A mission is the purpose of an organisation and the reason for its existence. Many entities give a formal expression to their mission in a mission statement.
‘A mission describes the organisation’s basic function in society, in terms of the products and services it produces for its customers’ (Mintzberg). The mission defines the present state or purpose of an organisation.
A mission statement should be a clear and short statement. Drucker suggested that, a mission statement should answer the following fundamental questions:
√ What is our business?
√ What is our value to the customer?
√ What will our business be?
√ What should our business be?
Some entities include a statement about the role of their employees in their mission statement, or include a statement on the ethics of the entity.
Example of mission statement can be seeing below:
Mission statements of not-for-profit organisations often stress the ethical aspects of their mission. Our example focuses on World Bank.
The World Bank
‘Our dream is a world free of poverty.
To fight poverty with passion and professionalism for lasting results.
To help poor people help themselves and their environment, by providing resources, sharing knowledge, building capacity and forging partnerships in the public and private sectors.
To be an excellent institution able to attract, excite and nurture diverse and committed staff with exceptional skills who know how to listen and learn’.
Commercial entities also often emphasise the ethical aspects of their mission, perhaps as a method of motivating employees.
The relevance and purpose of the mission statement.
A mission statement can have several different purposes:
to provide a basis for consistent strategic planning decisions
to assist with translating broad intentions and purposes into corporate objectives
to provide a common purpose for all groups and individuals within the organisation
to inspire employees
to establish goals and ethics for the organisation
to improve the understanding and support for the organisation from external stakeholder groups and the public in general.
Who decides mission, goals and objectives?
When an entity states its mission in a mission statement, the statement is issued by the leaders of the entity. For a company this is the board of directors.
Similarly, the formal goals and objectives of an entity are stated by its leaders.
However, the decisions by a board of directors about the goals and objectives of an entity are influenced by the way in which the company is governed and the expectations of other stakeholders in the company.
There are differing views about how a company should be governed. However, a concise mission statement will provide direction, and focus which will as well inspire employees to work and achieve the corporate objectives of the organisation.