Efficiency vs. effectiveness: The difference between effective and efficient

The difference between effective and efficient

The words “effective” and “efficient” or “effectiveness” and “efficiency” are essentially the same as far as general usage is concerned. However, because context is also essential in English language, especially in grammar and composition, using the words “effective” and “efficient” should be restricted within their specific definitions.

Effectiveness vs. efficiency: Definitions

Nonetheless, the difference between effective and efficient centers on the scope of their respective definitions. Effectiveness essentially pertains to the capability to produce desired results while efficiency means the capability to produce desired results without any waste.

To be effective is also to accomplish a task regardless of resource consumption. On the other hand, to be efficient is to accomplish a task at a minimum cost and maximum possible quality. This means that another difference between the two is that efficiency is easily quantifiable or measurable.

Note that resources can pertain to financial cost, time, and other inputs necessary to the accomplishment of a task. A task that is effectively accomplished might involve maximum consumption of allotted resources or in some instances, overconsumption of resources. A task that is efficiently accomplished strictly involves minimal resource consumption.

In taking into consideration resource consumption furthermore, effectiveness is only about the output while efficiency is about the outcome. In other words, to be effective is to “do the right things” while to be efficient is to “do things right.”

Conclusion: Effective or efficient?

Based from the aforementioned, both effectiveness and efficiency pertains to capability to produce a desired result. Between the two however, effectiveness is more general in scope while efficiency is more specific.