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Looking for the value of mission statements: a meta‐analysis of 20 years of research

Sebastian Desmidt (University College Ghent, Ghent, Belgium)
Anita Prinzie (Manchester Business School, Manchester, UK)
Adelien Decramer (University College Ghent, Ghent, Belgium)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 29 March 2011




After two decades of research, the effect of a mission statement on an organization's performance is still unclear. In order to address these shortcomings, a research project via the setting‐up of this paper seeks to identify all empirical studies addressing the mission statement‐financial performance relation, analyze how the mission statement‐financial performance relation is operationalized, and aggregate the findings of the identified studies by means of a meta‐analysis.


A systematic literature review procedure was developed to identify all relevant articles and meta‐analytic procedures were used to calculate the effect size of the selected studies.


The study results indicate a small positive relation between mission statements and measures of financial organizational performance. However, additional analyses indicated that interstudy differences in measures significantly influenced the estimates (population effect sizes of the created subsamples ranged from 0.0808 to 0.4100).

Research limitations/implications

These contradictive findings stress the importance and impact of operationalization decisions in mission statement‐performance research, and provide paths for future practice‐oriented research.


This study is the first to assess the performance impact of one of the most popular management instruments, namely mission statements, by means of meta‐analytical techniques and, to evaluate the moderation effect of operationalization decisions on the cited relationship. Furthermore, by aggregating research on the mission statement‐performance relationship, a knowledge base was devised which provides normative advice on the characteristics of a “good” mission statement.



Desmidt, S., Prinzie, A. and Decramer, A. (2011), "Looking for the value of mission statements: a meta‐analysis of 20 years of research", Management Decision, Vol. 49 No. 3, pp. 468-483.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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