Managers are divided in their allegiance to their firms’ mission statements. Some managers swear by their mission statement while others swear at theirs. Evidence from two firms, as well as existing research, indicates that part of this disagreement originates in the manager’s view of mission statements. Managers who see mission statements as tools that can influence the inner workings of their organizations are likely to understand the mission’s usefulness. Managers who put their mission statements on display and expect them to magically transform organizational behavior are likely to be frustrated and see them as an exercise in futility. In this paper, insights from two managers who take the first view provide specific steps managers can utilize to harness the benefits of their mission statements.
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