Categories or Types of Business Goals

Cite this article as:"Categories or Types of Business Goals," in The Business Professor, updated April 3, 2020, last accessed October 29, 2020,

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What are the categories or types of goals?

There are generally 3 types of organizational goals that generally align with the organizational level at which they are created:

  • Strategic Goals – Strategic goals are generally developed by higher-level managers. For example, in a corporation, the board of directors is generally tasked with crafting the organization’s strategy. As part of this function, this group may also craft goals for the organization to accomplish. They then hand these goals down to the company’s executives and then lower-level managers for execution.
  • Tactical Goals – Tactical goals are generally developed or carried out by middle managers. That is, tactical goals are increasingly present in middle tiers of the organizational structure. These goals break down the strategic goals in to more actionable elements based upon the function or division of the sub-unit tasked with relevant responsibilities.
  • Operational Goals – Operational goals are specific, measured goals that are further broken down into specific objectives to be accomplished. These goals and objectives are the domain of the functional employees who go about delivering the company’s value proposition customers or clients.

Aside from organizational level, the type or nature of goals will differ based upon the functional areas implicated by the goals (e.g., finance, marketing, accounting, sales, logistics, etc.) and the time frame for completion.

Other classification of goals might include Real Goals or Stated Goals. A real goal is the one adopted and actively pursued by the organization. A stated goal is one that is communicated to stakeholders but is not actually pursued by the organization. Stated goals serve more to affect the image or perception of the organization by third-parties. These types of goals do little to motivate or guide the activities of employees.

Finally, goals may be Short-Term or Long-Term. Short-term goals tend to be simple, highly-specific, and non-repetitive. Long-term goals tend to be higher-level, less specific, and continuous in nature. For example, a short-term goal may be to get new equipment set up and operational. A long-term goal may include continuous improvement in the quality of customer service evaluations.

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