I'd be interesting in the opinions of others in this book. I started reading this in readiness for applying performance appraisals and I've found that this has changed my opinion on goals and target setting.
(As I've read it) The underlying premise of the book is that using measurement systems to provide metrics for individuals goals & targets are highly subject to dysfunctional results.
The theory is that unless an individual is motivated (targeted) across all of their working dimensions then it is likely that the individual will focus on the measured dimensions at the expense of the unmeasured dimensions.
As a simple example (mine, not the books), if your call center individual is measured & targeted by call time then the incentive is to push them to do just that - and potentially ignore quality.
The theory does caveat the above, in that if all dimensions can be monitored and targeted correctly then this dysfunction wouldn't exist - but it says that this full measurement is rare (if not impossible).
The book seems to come out in favor of a more delegatory management style - which relies on the internal motivation (loyalty, pride, etc) and the personal standards of quality. It also suggests that measurement systems should be used for informational purposes only (monitor & improve the process rather than the individual) - as long as it isn't even perceived as a link back to an individuals performance (otherwise it would drive the dysfunctional problem).
This all seems very much at odds with all my previous beliefs - you improve an individual through goal settings and targets. With no measurement system in place for those goals & targets then this fails to work.
I have to say that the book does actually resonate with recent experiences - especially on the more positive side and I find myself now agreeing strongly with it. This would lead me to have my teams work in a more delegatory management style with measurement systems only providing metrics for the team to improve their own process (emphasis on the metrics being for their benefit - not for managers or HR).
I believe this would a move away from performance appraisals in the traditional sense, as well as a move away from setting individual MT goals. I wondered if others have come to the same conclusion.