Corporate philosophy

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Components and functions of a mission statement

A mission statement is a written declaration by an organization about its self-image and its basic principles, i.e. a self-description. It formulates a target state ( realistic ideal ). Internally, a concept should provide orientation and thus guide and motivate the organization as a whole as well as the individual members. To the outside world (public, customers) it should make it clear what an organization stands for. It is a basis for the corporate identity of an organization. A mission statement describes the mission and vision of an organization as well as the desired organizational culture . It is part of normative managementand forms the framework for strategies, goals and operational action. The terms corporate philosophy or business philosophy are sometimes used synonymously with corporate mission statement.

The model can also be obtained from the theoretical discussion of innovative corporate, technology and management strategies. A mission statement in this broader sense is not necessarily adapted to company-specific requirements and does not have to be fixed in writing, but can be oriented and effective for entire sectors, industries or clusters (e.g. lean management , diversity management ). In the worst case, the adoption and application of such a model for a single company is not adequately examined. The uncritical adoption of such inadequately examined, rapidly changing models is a manifestation of management fashions that arise due to the oversupply of competing, partly academically produced models.

Functions of corporate principles

Guiding principles are symbolic constructions of social reality. They stipulate certain forms of structuring work and social relationships and the use of technology, through which the perceived company problems are converted into a workable form. They are always selective, as they only focus on certain parts of the organizational reality and ignore others.

Its central functions are the legitimation of design decisions and the orientation of employees . It is often demanded that the model should be derived from a realistic, future-oriented vision: Its development forms the last step in answering the following questions: "What do we stand for as a community?" (Vision), "What do we want to achieve together?" ( Mission) and “Which values ​​and principles should guide our actions?” (Mission statement).

Since the mission statement always gives attractive answers to these questions, it is linked to the hope of positive motivation of the employees. A mission statement development or a mission statement change should ideally be combined with a self-reflection of the actors, their roles and actions.

The second important external function of a model is legitimation and public relations. It is intended to answer the question “What does this organization stand for?”, Combined with a positive image effect , to investors, customers, citizens and opinion leaders . The development of mission statements is often the starting point or part of change processes. By drafting a positive model, a foundation for positive change and further development of the organization should be created.


Whether and to what extent models fulfill their function is controversial in theory and practice. The criticism of individual guiding principles typically goes in two directions: Either the content of the guiding principle or individual components are rejected or the guiding principle is criticized as a “collection of generalities” as not providing sufficient orientation. Occasionally, mission statements are too extensive because one did not “want to forget anything important”, or they are compromises with ideas that are difficult to reconcile.

The process of creating mission statements is also often criticized: It is important to develop the mission statement with key players in the company in a joint process and not leave this to the marketing or communications department without involving employees and managers. But even if this happens, disillusionment or even cynicism can set in after the initial enthusiasm. An unrealistic model can thus prove to be ballast in corporate development.

The question of whether the development of a model can actually be the starting point for positive changes in an organization is fundamentally controversial. In mission statements, an ideal that has little in common with reality is often described with great effort, and no answer is given as to how this ideal becomes reality. Horst Steinmann and Georg Schreyögg write:

“However, these models rarely have anything to do with the actual corporate culture; mostly it is more wishful thinking than a description of the cultural reality. "


This is closely related to the fact that corporate models and visions - which represent a basic normative orientation - are not only developed, but also have to be broken down to the strategic and ultimately operational level. Among other things, the strategic capabilities of companies can be derived from this. Another point of criticism raised by Reinhard Pfriem is aimed at the "organizationally introverted" history of management theory. He criticizes the fact that corporate models, corporate cultures and, ultimately, the earlier corporate philosophies are one-sidedly directed towards internal company conditions. The guiding principles thus make no reference to the market and social environment .:

“If companies succeed in perceiving their cultural role in relation to the social environment more strongly than in the past, then it is important to also communicate these self-perceptions and self-descriptions externally and to redesign corporate mission statements in this direction. Only then can the comparison between the company's ideas of identity and those of the heterogeneous outside world succeed to some extent. "



  • Knut Bleicher : Guiding principles. Orientation framework for an integrative management philosophy. Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung Zurich / Schäffer, 2nd edition, Stuttgart, 1994, ISBN 3-8202-1010-5
  • Monika Knassmüller: Company models in comparison. Framework of meaning and meaning of German-language corporate models - attempt at an empirical (re) construction . Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt 2005, ISBN 978-3-631-52894-5
  • Andreas Losch: A comparison of the models of the leading associations for voluntary welfare and diaconal and charitable organizations . Hartmut Spenner Verlag, Kamen 2011, ISBN 978-3-89991-129-9
  • Andreas Matje: Corporate principles as a management tool . Components of a successful corporate identity . Gabler, Wiesbaden 1996


  1. Knut Bleicher: Concepts. Orientation framework for an integrative management philosophy . P. 274
  2. Christoph Deutschmann : 'Lean Production': the cultural context. In: Hans-Joachim Braczyk, Gerd Schienstock (ed.): Change of course in industry. Kohlhammer Verlag Stuttgart, Berlin, Cologne 1996, p. 140 f.
  3. Knut Bleicher: The concept of integrated management. Frankfurt, p. 115 ff.
  4. Jörg Becker: Regional Marketing - Mission, Market Strength, Cluster Management. BoD 2016. ISBN 978-3-7392-4695-6 .
  5. Horst Steinmann, Georg Schreyögg: Management. Fundamentals of business management concepts - functions - case studies. Gabler, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 978-3-409-63312-3 .
  6. ^ A b Reinhard Pfriem: Corporate strategies . A culturalistic approach to strategic management. Metropolis, Marburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-89518-902-9 , pp. 303-305