The Process of Developing Vision and Mission Statements

As indicated in the strategic-management model, clear vision and mission statements are needed before alternative strategies can be formulated and implemented. As many managers as possible should be involved in the process of developing these statements because, through involvement, people become committed to an organization.

A widely used approach to developing a vision and mission statement is first to select several articles (such as those listed as Current Readings at the end of this chapter) about these statements and ask all managers to read these as background information. Then, ask managers to individually prepare a vision and mission statement for the organization. A facilitator or commit­tee of top managers should then merge these statements into a single document and distribute the draft statements to all managers. A request for modifications, additions, and deletions is needed next, along with a meeting to revise the document. To the extent that all managers have input into and support the final documents, organizations can more easily obtain managers’ support for other strategy formulation, implementation, and evaluation activities. Thus, the process of developing vision and mission statements represents a great opportunity for strategists to obtain needed support from all managers in the firm.

During the process of developing vision and mission statements, some organizations use discussion groups of managers to develop and modify existing statements. Other organizations hire an outside consultant or facilitator to manage the process and help draft the language. At times an outside person with expertise in developing such statements, who has unbiased views, can manage the process more effectively than an internal group or committee of manag­ers. Decisions on how best to communicate the vision and mission to all managers, employ­ees, and external constituencies of an organization are needed when the documents are in final form. Some organizations even create a videotape to explain the statements and how they were developed.

An article by Campbell and Yeung emphasizes that the process of developing a mission statement should create an “emotional bond” and “sense of mission” between the organization and its employees.2 Commitment to a company’s strategy and intellectual agreement on the strategies to be pursued do not necessarily translate into an emotional bond; hence, strategies that have been formulated may not be implemented. These researchers stress that an emotional bond comes when an individual personally identifies with the underlying values and behavior of a firm, thus turning intellectual agreement and commitment to strategy into a sense of mission. Campbell and Yeung also differentiate between the terms vision and mission, saying that vision is “a possible and desirable future state of an organization” that includes specific goals, whereas mission is more associated with behavior and the present.

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

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