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Corporate Mission Statements: The Bottom Line

John A. Pearce II and Fred David
The Academy of Management Executive (1987-1989)
Vol. 1, No. 2 (May, 1987), pp. 109-115
Published by: Academy of Management
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4164734
Page Count: 7
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Corporate Mission Statements: The Bottom Line
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Abstract

Pearce and David conducted a study of Fortune 500 firms to determine if the corporate mission statements of the higher financial performers in this group differed from those of the lower performers. They did. Specifically, higher performers prepared written statements for public dissemination that gave special attention to their corporate philosophy on the organizations' (1) basic beliefs, values, aspirations, and priorities, (2) self-concept, including competitive strengths, and (3) desired public image. Overall, the participating organizations' mission statements shared certain elements that the authors advise other firms to consider when developing or strengthening their own documents. These elements included the specification of target customers and markets, the identification of principal products and services, the specification of geographic domains, the identification of core technologies, and commitment to survival, profitability, and growth. Pearce and David discuss these common elements in tandem with excerpts from the mission statements gathered during the study. Additional insights from the study came from the firms' executive officers, who shared some of their motivations for the design of their corporate mission statements. The issues that these executives raised included fundamental questions of mission statement composition, design, and development, and an uncertainty about the merits of helping stakeholders understand a corporation's basic intentions given the associated risks from disclosing the foundations of the firm's competitive strategy.

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