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  • 标题:The core of retail mission statements: top 100 U.S. retailers.
  • 作者:Anitsal, M. Meral ; Anitsal, Ismet ; Girard, Tulay
  • 期刊名称:Academy of Strategic Management Journal
  • 印刷版ISSN:1544-1458
  • 出版年度:2012
  • 期号:January
  • 语种:English
  • 出版社:The DreamCatchers Group, LLC
  • 摘要:Retailers use mission statements to build long-term relationships with their customers, employees, and the community. Prior research demonstrates that the content of a mission statement has significant implications on the firm's performance (Alavi and Karami, 2009; Green and Medlin, 2003; Bart, 1998). The mission statement is a broad description of a firm's goals and objectives and the scope of activities it plans to undertake to achieve its goals (Campbell, 1997). It informs various shareholders what type of business the firm is in, its purpose, and how the firm builds a sustainable competitive advantage. Thus, firms and organizations typically use mission statements to communicate their purpose and goals to employees and stakeholders to simultaneously create an organizational culture and corporate identity (Peyrefitte and David, 2006). A firm's purpose stated in its mission statement distinguishes its business from its competitors, identifies its scope of operations, embodies its business philosophy, and reflects the image it seeks to project (Toftoy and Chatterjee, 2004).
  • 关键词:Business creativity;Business planning;Business plans;Clothing industry;Computer industry;Consumer preferences;Corporate culture;Corporations;Decision making;Decision-making;Drugstores;Employee attitudes;Employees;Entrepreneurship;Home center stores;Mission statements;Organizational behavior;Retail industry;Retail trade;Specialty stores;Supermarkets;Sustainable agriculture

The core of retail mission statements: top 100 U.S. retailers.


Anitsal, M. Meral ; Anitsal, Ismet ; Girard, Tulay 等


INTRODUCTION

Retailers use mission statements to build long-term relationships with their customers, employees, and the community. Prior research demonstrates that the content of a mission statement has significant implications on the firm's performance (Alavi and Karami, 2009; Green and Medlin, 2003; Bart, 1998). The mission statement is a broad description of a firm's goals and objectives and the scope of activities it plans to undertake to achieve its goals (Campbell, 1997). It informs various shareholders what type of business the firm is in, its purpose, and how the firm builds a sustainable competitive advantage. Thus, firms and organizations typically use mission statements to communicate their purpose and goals to employees and stakeholders to simultaneously create an organizational culture and corporate identity (Peyrefitte and David, 2006). A firm's purpose stated in its mission statement distinguishes its business from its competitors, identifies its scope of operations, embodies its business philosophy, and reflects the image it seeks to project (Toftoy and Chatterjee, 2004).

Pearce (1982) identifies eight key components of mission statements: customers, products or services, markets, technology, concern for survival, growth, and profitability, philosophy, self-concept, and concern for public image. Wheelen and Hunger (2000) develop nine criteria to measure the completeness and quality of a mission statement: 1) purpose; 2) products and/or services; 3) competitive advantage; 4) scope of operations; 5) philosophy; 6) vision; 7) sense of shared expectations; 8) public image, and 9) emphasis on technology, creativity, and innovation.

Green and Medlin (2003) investigate the link between the completeness and quality of organizations' mission statements and their financial performance and find a significant positive relationship. They conclude that strategic managers can expect to improve the organization's financial performance by improving the organization's mission statement. With the purpose of providing guidance to strategic managers, this study content analyzes the mission statements of the top 100 retailers using the 7Ps of the services mix theory (i.e., product/service, price, place/distribution, promotion, people, physical evidence, and process including corporate responsibility). Additionally, the study further organizes the people element of the mission statement contents into employees, customers, stakeholders/investors, and community. Next, the literature on mission statements and 7Ps of marketing mix will be reviewed, the methodology of this study will be explained, and the data content analysis and major findings of the study are discussed. Finally, the paper draws conclusions, leading to propositions to guide further avenues for future research.

LITERATURE

The findings of research studies that examine the relationship between the mission statements and organizational performance are conflicting in the literature (O'Gorman and Doran, 1999). Bart and Baetz (1998) find no significant empirical evidence to support the relationship; though, they point out that some of the aspects of a mission statement may be related to higher levels of performance. However, Green and Medlin (2003) conclude that completeness and quality of a mission statement is linked to financial performance. Alavi and Karami (2009) find positive significant relationship between firms' mission statements and their financial performance in the small and mid-sized enterprise sectors. They further confirm that the presence of financial goals in mission statements is negatively associated with firm's performance. Alavi and Karami (2009) conclude that increasing the involvement of firm's non-managerial employees in the development of the mission statement increases financial performance.

The CNNfn.com Evaluator Summary provides eleven criteria to determine organizational performance: 1) revenue; 2) net income; 3) cash flow; 4) return on equity; 5) return on assets; 6) return on invested capital; 7) total debt to equity; 8) long-term debt to equity; 9) price/earnings ratio; 10) price/sales ratio, and 11) price/earnings/growth ratio (Green and Medlin, 2003). Because this study examines the mission statements of the top 100 U.S. retailers that were ranked based on their financial performance, it does not focus on examining the relationship between the content of their mission statements and financial performance. Instead, the main purpose of this study is to examine the mission statements of the top 100 U.S. retailers based on the 7Ps of services marketing mix framework and elaborate on which essential components are used by retailers and implications on their organizational performance. Specifically, it analyzes the information that retailers use in their mission statements to communicate with various stakeholders.

