What is the Ashridge Mission Model? Description
Managers and employees are occasionally searching for a purpose and a sense
of identity. They want more than just pay, safety and an opportunity to develop
their skills. They want a "Sense of Mission". In fact there
are a number of functions that a Mission can have in
any organization. These can be internal and external and include:
- To inspire and motivate managers and employees to higher levels of performance.
(Sense of Mission)
- To guide resource allocation in a consistent manner.
- To help to balance the competing and often conflicting interests of
various organizational stakeholders. Compare also:
- To provide a sense of direction.
- To promote shared values amongst employees.
- To refocus an organization during crises.
- To improve corporate performance.
A Mission Statement is an articulation of a company's mission. An
often-used definition of a mission statement is: "a broadly defined
but enduring statement of purpose that distinguishes the organization from
others of its type and identifies the scope of its operations in product (service)
and market terms” (Pearce, J.: The company mission as a strategic tool. Sloan
Management Review, 1982, 23-3, pp. 15-24). According to Campbell, mission
statements frequently do more harm than good because they imply a sense of
direction, clarity of thinking, and unity that rarely exists. Instead of uplifting
employees with elevating ideals, they encourage cynicism. The Ashridge
Mission Model from Andrew Campbell is a method that can be used to create
or analyze a Mission, Sense of Mission and Mission Statement. The Ashridge
model integrates two historic schools to determine a Mission:
- The Strategic School. A Mission is primarily seen as the first
step in the strategy process. It defines the business's commercial rationale
and target market.
- The Cultural/Philosophy/Ethics School. A Mission is primarily
seen as an expression or statement that should ensure good cooperation between
employees. It is a cultural glue which enables an organization to function
as a collective unity.
The Ashridge Mission Model contains the following four elements which should
be linked tightly together, resonating and reinforcing each other to create
a strong Mission:
- Purpose. Three categories:
- Strategy. The commercial logic for the company. Strategy links
purpose to behavior in a commercial, rational, left-brain way. (Compare:
Whole Brain Model)
- Values. The beliefs and moral principles that lie behind a company's
culture. A Sense of Mission occurs when employees find their personal
values aligned with the organizational values. Values give meaning
to the norms and behavioral standards in the company. Values are strong
motivators to act in the best interests of the purpose of the company. They
can provide a rational for behavior that is just as strong as strategy.
But in another, emotional, moral, ethical and right-brain way. It is for
this reason that the Ashridge framework has a diamond shape. Compare:
Of Ethical Collapse
- Policies and Behavioral Standards. Guidelines to help people
to decide what to do on a day-to-day basis.
Origin of the Ashridge Mission Model. History
The model is based on research conducted in 53 large companies by the Ashridge
Strategic Management Center. Its founding director, Andrew Campbell, has spent
much of his professional career studying mission statements. Campbell’s framework
of four important mission statement dimensions has come to be known as the
Ashridge Mission Model.
Usage of the Ashridge Mission Model. Applications
- Helps to think clearly about mission.
- Helps to discuss mission with colleagues.
- Both for developing a new Mission and analyzing an existing
- A corporate mission must not be confused with a corporate vision.
A vision is a mental image of a possible and desirable future state of the
Steps in the Ashridge Mission Model. Process
Ten questions by which you can measure the quality of a mission statement
- Does the statement describe an inspiring purpose that avoids playing
to the selfish interests of the stakeholders - shareholders, customers,
- Does the statement describe the company's responsibility to its stakeholders?
- Does the statement define a business domain and explain
why it is attractive?
- Does the statement describe the strategic
positioning that the company
prefers in a way that helps to identify the sort of
it will look for?
- Does the statement identify values that link with the organization's
purpose and act as beliefs that employees can feel proud of?
- Do the values 'resonate' with and reinforce the organization's strategy?
- Behavioral Standards
- Does the statement describe important behavioral standards
that serve as beacons of the strategy and the values?
- Are the behavioral standards described in such a way that individual
employees can judge whether they have behaved correctly or not?
- Does the statement give a portrait of the company and does
it capture the culture of the organization?
- Is the statement easy to read?
Strengths of the Ashridge Mission Model. Benefits
- Combines strategic and cultural motivators to guide an organization.
- The model is particularly useful to ensure that a company has a clear
Mission AND it has employees with a strong Sense of Mission.
- Like the 7-S Framework of McKinsey, the
Ashridge Mission Model emphasizes the need for a fit between strategy and
values. Additionally the Ashridge model recognizes the importance of the
link between the organizational shared values and the private values of
employees and managers.
- Improves decision-making. Raises energy levels. Reduces the need for
supervision. Promotes constructive behavior. Increases satisfaction and
- Puts corporate purpose as the corner stone and starting point of mission.
Limitations of the Ashridge Mission Model. Disadvantages
- Having inappropriate values or an inappropriate sense of mission is
a powerful negative influence on employee behavior.
- Shared values and sense of mission often are extremely difficult to
change and can become an obstacle for change.
- Strongly shared values or a strong sense of mission can lead to an insularity
that becomes xenophobic.
- Creating a mission statement is often a time- and resources-consuming
- A mission paper may not be a 'paper tiger'.
Assumptions of the Ashridge Mission Model. Conditions
- Committed employees and teams perform more efficiently and more effectively
than apathetic employees and teams do.
- People connect themselves more easily to values than to abstract strategic
- A mission must be clearly defined and managed. An intuitive understanding
of mission is not enough.
