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The real mission of the mission statement: A systematic review of the literature

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 February 2018

Inés Alegre
IESE Business School, Barcelona, Spain
Jasmina Berbegal-Mirabent*
Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
Adrián Guerrero
Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
Marta Mas-Machuca
Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
Corresponding author:


A mission statement is a widely used strategic tool that emphasises an organisation’s uniqueness and identity. It was in the early 1980s that academics, managers, and consultants recognised the need for explicitly formulating a mission statement in organisations. Since then, mission statements have remained as a popular strategic tool in organisations. This article conducts a systematic literature review to synthesise research on mission statements. The analysis of the 53 articles selected includes a bibliometric and content analysis. According to their perspective, the works selected were grouped into four thematic areas: (1) mission statement development, (2) mission statement components, (3) mission impact on employees, and (4) mission impact on performance. The overreaching conclusion is that mission statements are widely used in practice but poorly researched in theory. Most articles adopt a managerial phenomenon-based strand, lacking a deep theoretical foundation. The article ends with suggestions for further research in terms of theory, practice, and methodology.

Research Article
© Cambridge University Press and Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management 2018 

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