In the introductory chapter we concluded that to adopt either a wholly prescriptive or a wholly descriptive perspective on strategic management was inappropriate and that the differences between these approaches would be considered in the context of particular topics. So, in a discussion of objectives we must distinguish between views about what the firm is believed to be doing, and opinions as to what firms should be doing. However, when consideration is given to various models of the firm’s objectives, which purport to be essentially descriptive in nature, a normative element can be detected. In as much as any attempt to model the objectives of the firm is motivated by a desire to demonstrate or prove a particular point of view, we should not expect to discover an ‘objective theory of objectives’! It should be no surprise that theories about objectives are inextricably linked with more widely drawn theories about the firm’s behaviour. These broader models will also be considered briefly in his chapter. First, though, we should explore whether or not an organisation can have a goal!
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