, interim targets are agreed for control purposes, in order to continue the project to the next interim target, taking the development into account. The formulation of goals helps to adhere to the set framework. Milestones lead to a project being processed in sections with correction options.


The target agreements in commercial companies, but also those in training institutions with democratic structures, basically contain two elements: a) the actual target and b) the measures required to achieve it, d. In other words, they are made up of (quantitative) number targets and (qualitative) action plans.


In the target agreements of companies z. B. Services of the employee negotiated as an internal supplier.

A goal has four dimensions:

  • the target direction and the one developed from it
  • Measurand
  • the target height of the measurand, possibly related to a
  • Reference value


  • "Result improvement" is the goal
  • the measured variable could then be, for example, EBIT ,
  • the target amount, for example, "5 percent" and
  • the reference value for example "previous year"

The entire goal would then be: "Increase in EBIT by 5 percent compared to the previous year". When specifying the target amount as an absolute value, there is no need to specify a reference value, for example: "Result improvement to 3.2 million euros."

A goal should be defined so that

  • the target direction reflects the strategic direction of the company,
  • the measured variable actually depicts this,
  • the target level is accepted, realistically achievable with effort and motivating. In particular, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, it must be ensured that the agreed tasks do not endanger the physical or mental health of the employee. A hazard can arise, for example, from the agreement of so-called stretched targets , which are based on the maximum utilization of the performance potential (they do not contain any “buffers”).

In the case of target agreements by educational institutions such as universities or schools, for example, it is about medium-term and long-term profile formation, which should make up the unmistakable flagship and differentiate it from other, competing institutions. In the higher education sector, it must be supported by the committees, the Senate, the faculties and institutes and actively represented internally and externally in order to be successful.

In the case of target agreements by institutions such as clinics, z. B. the professional orientation and the corresponding expansion of the facility, which must be advised and decided by the Board of Directors and coordinated with the medical profession and the nursing staff. Such a target can only rarely be solved without conflict.


Almost every employee in a company, scientist at a university or doctor at a clinic is also an "internal customer": colleagues provide him with goods, immaterial contributions, cooperative services ("input") that are prerequisites for achieving his goals.

Just as goals have no power unless they consist of the four elements, unspecified action plans have no power. These objectives are " SMART " (originally the English acronym for s pecific = specific, m easurable = measurable, a chievable = attainable, r elevant = relevant, and t imed = terminated) be.

The measures to achieve this goal must be clear and understandable:

  • Who (affected business entity, department , company)
  • What (description of the content of the measure)
  • When / by when (time for intermediate goals, milestones and results)
  • With what (use of resources, especially capital (cost of the measure) and work (collegial support))
  • How (procedure, especially methodology and procedures )
  • Result (result to be achieved with regard to the respective goal, with verifiable quality definition ).

A target agreement must inevitably result in appropriate targeted actions: Political initiatives must be taken on the part of the university or clinic, public relations work must be carried out, recruiting must be initiated, fundraising initiated, internal restructuring must be prepared.

Goal setting or goal setting

A goal is described according to a model that supports communication between the participants.

Strategic goals

Strategic goals are geared towards the long term. In the corporate sector , such things as a new product development, the expansion of market shares or the opening up of new markets, which applies simultaneously to several independent economic entities. These units often pursue divergent goals, some of which are in competition with one another or which form what are known as goal hierarchies. A well-known and holistic planning aid for the overall alignment is the balanced scorecard , in which long-term and value-creating goals are set. The instruments of the strategic goals include portfolio analysis , potential analysis , ROI analysis or the product life cycle .

In the field of education , strategic goals include B. the long-term educational policy orientation of the institution in order to be able to survive in the competition between universities or schools in the long term. The same applies to securing the continuity of hospitals and sanatoriums.

Operational goals

Operational goals are mostly short to medium term oriented or refer only to individual departments of very large companies or hospitals or to the faculties and institutes of universities. Often annual or quarterly targets are assumed. Since these can lead to a mutual cannibalization of individual service areas without an overarching long-term and holistic goal orientation (individual profit centers work against each other or marketing and sales pursue different strategies), operational goals must be subordinate to the strategic ones.

In complex projects such as software development , milestones are agreed as intermediate goals in the course of a development phase (e.g. technical concept , data processing concept , programming, test, introduction). They are part of a roadmap . When such a stage of development is reached, a project can possibly be realigned or even ended prematurely, which can mean considerable savings in time and money.

In exceptional cases, an operational goal can consciously target losses, for example if start-up or restructuring losses are deliberately planned in the start-up phase or when a new product is launched. The break-even point (break-even point) is the threshold at which the proceeds cover the costs and strategically planned. In the higher education sector, in contrast to entrepreneurial sectors, which now also include hospitals, the argument is repeatedly put forward that educational institutions (and actually also health institutions) are not primarily production facilities that generate material profits should, but about institutions whose economic performance can only be seen secondarily in well-trained academics or healthy people.

