Skip to content

Output VS Outcome – What are the Differences

With the process of development many huge companies and business have been established and huge success is being made in almost every sector. No matter which industry you select there is a remarkable progress in every aspect. However, we must not forget the fact that there are still misconceptions about different matters and terminologies. Such is the case for the terms “output” and “outcome”.

These both terminologies are completely different but unfortunately people have been using them interchangeably. Well the community doesn’t understand this but what matters most is the difference between these both terms. It can be the difference of mediocrity and the production of certain great changes.

A small organization say a shop is substantially making decisions depending on their output basis. On the other hand, a greater firm like an enterprise is making progress with achieving outcomes. As there is a continuous debate on both these words understanding the correct meaning is really necessary.

Output and Outcome. The Difference

Output is defined as the actions or contributions that are made to reach an outcome. In the simplest understanding output is the service that you provide or what you produce. A successful output means the desired outcome. No matter wherever you are what you are doing output is really important as it decides the basis on which you will reach an outcome.

On the other hand, outcome is the result that comes as a result of your contribution or efforts. The simple thing about outcome can be understood with the concept that it is basically a milestone that you or your company want to reach or achieve. An outcome has a direct connection to the output. Having a great output means the desired outcome. The basic understanding of the differences between output and outcome is actually what matters most as the correct understanding is the key to success.

Understanding Output vs Outcome in Different Fields.

Outcome is usually achieved by the actions you take to get a desired result. A sports club induct players and trains them to the hardest limit. Now usually people will say that the players are the outcome but it is the wrong concept. Players are actually the output. On the contrary, the players play in international matches and contribute to the team. The performance is dependent on the training they receive and their individual skills. As the things go on progressing they will eventually play in international tams and make a shining record. This is the real outcome. Their average score is the data that will be used to calculate the outcome.

So, the sports club had players as an output and their great performance is the outcome. It was considered that the outcome was achieved as the people had a liking towards them as well as the player’s average scoring has shown great results. It is clearly shown that the outcome was dependent on the output of the sport club clearly elaborating the relation between output and outcome.

The same goes for a project management team. Say a project management team gets a project then it’s obvious that they want to get the best results out of it. They will take all the necessary actions and get themselves to work. The Harvard Management company that was in charge of the construction of Harvard University worked days and nights on the project. The endowment fund for the whole project was $37.6 billion. The project was dealt with great zeal and care. The management team’s goal was to get the maximum better results.

Now upon discussion on a seminar it was found that the people there considered the building to be the outcome for that project while they were completely wrong about it. The construction of the building was actually the output from the project. The establishment made an annual return of 12.6% in the fiscal year of 2015. This was a huge success and the real outcome of all the output from the project.

The understanding of difference between output and outcome for a business in also important. Now, running a business is all based on digital media but still measuring output is more easy than measuring outcomes. It’s easy to understand with a simple demonstration.

A local pizza shop supplies a great deal of customers. The basic output of the shop is the pizza that it makes. The outcomes can be any expectation that the owner has say customer satisfaction. For that an activity is done among the customers about their review about the shop. Now asking a single customer will not give the proper information to assume the outcome. all sort of opinions is acquired and then depending upon their reasoning the result is calculated; whether the customers are satisfied from the services or not?

As far as it is concerned, the difference between outcome and output is really a “difference”. Both of them are equally considered under the wrong impression. Output is usually easier to measure as compared to outcome as it is both qualitative and quantitative information.

On the other hand, output is general result from an action or activity performed. Too often working organizations are only measuring outputs and they think that these efforts are enough. Sometimes a perception that it is too hard or impossible to measure outcomes stops leaders from collecting outcome data. This defective thinking makes it difficult for organizations to demonstrate to funders how their organization is achieving their mission.

When it comes to the discussion of outputs vs. outcomes you can take the following basic steps:

Do you need help defining and establishing your outcome measures? Measurement Resources is here for you!

Related HRM OKR Articles

Get a free, full-feature trial of
DoerHRM OKR Software for 14 days

No credit card required.

Start using DoerHRM today!