Academic journal article Journal of Healthcare Management

Vision Statement Quality and Organizational Performance in U.S. Hospitals

Academic journal article Journal of Healthcare Management

Vision Statement Quality and Organizational Performance in U.S. Hospitals

Article excerpt


The vision statement (or vision) commonly provides a concept of an organization's "destination," It also helps leaders create and communicate an effective road map for the organization (Kaplan, 1996; Swanye, Duncan, & Ginter, 2012). Kantabutra (2008) described vision as a "mental model" or "conceptual representation" of an organization's future. Various definitions of vision exist; however, they all portray a future picture of the organization and stress the need for goals and strategies to be directed toward achievement of this envisioned future (Zuckerman, 2000).

Bennis and Nanus (1985) reported that the lack of a clear vision is a major cause of declining effectiveness in many organizations. Multiple theorists have discussed the importance of organizational vision and its relationship to business performance; they propose that vision must be action oriented and innovative and take into consideration the organization's mission and values (Beckhard & Pritchard, 1992; Collins & Porras, 1996; Daft & Weick, 1984; Isenberg, 1987; Kouzes & Posner, 1987; Maccoby, 1981; Westley &Mintzberg, 1989; Slater, 1993; Timmons, Smollen, & Dingee, 1990).

According to Baum, Locke, and Kirkpatrick (1998), vision is an essential facet of strategic change, and organizations that create a future picture describe their vision as a proactive reaction to the changing needs of the environment. Despite vision's importance in organizational alignment and performance improvement, a limited number of empirical studies have actually examined the relationship between a vision statement and organizational performance. Several authors (Bart, Bontis, & Taggar, 2001; Ban & Hupfer, 2004; Bart & Tabone, 1999) conducted studies of mission statements and their impact on organizational performance in the Canadian healthcare environment. However, to our knowledge, no empirical literature exists pertaining to organizational performance and vision statements in Ll.S. hospitals.

The purpose of this research is to examine the quality of vision statements in U.S. acute care hospitals and to assess their impact, if any, on organizational performance measures related to finance and growth.


Vision and Mission Statements

Although strategic management distinguishes between "vision" and "mission" statements, many companies use the terms interchangeably (Sufi & Lyons, 2003). A vision statement describes a desirable future state and long-term organizational goals. A mission statement serves as a backdrop for the company's purpose and strategy; moreover, mission statements influence key priorities because they are formed on the basis of the organization's core values and beliefs (Collins & Porras, 1991; Falsey, 1989; Ireland & Hitt, 1992; Williams, 2008). According to Sufi and Lyons (2003), mission statements include broad elements such as purpose, strategy, values, and behavioral standards. Organizational purpose, together with values, determines the philosophy or core ideology of an organization, which can be defined as a rich system of values and beliefs shared by its members that distinguish it from other organizations (Collins & Poiras, 1996; Mintzberg & Quinn, 1996).

Collins and Porras (1996) proposed that vision statements must reflect the organization's core ideology and envisioned future. They created a framework for successful vision creation. Collins and Porras (1996) define the envisioned future as "Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals" (BHAGs) created by senior leaders that direct the organization's efforts. They state that vision helps the organization preserve its core purpose and values while focusing on a progressive future.

Vision and Organizational Performance

To measure performance, healthcare organizations use administrative, financial, process, and clinical outcome measures. The critical question facing healthcare leaders is how to prioritize these measures in today's highly competitive healthcare environment (Erwin, 2009; Langabeer, 2008; Sicotte et ah, 1998). …

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