Components of a Mission Statement

Mission statements can and do vary in length, content, format, and specificity. Most practitioners and academicians of strategic management feel that an effective statement should include the nine mission statement components given here. Because a mission statement is often the most visible and public part of the strategic-management process, it is important that it includes not only the characteristics as summarized in Table 2-3 but also the following nine components:

  1. Customers—Who are the firm’s customers?
  2. Products or services—What are the firm’s major products or services?
  3. Markets—Geographically, where does the firm compete?
  4. Technology—Is the firm technologically current?
  5. Survival, growth, and profitability—Is the firm committed to growth and financial soundness?
  6. Philosophy—What are the basic beliefs, values, aspirations, and ethical priorities of the firm?
  7. Self-concept (distinctive competence)—What is the firm’s major competitive advantage?
  8. Public image—Is the firm responsive to social, community, and environmental concerns?
  9. Employees—Are employees a valuable asset of the firm?9

To exemplify how mission statements could be written from a customer perspective, a component-by-component example for a charter boat fishing company is provided in Table 2-4. Note the charter company’s customers are “outdoor enthusiasts.” “Customers” is a key compo­nent to include in a mission statement, but simply including the word customer or consumer does not qualify that component to be considered “written from a customer perspective.” The statement needs to identify more precisely the target groups of customers. All nine components in Table 2-4 are written from a customer perspective. For example, regarding the “product/ service” component, the charter fishing company provides “memories for a lifetime”—thus revealing the “utility” of the service offered. Regarding the “distinctive competence” compo­nent, whereby the firm reveals the major competitive advantage its products/services provide, the statement says: “for customer enjoyment and safety, we provide the most experienced staff in the industry.”

Source: David Fred, David Forest (2016), Strategic Management: A Competitive Advantage Approach, Concepts and Cases, Pearson (16th Edition).

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