Building Capacity by Managing a Mission

Building Capacity by Managing a Mission

Sacha Stocklin (Les Roches Jin Jiang International Hotel Management College, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8565-9.ch005


This chapter contains explanations on how a mission can be used and managed to build capacity within an organization. It investigates and defines the meaning of capacity building by analyzing its elements and purpose. In addition, the chapter describes the leadership style for building capacity through a mission and provides an explanation and description of three phases in building capacity for an organization. The intention of the chapter is to present the rationale for mission statements as a strategy and the anchor for capacity building. The research reveals that an organization's mission statement is an effective tool only if it has an inspiring purpose that is understood by the whole community. This means that simply having a statement is not sufficient to fully incorporate a mission. Rather, the mission statement needs to be properly managed to ensure that the whole community of an organization feels or senses the words expressed in the statement in its daily life at work.
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The importance for an institution of building capacity lies in the challenging and unpredictable business environment (Grant, 2002). Griffin, Neal and Parker (2007) explain that in a competitive and changing environment the tasks become more unpredictable, and require adaptive and proactive behavior on the part of community members in a successful organization. Ireland and Hitt (1992) point out that changing events and complex environmental challenges require organizations to sharpen their focus, and use their resources wisely to be successful in the future. Consequently, building capacity in a challenging environment requires a penetrating understanding of customer needs, competitive forces and the organization’s strengths, and weaknesses (Grant, 2002), in which effective resource allocation occurs and adaptive and proactive behaviors are fostered. By building capacity, a sense of shared expectation and a powerful drive for progress is established that enables change (Collins & Porras, 1994). Mission statements are advocated (see Bart, 1997a; Bart, 1997b; Bartkus, Glassman, & McAfee, 2000; Campbell and Yeung, 1991; Collins & Porras, 1991; Drucker, 1993; Vogt, 1994; Welch & Welch, 2005) to support this activity, since they communicate direction and purpose. ‘Purpose’ refers to reasons that are beyond making money. Its role is to guide and inspire (Collins & Porras, 1994), and also in guiding the resource allocation process in a manner that produces consistency and focus (Bart, 1997b).

The chapter compares three different research approaches on mission statements where [1] the focus was on the process of creating such statements (for example Baetz & Bart, 1998; Davies & Glaister, 1997; Ireland & Hitt, 1992), [2] the elements that should be included and defined in missions (for example Campbell & Yeung, 1991; Collins & Porras, 1991; Davis, Ruhe, Lee & Rajadhyaksha, 2007; King, Case & Premo, 2011; Klemm, Sanderson & Luffman, 1991), and [3] investigations of whether mission statements can be linked to innovation, productivity or any other form of higher performance (for example Bart and Baetz, 1998; Bart, 1998a; Bart, 2004; Desmidt, Prinzie, & Decramer, 2011). The intention is to provide leaders and scholars with insight into the following issues: under what conditions, to what degree, and in what ways a mission statement can be incorporated to build capacity. The practical implication of this research can help in drawing conclusions about how the mission can contribute to creating a directed and focused community that can cope with the challenges of the external business environment.

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