, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 99-110
Date: 12 Jul 2006

Mission Possible: Do School Mission Statements Work?

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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.

James H. Davis is an Associate Professor of Strategic Management and the Ray and Milan Siegfried Director of the Gigot Center of Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His research interests include trust, stewardship theory and social capital. His research has appeared in a number of publications including The Academy of Management Review,the Strategic Management Journal and the Journal of Applied Psychology.
John (Jack) A. Ruhe is Professor of Business Administration & Economics at Saint Mary's college, Notre Dame where he teaches Personal Ethics & Corporate Culture, Strategy, and International Management. He previously taught at the U. of Notre Dame, U. of North Carolina-Charlotte, and U. of Florida. He is a former manager of The Procter & Gamble Company. He has authored and co-authored more than 50 articles.
Monle Lee is Professor of Marketing at Indiana University South Bend. She has published textbooks, papers and articles in various business proceedings and journals.
Ujvala Rajadhyaksha is Associate Professor in the Department of Business Administration and Economics at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana. She has served as faculty at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and at Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta in India. Her research interests include gender in management, work and family issues and cross-cultural issues in management. She has published in academic and practitioner-oriented journals including Human Relations, Sex Roles, Vikalpa and Economic and Political Review of India.