Mission Statements May Play an Important Role in the Strategic Management Process but the Creation of a ‘Sense of Mission’ Is Even More Beneficial to Organisations

Topics: Strategic management, Management, Strategic planning Pages: 7 (2466 words) Published: November 30, 2010

Strategic Management in a Global Context (SOP09101)

Miss Grace Sharkey


Mission statements may play an important role in the strategic management process but the creation of a ‘sense of mission’ is even more beneficial to organisations

Submitted by
Lukas Radzevicius
20th October 2010


This essay is to debate the question whether the role of a mission statement is as important and beneficial as sense of mission and if they can work as two separate functions in the strategic management process for organisations. Clear definition of mission statement and sense of mission must be understood to begin the research. Afterwards to analyse benefits and problems associated with mission statement is essential to implement this understanding into the strategic management model. So that we could finish with conclusion which will estimate importance of mission statement in organisation and its necessary connection with all levels of the company called “sense of mission”.

Mission statement in some companies has a huge influence in all management levels of the firm, but in others it is still just addition on the wall and usually what’s forgotten. However the aim of this paper is to find out if sense of mission is more beneficial for organisations than mission statement, not to give a vivid view of all possible ways of mission statement realization. So when managers are asked what is the influence of mission statement in their company, can’t answer this simple question, what’s really clear, those mission statements are still relatively neglected and don’t find their way to every company’s management. Here the main problem emerges: is the mission statement needed at all, if the company can survive without it? Before answering this it is essential to clearly understand, what is meant by the mission statement. First of all it is worth saying that there are different schools of thought, one is described in term of business strategy and the other as philosophy and ethics, A. Campbell (1992). If you look closer they are deeply connected. The school of strategy presents mission as a strategic tool in its initial process of the strategy creation, it states what is the business they are in, and where is it going to be? For example well known company Google Inc. answers this question: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. It is visible that their mission statement is their purpose connected with strategic objectives and well implemented as it is number one search tool in World Wide Web. Another school of thought which glues the company and creates a common “language” for a sense of collective unity is called philosophical school of thought. Shared values and standards of behavior are concerned to generate co-operation among employees (A. Campbell 1991). A good example for this is IBM as the foundation of its corporate philosophy is based on: quest for superiority in all things, dedication to service and respect for the individual. These three concepts are deeply transcendent in every employee in IBM which is global company and has different people connected for one common mission: “At IBM, we strive to lead in the invention, development and manufacture of the industry's most advanced information technologies.” Is it possible to connect these schools? Definitely yes, as the organization is a living and dynamic organism so every part of it is. The school of strategy is its head and leads toward the goals, the school of philosophy is its heart which connects all the body throughout bloodstream and actually makes it happen. To connect two schools of thought, analysis of four cores of mission statement is significantly important to see how this organism actually works. As A. Campbell and S. Yeung stated that a powerful mission statement exists only when four elements work in harmony...

References: CK Bart (1997) Sex, Lies and Mission Statements, Business Horizons p 9-18
B Barktus, M Glassman and B McAfee (2000), Mission Statements –Are they Smoke and Mirrors? Business Horizons November/December p23-28;
A Campbell and S Yeung (1991) Creating a Sense of Mission, Long Range Planning 24 4

FR David (1989) How Companies Define Their Mission, Long Range Planning 22 1 p90-97;

FR David and FR David (2003) Its Time to Redraft Your Mission Statement, The Journal of Business Strategy Jan/Feb 24 1 p11-14;

J Mullane (2002) The Mission Statement is a Strategic Tool When used Properly, Management Decision 40 5/6 p 448-455;

T Sufi and H Lyons (2003) Mission Statements Exposed, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 15 5 p255-262;
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