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
Ashridge Mission Model Special Interest Group
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3 Categories of Corporate Purpose
In his article of 1991, Campbell also argues that if the overall idea of purpose exists, organizations can be categorized into three categories of pur...
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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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