The public face of organisations: purpose, vision, mission, values and ethics
There are a lot of documents that need to be produced for the strategic management process – let’s start with a brief explanation of what they are and what they are meant to depict and achieve, and how they influence organisational strategy.
Witcher and Chau (2010) provide a pictorial starting point:
The figure is adapted from Witcher and Chau (2010: 40) and is available and expandable in the ‘downloads’ section below.
More detailed explanations and descriptions now follow:
Purpose: The primary reason for an organisation to exist; it’s the driving force that enables the organisation to define its brand and create its desired culture. Formally the company’s purpose is listed in its articles of incorporation or memorandum of association.
Vision: The organisation’s future intent, as we explained in the previous step.
Mission: Explains why an organisation exists and provides a statement of its present main activities. A written declaration of an organisation’s core purpose and focus that normally remains unchanged over time. An effective and informative mission statement does three things: identifies what is important; states which markets will be served and how; and conveys the direction to the entire organisation.
Values: The expected collective norms and behaviour of everybody in the organisation, what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable. Common business values are normally seen as fairness, innovation and community involvement.
Ethics: The statement of morals and behaviour that an organisation adopts and abides by. It is seen as an unpublished code of conduct in relation to customers and others parties involved in business activities.
Is it vision or is it mission?
Take the answers and see if you can place them in their right position in the following table:
Grid: vision or mission?
Vision Concepts Mission Purpose? Addresses the question of… Includes… Future or present? For whom is it developed? Which is created first? How often does it change?
Answers available by concept:
Tells what an organisation aims to achieve States what an organisation is currently doing
Addresses the question of:
What do we do? What do we want to become?
- Concern for survival
- Concern for public image
- Concern for employees
Future or present?
Talks about the future Talks about the present
Which is created first?
How often does it change?
Changes more often Rarely changes
Discuss any difficulties that you might be having with your peers. The empty grid is available in the ‘downloads’ section below, and the completed grid is available in the ‘downloads’ section of the reflection step at the end of this week.
Witcher, B. J., and Chau, V. S. (2010) Strategic Management: Principles and Practice. Andover: South-Western Cengage Learning
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