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Management article
Reference no. ASMJ12-05
Published by:
Allied Business Academies (2013)
Revision date:
in "Academy of Strategic Management Journal"
17 pages


Mission statements are a vitally important communication from the firm to all of its stakeholders. Missions provide the reason why the firm is in existence. This paper is a continuation of the mission statement research that the authors have conducted over the last eleven years. This study is the most comprehensive conducted by the authors to date. Mission statements from large US firms are compared and contrasted to those of nine other countries. These include both English speaking countries as well as non-English speaking. The nine other countries include Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, China, Brazil, and India. This broad study has allowed the authors to compare 'reasons for existence' published by firms from around the world. The authors reviewed the mission statements of these ten countries from two aspects. First, the stakeholders identified by the firm were analyzed. The stakeholders included customers, employees, stockholders, and others. Second, the authors summarized the goals and objectives of the firm that were discussed in the mission statement. These include ethical operations, concern for the environment, desire to produce a quality product that provided value to the customers, need to conduct global operations, desire to be a leader in the industry, and many others. Significant differences by country were identified in both the stakeholders identified and the reported goals and objectives. Trends were also identified in US mission statements since the authors' first study conducted in 2001. This paper includes summary information from the authors' studies in 2001, 2008, 2010, and 2011. The 2012 study is the most comprehensive with the largest 25 firms from the ten countries reviewed. These 250 mission statements provide insight into what the world's largest firms consider their 'purpose for existence'. A summary of the mission statement similarities and differences by country are presented in the final portion of this paper.

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