Mission Possible: Do School Mission Statements Work?
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- Davis, J.H., Ruhe, J.A., Lee, M. et al. J Bus Ethics (2007) 70: 99. doi:10.1007/s10551-006-9076-7
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Does ethical content in organizational mission statements make a difference? Research regarding the effectiveness and results of mission statements is mixed. Krohe (1995, Across the board, 32, 17–21) concluded that much of the good results do not come from the mission statements themselves but from the strategic re-education that happens in producing one. We attempted to discover whether universities that explicitly state their ethical orientation and vision in their mission statements had students with higher perceived character trait importance and activities that reinforce character than universities that did not. While the faculty and administration may receive benefits from mission statement development through strategic re-education as Krohe suggested, do the statements influence the students at the university who may have had no role in its creation? Using a sample of senior business students at 16 universities we found that students at universities with ethical statements in their mission statements had significantly higher perceived character trait importance and character reinforcement than those at universities whose missions lacked ethical statements. This research suggests that schools that explicitly stated ethical content in their␣mission statements do influence student ethical orientation.