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.
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:
For the benefit of a higher ideal, going beyond merely satisfying
the needs of its stakeholders.
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?
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
Forum discussions about Mission Development. Below you can ask a question about this topic, share your experiences, report a new development, or explain something.
Is There One Definition to Mission and Strategy?
I 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 l...
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 s...
The 2 Strategic Domains of a Corporate Mission
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...
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 purpose:
1. Some organizations say that they operate...
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 t...
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 ...
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 ...
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 rath...
The best, top-rated topics about Mission Development. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.
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 a...
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 m...
How to Create a Corporate Purpose Statement, Corporate Mission, Organizational Purpose, Organizational Mission A Corporate Purpose Statement (CPS) has at least 3 major functions: market definition, employee motivation and external ...
Strategic Performance Management, Leadership, Corporate Mission, Corporate Culture Sherwood (2014) introduces the concept of organodynamics, a concept that explores the level of performance that can be a...
Enacting Purpose, Organizational Purpose Implementation, Corporate Sustainability, ESG, SCORE Framework Many models and frameworks have been created wrt Corporate Responsibility and ESG. But how can you actually make it happ...
CSR Communication, CSR Implementation, CSR Strategy, Corporate Identity, Corporate Values, CSR Stages, Because Corporate Social Responsibility is a value-based concept, it is highly connected with an organization’s values a...