A mission statement
is a statement of the purpose of a company
A company is a form of business organization. It is an association or collection of individual real persons and/or other companies, who each provide some form of capital. This group has a common purpose or focus and an aim of gaining profits. This collection, group or association of persons can be...
An organization is a social group which distributes tasks for a collective goal. The word itself is derived from the Greek word organon, itself derived from the better-known word ergon - as we know `organ` - and it means a compartment for a particular job.There are a variety of legal types of...
. The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a path, and guide decision-making. It provides "the framework or context within which the company's strategies are formulated." Historically it is associated with Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...
groups; indeed, for many years, a missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...
was assumed to be a person on a specifically religious mission. The word "mission" dates from 1598, originally of Jesuits sending ("missio", Latin for "act of sending") members abroad.
The vision and the mission statements are often confused with one another, and some organizations even use them interchangeably. In simple terms, the mission is the organization's reason for existence, and vision is what it wants to be.
Effective mission statements commonly clarify the organization's purpose.
Commercial mission statements often include the following information:
- Purpose and aim(s) of the organization
- The organization's primary stakeholders: clients/customers, shareholders, congregation, etc.
- How the organization provides value to these stakeholders, for example by offering specific types of products and/or services
According to Bart (1997), the commercial mission statement consists of 3 essential components:
- Key market – who is your target client/customer? (generalize if needed)
- Contribution – what product or service do you provide to that client?
- Distinction – what makes your product or service unique, so that the client would choose you?
Examples of mission statements that clearly include the 3 essential components:
- McDonalds - "To provide the fast food customer food prepared in the same high-quality manner world-wide that is tasty, reasonably-priced & delivered consistently in a low-key décor and friendly atmosphere."
- Key Market: The fast food customer world-wide
- Contribution: tasty and reasonably-priced food prepared in a high-quality manner
- Distinction: delivered consistently (world-wide) in a low-key décor and friendly atmosphere.
- Courtyard by Marriott - "To provide economy and quality minded travelers with a premier, moderate priced lodging facility which is consistently perceived as clean, comfortable, well-maintained, and attractive, staffed by friendly, attentive and efficient people"
- Key Market: economy and quality minded travelers
- Contribution: moderate priced lodging
- Distinction: consistently perceived as clean, comfortable, well-maintained, and attractive, staffed by friendly, attentive and efficient people
The mission statement can be used to resolve trade-offs between different business stakeholders. Stakeholders include: managers & executives, non-management employees, shareholders, board of directors, customers, suppliers, distributors, creditors/bankers, governments (local, state, federal, etc.), labour unions, competitors, NGOs
A non-governmental organization is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal persons that operates independently from any government. The term originated from the United Nations , and is normally used to refer to organizations that do not form part of the government and are...
, and the community or general public. By definition, stakeholders affect or
are affected by the organization's decisions and activities.
According to Vern McGinis, a mission should:
- Define what the company is
- Limited to exclude some ventures
- Broad enough to allow for creative growth
- Distinguish the company from all others
- Serve as framework to evaluate current activities
- Stated clearly so that it is understood by all
The mission statement ultimately seeks to justify the organization's reason for existing.
Religious mission statements are less explicit about key market, contribution and distinction, but clearly describe the organization's purpose. For example: "Peoples Church is called to proclaim the Gospel of Christ and the beliefs of the evangelical Christian faith, to maintain the worship of God, and to inspire in all persons a love for Christ, a passion for righteousness, and a consciousness of their duties to God and their fellow human beings. We pledge our lives to Christ and covenant with each other to demonstrate His Spirit through worship, witnessing, and ministry to the needs of the people of this church and the community."