Earnings target

A complete result target formulation of a commercial enterprise could read: “The XZ department is planning a regional operational expansion of direct sales for copiers to € 400,000 for the current financial year in its sales area Plz (sic!) 50000–55000. This result is to be achieved with the help of the department's two field sales staff and with the help of a full-time position in the group's own call center under the direction of the regional sales manager CBA. Particular attention should be paid to the strategic competitive advantages of the SOSOSO4 type compared to the main competitor NENENE9. If necessary, the regional sales manager supports both employees in customer meetings on site. "

Process goal

A complete process goal formulation of a company could read: “The seminar quality of our training leaders should be increased in the course of this quarter so that the customer surveys in the categories 'practical relevance', 'learning with fun and joy' and 'practicability' averaged 80 percent reach our evaluation sheet. To this end, it is planned to set up a rolling coaching and observation process in which all trainers take part in an event held by a colleague at least once a month. The resulting exchange should be developed and discussed by mid-quarter at the latest for the lecturers' conference. The specialist lecturer GRR is responsible for this measure in coordination with ZTG. "

The process goal of a school could be, for example: By recruiting and using specially trained teachers and social workers in extra-curricular training courses, we want to ensure that the migrant children handed over to us for integration achieve such good German language skills and behavior within a given time frame that they can do normal lessons for everyone promising to be able to participate.

Problems and Risks

If the target agreement is signed by the employee, it is a written addition to the employment contract . In companies with a works council , employees can get advice from the works council about the consequences of signing.

In a meaningful system analysis, both input and output variables are to be assessed. When evaluating employees, this requirement is neglected in many cases: the obligations of the employee as an in-house supplier are agreed and their achievement is assessed, the rights of the employee as an in-house customer are not recorded to the same extent. The quality of target agreements therefore often suffers from an asymmetry between the evaluation of the performance that an employee provides and the evaluation of the performance that is a prerequisite for the employee's successful work. If this neglect is maintained despite the contradiction of the employee, the neglect becomes an intent and should be documented accordingly by the employee.

It is also possible that target agreements are designed in such a way that the targets cannot be achieved in practice. The aim of such an approach can be to create reasons for a conduct-related termination.

In the discussion about Beyond Budgeting , it is criticized that the customary coupling of variable remuneration to the target agreement creates performance-reducing incentives. On the one hand, employees who are remunerated according to the degree of goal realization have a general interest in agreeing goals that are as easy to achieve as possible. On the other hand, a strict focus on goals can lead to selfish and short-term behavior at the expense of the entire company. One example is declining performance when goals are achieved before the end of the financial year in order to create a buffer for the following year. It is also recommended that instead of fixed targets, only relative, self-regulating targets are agreed against suitable benchmarking comparison groups, because a performance measurement is only meaningful through a competitive comparison.


In view of the problems and risks of target agreements used to assess employees, their implementation in Germany is subject to co-determination . This is particularly the case when it comes to integrating employees collectively and in a binding manner in a corporate strategy that encompasses work obligations. The works council also represents the interests of employees with whom a company wishes to conclude individual target agreements. One of the tasks of the works council here is to ensure that goals are actually reached, that goals can be measured objectively and that they are balanced. A risk assessment of the agreed goals and tasks is also important, even if there are no chemical-physical hazards to be taken into account, because modern European occupational safety has made the employer responsible for avoiding work-related psychological and psychosomatic illnesses. Here the works council has very effective co-determination and monitoring options.

Without reference to remuneration, a target agreement in Germany is a "general assessment principle" subject to co-determination according to Section 94 (2) BetrVG ; in the case of control by data processing systems, co-determination of performance and behavior control according to Section 87 (1) No. 6 BetrVG also applies . In relation to remuneration, Section 87 (1) No. 10 to 12 BetrVG apply. In practice, in companies with a works council, the use of target agreements is regulated by a works agreement between the management and the works council.

In didactic projects , participation is one of the constituent core features of this type of teaching. This is what is known as socially integrative teaching , which differs from the form of teacher-centered as well as student-centered teaching through joint target agreements for the upcoming learning processes . The learners are involved in both the final and partial target agreements and are accordingly jointly responsible for the success. In more complex projects, this is also sealed in writing by a separate project contract.

Economic importance and implications

Particularly in the case of extensive projects, the goals are precisely formulated and the paths to them are structured using interim goals so that the calculation of personnel, material and costs is possible, a schedule can be adhered to and, if necessary, a scenario can be drawn up about further progress.

In the field of didactic projects, target projections, based on ongoing documentation of the events, always necessarily correspond with a final inventory of the results of the joint venture and a final analysis of what has been achieved. It makes no sense to think about a goal, to strive for it and to let the evaluation rest. Finally, the determination of the success or failure and the savoring and exploitation of the results were an essential reason for starting the project. This applies to projects of any kind. This last phase of a successfully completed project can ideally lead to a follow-up project with new target agreements.

Success or failure always has consequences for those involved. In the event of success, value creation was achieved that was intended. This can be of a material or ideal nature. In the event of failure, appropriate conclusions must be drawn from the analyzes. If public funds or sponsors were used for the project , they must be accounted for. This obliges those involved to a conscientious, realistic target agreement that is achievable. If, as is usual with more complex projects, a project contract has been concluded between the parties involved , whereby the participants usually also have to make financial advance payments themselves, the achievement of the objectives and their reflection also play an essential role in this regard.

