Causes and consequences of perceived goal differences between departments within manufacturing organizations

Aukje Nauta, Karin Sanders

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)
    322 Downloads (Pure)


    Differences between departments' perceptions of goals are assumed to impede interdepartmental coordination because they are often biased and therefore likely to be related to interdepartmental conflict. Results from a study in 11 manufacturing organizations among 120 employees in manufacturing, planning and marketing departments show that employees believed that they pursued goals that are valuable to the organization more strongly than other departments. Manufacturing and marketing employees perceived the largest goal differences with regard to their own department goals. Planning employees perceived the largest goal differences with the manufacturing department with regard to the goals of marketing, and with the marketing department with regard to manufacturing goals. This suggests that the 'boundaries' of the social identity of planning employees seem to change depending on which comparison is salient. The more an organization had an integrative strategy of competing on both low cost and high customer service, the smaller were some of the perceived goal differences. Furthermore, perceived goal differences were positively related to interdepartmental conflict frequency and seriousness. This study demonstrates the importance of reducing perceived goal differences, which can be achieved partly by interventions at the organizational level.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)321-342
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept-2001


    • industrial
    • psychology
    • organizational effectiveness
    • management by objectives
    • Goal setting in personnel management
    • supervision of employees

    Cite this