What are the Elements of a Mission?

Mintzberg described a mission ‘describes the organisation’s basic function in society, in terms of the products and services it produces for clients’.

The important elements of a mission are:

  • Purpose
  • Strategy
  • Policies and Standards
  • Values

1. Purpose

Why does the company exist in the first place? Is it to satisfy some stakeholders needs (employees, society?) Does it exist purely to create shareholder wealth? Or does it exist to reach some other goal?

2. Strategy

A company’s mission provides the commercial logic for its existence, and this helps define its entire business (e.g. products and services offered) as well as its competences, and how it plans to compete in the marketplace.

3. Policies and Standards

A mission then filters down to everyday policies and standards of behaviour. For example, if a company’s mission is to be the cheapest provider in the industry, it must engage in practical policies which help achieve that mission. For example, a low cost airline may require its employees to provide their own pens, or buy their own uniforms. This is consistent with its mission of being a cheap provider of air travel.

4. Values

Values are an ideology, a means of controlling an organisation through shared beliefs. A sense of mission and values can increase loyalty and commitment to the company from both employees and customers.

The mission also helps create a work environment where there is a common sense of purpose. This can be a strong motivating factor for employees.