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goal displacement

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The idea that the formal goals of an organization can be supplanted by a new set of objectives that reflect the interests of organizational leaders. The concept is applied particularly to the analysis of trade unions and is associated with the belief that union leaders are often unresponsive to the interests of ordinary members. In the most influential version of this argument, the source of goal displacement lies in union leaders' responsibility for maintaining the security and finances of their organizations. This responsibility, it is believed, leads to a cautious and moderate policy, even when the interests of union members are best served by militant action. [See rank-and-filism and union bureaucracy.]

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