Trends of Corporate Mission Statements: From pursuing profit to distinctive and social value
Authors: Gang-Hoon SEO, Munehiko ITOH
Abstract: A mission statement has a significant meaning as the initial and essential step in a company’sstrategic planning process. Previous studies have pointed out the necessity of monitoring and longitudinal study of corporate mission statements as they should be continuously revised against changes in companies’ strategies and business environment. This study aims to shed light on what types of strategies and values are currently highlighted in companies’ mission statements in comparison with the findings of a well-known previous study. Therefore, this study conducted a content analysis of 491 Fortune 500 companies’ mission statements. As a result, we found that “philosophy” is mostly highlighted and “profitability” is not emphasized in contemporary companies’ mission statements. Compared to the past study, these findings imply that there have been dramatic changes in the content of corporate mission statements. Besides, this study divided 491 Fortune 500 companies into two groups, high performers and low performers, according to their Fortune ranking and investigated significant differences between high and low performers using t-tests.The high performers were found to more often highlight “self-concept” and “public image” than low performers. However, the difference in mean scores between high and low performers has become smaller than in the past finding. In particular, there is no statistical difference in mission statement component numbers between high and low performers. These findings can provide futher understanding about changes of companies’ strategic emphasis and the nature of corporate mission statements. This study provides a comparative insight for practitioners making company mission statements.