Book: Andrew Campbell
and Laura L. Nash - A Sense of Mission - Defining Direction for the Large
||Corporate Mission Deals with 2 Strategic Domains
"Borrowing the ideas from the book, The Delta Project: Discovering New Sources of Profitability in a Networked Economy (Arnoldo C. Hax & Dean L. Wilde II, Palgrave 2001), a mission statement captures two inter-woven strategic domains:
1. The business scope, which summarizes the company's competitive space (the industry) into opportunities and threats (the outcomes say, from using Porter's 5 Forces Analysis).
2. The Core Competencies, which summarize the company's own strengths and weaknesses (the outcomes, say from Porter's Value Chain Analysis), further strengthened by the Resource Based View Theory, popularized by C. K. Pralahad and Gary Hamel.
A good mission should rightly prompt an understanding of these 2 connected strategic elements, the external" and internal environments, and also offer an idea of what must be valuable in its resources' capabilities and uniqueness."
||Mission and Vision Matter. Proper Strategies and Tactics are Crucial
"Mission in simplest terms means: the reason for existence / who you are.
Vision implies what you want to become in the future.
Strategy is the means or ways to an end or to the vision.
If you have a mission then you know who you are and what you stand for. From there you can dream for a destiny (vision). Then you can plan according to your mission and vision, by putting down proper strategies and tactics which are in line with your goal / vision.
My opinion is that even larger organisations with a clear mission and vision which are well well guided with values sometimes fail to achieve their goals / vision.
The problem lies in identifying proper strategies and tactics to achieve your goal/vision. Take the right track to reach your destination, a wrong track will take you to a wrong destination."
||A Mission is a Calling or a Vow
"We consider a mission as a calling or a vow.
Niat (Indonesian) is placed deep down in our paradigm, in our way to see the world. It is a solemn promise to do specific things for life as a whole. It should be embedded in the organization by those who initiate it."
||Mission in Social Network Era
"A mission in this era will be one node that will change as impact of value relationships with other nodes.
The mission can no longer be used as a central control of all managerial dimensions.
The mission should focus on moving the total value creation of all social relationships toward a vision in an ocean of open systems knowledge flows."
||Strategic Practice for Dynamically Changing Environments
"Very interesting and important conversations. In these changing times, I write about and counsel clients and project leaders on the idea of what I have named "strategic practice."
This means cultivating a practice of analytical and lateral thinking, ways of seeing, question-asking and evaluating as a part of the culture of a particular enterprise or executive team.
Changes in mission, strategy, content, deliverables and resources can become less difficult because the system (both cognitive and practical) is more fluid, less rigid."
||Ashridge Model not Realistic
"I think that the assumptions taken are not based on realities. Thus, I believe that the model will find find it difficult to apply in practice.
Human beings find it easier to relate to tangibles rather than intangibles and before we could relate to values, we have to either find dissatisfaction or satisfaction on a product or service."
||Continuous Change of Mission
"Organizations having articulated a mission and vision clearly, facilitate the "alignment of the employees" to the mission, vision and thereby the goals and purposes. This may be seen as "planned" and "deliberate".
It has to be kept in mind that in a dynamically changing environment, this process has to be revisited, missions redefined and goals changed to accommodate the " emerging" realities > this is a continuous process!"
||A Vision with a Task is the Hope of the World
"-- A task without vision is drudgery. A vision without task is only a dream. But a vision with a task is the hope of the world --
Slogan on a wall in Sussex in England.
Replace the word "world" by the "enterprise" and you'll find the correct meaning."
||The Absence of a Strategic Mission
"In any organisation there is a time to reflect and/or report.
But how can one reflect and report if there is no clear defined objective/mission?
A lot of managers still miss that point. One cannot asses how far you are if you don't know where you are going..."
||Mission not Aimed For
"Recently, I finished a consult and I discovered that most firms have no idea why their mission is important. They only want to make a plan and put the mission where people can read it, but don´t try to make the mission a reality in their business day."
||Is there one Definition to Mission and Strategy?
"I really started my own brand strategy consulting firm, and it's been cemented in my mind that people's definitions of terms and buzz words can mean very different things. I try to focus on using practical language to explain what I mean.
However, as we're amongst like minded friends and individuals - my view on mission is "the reason the organisation exists". We may disagree that every organization has a mission, but every organization must have a reason to exist! The vision is the result at the end, the change your mission is trying to affect. In my mind, strategy is your path to your vision, and it must contain 3 elements 1) Focus 2) Divergence from competitor offerings 3) A compelling story.
Hope this provokes further thought.."
||Dealing with Diversity...
"What if we're in a democracy where people are stuck, scared, and do not want to except the responsibility to change? What if we're in an organization where people do not believe in change? What if we struggle with language, race and identity issues? How do we deal with it in a democracy where people have a different understanding of the mission and vision of the organization? How can a leader motivate people into discussion in a diverse society where values impact on mission and vision of organization?"
||Strategic Mission and Vision of an Organization
"The mission and vision of every organization are paramount to the growth and maturity stage of that organization. They are the guiding principles of its present and future activities.
Therefore they must be stated clearly and communicated well to the staff of the organization so as to exhibit the essence of what the organization stands for and what it wants to achieve.
Really, if the mission and vision of the organization are communicated properly, a positive attitude of the employees will be depicted in their activities, which will eventually lead to the dream land, which is the vision."
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Compare with Ashridge Mission Model: 7-S Framework
| Moral Purpose
Signs Of Ethical Collapse |
| Shareholder Value
Stakeholder Value Perspective
| Clarkson Principles
| Stakeholder Analysis
| Stakeholder Mapping
| Spiral Dynamics
| Hierarchy of Needs
| Corporate Reputation
Quotient | Cultural Dimensions
| Whole Brain Model
| Leadership Styles
Values Framework |
| Causal Model of Organizational
Performance and Change
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