Creating a Sense of Mission Essay example

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Long Range Planning, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 10 to 20, 1991 Printed in Great Britain

0024-6301/91 $3.00 + .OO Pergamon Press plc

Creating
Andrew Campbell

a Sense of Mission and Sally Yeung

Mission is still a relatively neglected area of management, and there is no clear agreement on what it encompasses. The Ashridge Strategic Management Centre conducted a 2-year research project designed to fill this gap. The research found that if mission is more clearly defined it can be managed better, and developed a model of mission that includes four elements -purpose, strategy, behaviour standards and values. The project identified companies where, in addition to strong links between these elements, employees also showedan emotional
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Creating The first page of the 1989 annual report of British Telecom reads: ‘British Telecom’s mission is to provide world class telecommunications and information products and services and to develop and exploit our networks at home and overseas’. Corning Glass states: ‘We are dedicated to the total success of Corning Glass Works as a worldwide competitor. We choose to compete in four broad business sectors. One is Specialty Glass and Ceramics, our historical base, where our technical skills will continue to drive the development of an everbroadening range of products for diverse applications. The other three arc Consumer Housewares, and Telecommunications. Laboratory Sciences, Here we will build on existing strengths, and the needs of the markets we serve will dictate the technologies we use and the range of products and services we provide’. In contrast, the second school of thought argues that mission is the cultural ‘glue’ which enables an organization to function as a collective unity. This cultural glue consists ofstrong norms and values that influence the way in which people behave, how they work together and how they pursue the goals of the organization. This form of mission can amount to a business philosophy which helps employees to perceive and interpret events in the same way

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