Corporate philosophy

When target agreements are set in hierarchically structured and managed companies, targets are dictated. In this case, target agreements are a means of triggering short-term actionism if there is a lack of trust. From a certain organizational size onwards, they are unavoidable. If trust is disturbed, target agreements are a safeguard in the transfer of tasks. You have rewards or punishments as a consequence for fulfilling or not fulfilling. This has an impact on future collaboration and motivation.

See also


  • Svenja Deich: The legal assessment of target agreements in the employment relationship . 2004, ISBN 978-3-8325-0590-5 .
  • Detlef Grimm, Norbert Windeln: Target agreements - drafting contracts in the employment relationship . Heidelberg sample contracts, Volume 124, 2nd edition, Verlag Recht und Wirtschaft, Frankfurt a. M. 2011, ISBN 978-3-8005-4322-9 .
  • André Haffner, Andreas Forrer: Managing projects in areas of social tension. A qualitative approach . Lulu, Chicago and Zug 2011, ISBN 978-1-105-03879-2 .
  • Ralph Heiden: Pay-related target agreements from an employment law perspective . Studies on German and European labor law, edited by Henssler / Franzen / Junker / Schüren, NOMOS Verlag, Baden-Baden 2007, ISBN 978-3-8329-2507-9 .
  • Iris Oltman: project management. Think goal-oriented, work together successfully . Rowohlt, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3499607638 .
  • Antje I. Stroebe, Rainer W. Stroebe: Motivation through target agreements . 2nd edition, Verlag Recht und Wirtschaft, Frankfurt a. M. 2006, ISBN 3-8005-7328-8 .
  • Silke Traub: Design project work successfully. Via individualized, cooperative learning to self-directed small group projects . UTB, Bad Heilbrunn 2012, ISBN 978-3-8252-3657-1 .
  • Siegbert Warwitz, Anita Rudolf: Features of a Project . In: Dies .: Project teaching. Didactic principles and models . Verlag Hofmann, Schorndorf 1977, ISBN 3-7780-9161-1 , pp. 18-22.
  • Klaus Watzka: Target agreements in companies - basics, implementation, legal issues . Gabler Verlag, Wiesbaden 2011, ISBN 978-3-8349-2624-1 .
  • Gunther Wolf: Variable remuneration - ingeniously easy to manage companies, relieve managers and inspire employees . 3. Edition. Hamburg. Verlag Dashöfer 2010, ISBN 978-3-931832-67-4 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Antje I. Stroebe, Rainer W. Stroebe: motivation through target agreements . 2nd edition, Verlag Recht und Wirtschaft, Frankfurt a. M. 2006, ISBN 3-8005-7328-8 .
  2. Silke Traub: Design project work successfully. Via individualized, cooperative learning to self-directed small group projects . UTB, Bad Heilbrunn 2012, ISBN 978-3-8252-3657-1 .
  3. ^ Siegbert Warwitz, Anita Rudolf: Characteristics of a project , In: Dies .: Projektunterricht. Didactic principles and models . Verlag Hofmann, Schorndorf 1977, ISBN 3-7780-9161-1 , pp. 18-22.
  4. Gunther Wolf: Variable remuneration - ingeniously easy to manage companies, relieve managers and inspire employees. 3. Edition. Hamburg. Verlag Dashöfer 2010, ISBN 978-3-931832-67-4 .
  5. Iris Oltman: Project Management. Think goal-oriented, work together successfully . Rowohlt, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3499607638 .
  6. André Haffner, Andreas Forrer: "Managing projects in areas of social tension. A qualitative approach" Lulu, Chicago and Zug 2011, ISBN 978-1-105-03879-2 .
  7. A. Vera: The "industrialization" of the hospital system through DRG case flat rates - an interdisciplinary analysis . In: Das Gesundheitwesen , 3, 2009, p. 161 f., P. E10 ff.
  8. IG-Metall: Target agreements ( Memento of the original from September 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ( PDF file) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.igmetall-itk.de
  9. ^ Siegbert Warwitz, Anita Rudolf: Characteristics of a project , In: Dies .: Projektunterricht. Didactic principles and models . Verlag Hofmann, Schorndorf 1977, ISBN 3-7780-9161-1 , pp. 18-22.
  10. Herbert Gudjons: What is project teaching? In: J. Bastian (Ed.): The project book . Bergmann + Helbig, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-925836-04-7 .
  11. ^ Siegbert Warwitz, Anita Rudolf: Characteristics of a project , In: Dies .: Projektunterricht. Didactic principles and models . Verlag Hofmann, Schorndorf 1977, pp. 20-22.
  12. ibid p. 21
  13. Reinhard K. Sprenger: Myth Motivation . 20th edition. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2014, ISBN 3-593-50156-2
  14. Reinhard K. Sprenger : Aufstand des Individuums , 2nd edition. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 3-593-36560-X