‘Mission’ as a corporate term

In corporate sector, what does the term “mission” actually means?

How does it differ from “Goal”? Let’s see in this article.

Defining the Corporate Mission

An organisation exists to accomplish something: to make cars, lend money, provide a
night’s lodging, and so on. Its specific purpose of the company to exist.

What is our business? Who is the customer? What is of value to the customer? What will our business be? What should our business be?

Successful companies continuously raise these questions thoughtfully and thoroughly and the answer for these questions is “Mission”

It is usually clear when the business starts. Over time, however, the mission may lose its relevance because of changed market conditions or may become unclear as the corporation adds new products and markets. When management senses that the organization is drifting from its mission, it must renew its search for purpose.

A well-worked-out mission statement provides employees with a shared sense of
purpose, direction, and opportunity. It also guides geographically dispersed employees
to work independently and yet collectively toward realizing the organization’s

The mission statement of Motorola, for example, is

“to honourably serve the needs of the community by providing products and services of superior quality at a fair price to our customers”

To do this so as to earn an adequate profit which is required for the total enterprise to grow; and by so doing provide the opportunity for our employees and shareholders to achieve their reasonable personal objectives.

Good mission statements focus on a limited number of goals, stress the company’s
major policies and values, and define the company’s major competitive scopes.
These include:

Industry scope: The industry or range of industries in which a company will operate. For example, DuPont operates in the industrial market; Dow operates in the
industrial and consumer markets; and 3M will go into almost any industry where it
can make money.
Products and applications scope: The range of products and applications that a
company will supply. St. Jude Medical aims to “serve physicians worldwide with high quality products for cardiovascular care.”
Competence scope: The range of technological and other core competencies that a
company will master and leverage. Japan’s NEC has built its core competencies in
computing, communications, and components to support production of laptop
computers, televisions, and other electronics items.
Market-segment scope: The type of market or customers a company will serve. For example, Porsche makes only expensive cars for the upscale market and licenses its
name for high-quality accessories.
Vertical scope: The number of channel levels from raw material to final product and distribution in which a company will participate. At one extreme are companies
with a large vertical scope; at the other extreme are firms with low or no vertical
integration that may outsource design, manufacture, marketing, and physical
Geographical scope: The range of regions or countries in which a company will
operate. At one extreme are companies that operate in a specific city or state. At the
other extreme are multinationals such as Unilever and Caterpillar, which operate in
almost every one of the world’s countries.

A company must redefine its mission if that mission has lost credibility or no
longer defines an optimal course for the company. Kodak redefined itself from a film
company to an image company so that it could add digital imaging; Sara Lee redefined
itself by outsourcing manufacturing and becoming a marketer of brands. The
corporate mission provides direction for the firm’s various business units.

So how does it differ from “Goal”?

We’ll see in the Next Article!

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