Academic journal article Academy of Strategic Management Journal

2012 Mission Statements: A Ten Country Global Analysis

Academic journal article Academy of Strategic Management Journal

2012 Mission Statements: A Ten Country Global Analysis

Article excerpt


For many years, the mission statement has been the primary organizational communication tool used to describe the firm to its stakeholders. According to Peter Drucker, often called the "father of management," a mission statement is the "foundation for priorities, strategies, plans, and work assignments" (Drucker, 1974). According to Drucker, it is the mission statement that distinguishes one organization from another. The mission statement provides the firm's "reason for being." Drucker also emphasizes that a mission statement is essential to the formation of the company's objectives and strategies.

The Leader to Leader Institute, established by Peter Drucker, has much to say about an effective mission statement. Drucker stressed that the mission statement should communicate the core of the organization with a precise statement of purpose. He suggested that it should be about three sentences long and touch on four topics including who we are, what we do, what we stand for, and why we do it. This is a lot to cover in a short three sentence statement. Drucker also felt that the mission statement should address distinct stakeholder groups including owner/investors, customers, and employees/society. The authors have discovered that many large corporations do not include these important stakeholders in their current mission statements.

Mission statements should include all of the central characteristics of the company including the firm's purpose, unique qualities, values, critical stakeholders, and basic goals/objectives. Mission statements have been called by a number of various titles including creed statements, statements of philosophy, statements of belief, and statements of business purposes (David, 2005). Fred David stresses that these statements should reveal both what a firm wants to be as well as whom it wants to serve. Therefore, a good mission statement should specifically mention important stakeholders such as customers and employees.

David also states that the firm's "reason for being" should be clearly stated in a firm's mission statement (David, 2009). He argues that a well written mission statement should provide important information such as the products and services offered by the firm and the primary target markets served. David believes that a mission statement "identifies the scope of the firm's operations in product and market terms" (Pierce & David, 1989).

Robbins and Coulter emphasize that firm goals must reflect the mission statement. (Robbins & Coulter, 2012). They further state that the mission is a broad statement of the organization's purpose providing a guide to all members of the organization. Many other authors emphasize the importance of a well written mission statement. For example, Annie McKee feels that without a well defined and developed mission statement, the firm loses its focus (McKee, 2012). McKee believes the mission statement must describe what the company stands for, what it does, who it considers important. She also believes that missions aid managers in decision making and integrating short and long term goals and objectives.

Jeffery Abrahams reviewed over 300 mission statements from the largest U.S. firms. He found that these pronouncements reflected the firm's values and priorities as well as providing a statement of purpose (Abrahams, 1999). Samuel and S. Trevis Certo argue that the creation of a mission statement is a critical part of the strategic management process (S. & S.T. Certo, 2012). The strategic management process requires a thoughtfully written mission statement to provide some organizational direction for its managers. This belief is shared by Hitt, Black, and Porter (M.A. Hitt, J.S. Black & L.W. Porter, 2012). They feel that a mission statement must articulate the primary purpose of the organization. Other authors discuss the possible components of this primary purpose which may include basic company philosophy, primary products or services, customers served, obligations to stockholders and employees, and concern for the environment. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.