This paper aims to expose the underlying reasons behind the failure of the mission statement to have a significant impact on performance and to recommend ways forward.
A comprehensive literature review is conducted and common themes and trends are revealed. These are then discussed under four major domains of the mission statement: definitions, functions, focus, and form. The impact of the mission statement on performance is then discussed. Examples of mission statements of some prominent organizations are provided to substantiate arguments. The paper ends with conclusions and recommendations.
The paper reveals the contradictions and confusion that beset research in this area. It demonstrates how concepts such as mission, vision, values, identity are mixed up with one another, leading to a slow progress in research and underutilization of the power of mission in practice.
The paper recommends theoretical focus and practical flexibility. Theoretically, it suggests conceptual distinction between mission, vision, values, and other related concepts. Once this is done, it suggests the use of a “guiding statement” to flexibly describe any statement that integrates more than one of the above mentioned concepts in practice. The paper offers no empirical evidence of the usefulness of its recommendations.
The paper reveals the sources of ineffectiveness of the mission statement. The recommendations may help to minimize the confusion surrounding the functions, focus, and form of the mission statement. This may also help to advance the research in this area and inform the practice in the field.
The paper critically reads the literature to uncover the contradictions and confusion besetting research in this area and makes original recommendations.
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