As indicated earlier, a vision indicates an organization’s future course – where it wants to reach. A mission is derived from the vision – just to reveal the organization’s current business purpose. However there is described the mission, mission statement, strategic management mission statement, ideal contents of a strategic management mission statement, functional department and change a strategic management mission statement.
Definition of Mission:
An organization’s mission is viewed as an overall goal of the organization. It provides a sense of direction to all employees. It is formulated in the form of a statement. It is, therefore, often called a strategic management mission statement. A mission acts as a guide to decision making for all levels of management. As a broad goal of an organization, a mission justifies an organization’s existence. It is a statement of an organization’s reason to exist. It states what the company is providing to society. It expresses ‘who we are; what we do, and why we are here’. For example, a company may provide legal services, housecleaning services or software development. Or, it may provide a product such as cosmetics or toiletry. A strategic management mission statement reveals who the company is and what it does. It clarifies the nature of existing products, markets, and functions of the firm which it presently provides.
A mission should define the organization’s line/lines of business, identify its products and services, and specify the markets it serves at present and the near future. It should be achievable, in writing, and have a timeframe for achievement. Since a mission is a relatively permanent part of an organization’s identity, it should be broad-based but customer-focused.
The mission is not to make a profit. For, profit cannot differentiate one company from another. It is to give the organization its own special identity, business emphasis, and path for development. It must set a firm apart from other similarly situated firms.
Multi-business firms usually develop strategic management mission statement for each unit of business and also for the corporate level. In the case of a diversified company, mission of a business unit needs to be consistent with the corporate mission.
Strategic Management Mission Statement & Business Definition:
Before a strategic management mission statement is prepared, managers must clearly define what business the company is presently in. this is essential because the mission statement must convey “who we are, what we do, and where we are now”.
The complexity of defining an business has been very articulately presented by Thompson and Strickland. Based on their interpretation, we can provide the following explanation:
- Is Coca-Cola in the soft-drink business?
- Is Coca-Cola in the beverage business?
Taking a soft-drink perspective means that management’s strategic attention needs to be concentrated on outcompeting Pepsi, 7-up, RC Cola, Pran Cola, Mojo etc. In contrast, taking beverage standpoint means which management also needs to think tactically about placing Coca-Cola products to compete against fruit juices, iced tea, bottled water, milk, and coffee.
Some companies are found to have provided a broad definition of mission, while some other companies prefer a narrow definition. The wide-ranging definition creates a mission statement too concrete to be well-understood. Takings this example: “Bengal Furnishing Company is in the furniture business. The company is in fact involved in the wooden furniture business. If it claims in its mission statement that it is in ‘furniture business’, then it implies that the company is also engaged in wrought-iron furniture, steel furniture, and plastic furniture business. If a company states that it is in soft-drink business, no in the beverage business, then it implies that the company follows a narrow definition of business.
In general, three dimensions can be used to define a business for a company. Abell has suggested these dimensions for defining business. These dimensions are:
- Who is being satisfied?
- What is being satisfied?
- How customers’ are needs being satisfied?
These three dimensions’ point to that business definition needs to integrate the customer groups targeted by the company, the needs of the customers that the company wants to satisfy. And the skills or competencies that the company has to use for satisfying the needs of targeted customer groups.
Ideal Contents of a Mission Statement:
No hard and fast rules exist for the formulation of a strategic management mission statement. An analysis of various strategic management mission statements of different business firms indicates that a mission statement needs to include some common issues, such as:
- Customer needs (i.e., what is being satisfied)
- Customer groups (i.e., who being satisfied)
- Firm’s activities, technologies, and competencies (i.e., how the firm goes about creating value to customers and satisfying their needs)
Pearce and David identified eight basic components of a typical corporate strategic management mission statement:
- Target customers and markets (e.g., doctors, nurses, patients, students, engineers)
- Products or services (e.g., perfume, toothpaste, computer)
- Geographical domain (e.g., national level, worldwide)
- Technology (e.g., cellular communication technology, information technology)
- Concern for survival (e.g., to conduct business prudently to provide profits and growth)
- Philosophy (e.g., a spirit of sharing and caring where people give cheerfully of their time, knowledge and experience)
- Company’s self-concept (e.g., a diversified, multi-industry company) and
- Concern for the public image (e.g., to share the world’s obligation for the protection of the environment).
The mission of Functional Department:
There can be distinct strategic management mission statement for the sections like Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, R & D, etc. for example, the mission of the HRD can be “to contribute to organizational success by developing effective leaders, creating high-performance teams, and maximizing the potential of individuals”. The mission of the marketing department may be ‘providing excellent customer service all the time around the year to exceed the customer’s expectations’.
Changing a Mission Statement:
A strategic management mission statement of a company is not supposed to stay unaltered forever. In this world of continuous changes in the environment, it is common to periodically review and then redefine the mission of companies. From time to time, the original mission framed long ago does not work by reason of some reasons – it may develop intolerable to the stakeholders. In that case, the mission should be modified or altogether created anew. As the successful firm grow, its mission statement will broaden, reflecting its growing competences and view of opportunities as well as possibly including several dimensions. However, it should not be practical to change or modify strategic management mission statement too frequently.