In a similar study, Peyrefitte and David (2006) analyze the mission statements of large U.S. firms across four industries (banking, computer hardware, computer software, and food processing) based on nine components (customers, products and services, markets, technology, survival/growth/profitability, philosophy, self-concept, public image, and employees). They find that the use of the components of the mission statements of these firms from four different industries were comparable responding to stakeholders in similar ways. The authors of this study propose that the mission statements of the top 100 U.S. retailers will differ in the inclusion of all of the 7Ps of the services mix in their mission statements. The next section will elaborate on the 7Ps of the services mix theory and how firms apply the 7Ps to their mission statements.

Application of the 7Ps of Services Mix Theory to Mission Statements

To the authors' best knowledge, this paper is the first study that discusses how each of the 7Ps of the services mix relates to mission statements in the literature. The 7Ps concepts (participants, physical evidence, process, price, place, promotion, and product/service), derived from the 4Ps of marketing mix theory, were originated by Shostack (1977a) and developed and defined by Booms and Bitner (1981).

Participants are the employees/personnel/associates, who deliver service, and also other customers, who participate in the service environment. The personnel-to-customer and customer-to-customer interactions are crucial to make the service experience pleasant and satisfactory (Anitsal, Girard andAnitsal, 2011). Thus, including the participants in mission statements can initiate a long-term relationship between the participants and the firm. In addition, including the participants (e.g., JC Penney's mission statement) in the mission statement demonstrates that the company cares for these stakeholders, which include resource providers such as customers and employees and the non-resource providers such as the community, and the environment (van Nimwegen, Bollen, Hassink, and Thijssens, 2008). van Nimwegen et al. (2008, p.77) conclude that "a failure to recognize and include essential stakeholders in the mission statement may be costly in the long run, particularly when competitors are better able to address these stakeholders".

Physical evidence is the environment in which the firm and customers interact and in which services or products are delivered; it can also be any tangible commodities which facilitate performance or communication of the service (Shostack 1977a; Booms and Bitner, 1981). In this respect, physical evidence can be considered as the presence of the company on the web, global markets, or locating at preferred shopping destinations (e.g., Target).

Process for service assembly is the actual procedures, mechanisms, and flow of activities by which the service is delivered (Booms and Bitner, 1981). Companies improve their processes using technology (e.g., Macy's), establishing guidelines, and working responsibly (e.g., Delhaize America). Including these components in mission statements could enhance not only operation efficiency but also customer perceptions of service quality and of how much the retailer cares about satisfying its customers.

While the tangible Product covers a wide range of variables such as brand name, quality of inputs, features, and options, the intangible nature of services results in simultaneous production and consumption (perishability) (Anitsal, Girard and Anitsal, 2011). Most companies adhere to a broader description of their products and services (e.g., CVS Caremark) while others may choose to list their specific products/services in their mission statements. Listing products/services can add value if they are being used as promotional tools to inform customers of what the firm provides to customers. Otherwise, listing specific products only limits the scope in case the firm decides to expand its product mix. Firms use positioning statements such as quality and performance they are delivering in their products (e.g., Ahold USA) and superior experience in their services (e.g., Rite Aid).

Price is both an economic variable in the marketing mix affecting the level of demand and a psychological variable affecting the customers' expectations of products' and/or services (Anitsal, Girard andAnitsal, 2011). A price strategy in a mission statement communicates the value proposition or promise the firm is making (e.g., Target).

Place or distribution decisionscan create value for customers by making the products available in accessible locations when needed. For services, customer accessibility involves participants, physical evidence, and process due to direct customer contact at the time of service delivery (Booms and Bitner, 1981). Mission statements can create value by providing information for accessibility at convenient places to stakeholders (e.g., Sears Holding).

Promotion involves not only traditional methods (such as advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, publicity, and direct marketing) but also participants, physical evidence and process relevant to services, which contribute to building sustainable competitive advantage. A mission statement can communicate the core values and value-driven culture of the firm (e.g., Home Depot).

Retailers use mission statements to build long-term relationships with customers, employees, and the community. Using the elements in the services mix promotes the relationships with firm's stakeholders. This paper focuses on the applications of the seven Ps of services mix to mission statements. The next section will describe the methodology of this study.

METHODOLOGY

The sample for this study is drawn from the top 100 U.S. retailers of 2008 list of the Stores magazine published by National Retail Federation. The list was regularly prepared based on U.S. retail sales volume. These stores represent multiple concentrations including department stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, bookstores, apparel retailers, restaurants, and specialty stores such as automotives, computers and cell phones as well as e-tailers. These names appeared on previous and more recent lists of top retailers. However, 2008 was selected as the research year because the toughest economic conditions were experienced in the whole U.S during the period between January 2008 - January 2009. These retailers represent the most successful businesses in the U.S. retail environment even in the most difficult periods for the market.

Data was collected from web sites of the retailers by a graduate student during September-November 2010. Mission statements of all 100 retailers were found on the web, and were transferred to an excel file. One of the researchers randomly checked the content of excel file and actual web sites for mistakes and typo errors. None was found. One researcher categorized the statements under seven Ps, while the other researchers performed validity and reliability checks of proper categorization. Researchers concurred with the 90 percent of the categorizations, and categorized the remaining 10 percent by using their best judgment.

Later, the mission statements were rated based on a scale used by David and David (2003). Mission statements were rated for each P of the services marketing and categorized as 1: statement does not include the component, 2: statement includes the component in vague terms, 3: statement includes the component in specific terms. Results were summarized in Table 1.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Researchers were able to identify six out of seven Ps of services mix. The promotion component was not used in 99 percent of the mission statements. The only company referring to promotion in a vague way within their service strategy was McDonald's.

McDonald's: "Our worldwide operations have been aligned around a global strategy called the Plan to Win centering on the five basics of an exceptional customer experience--People, Products, Place, Price and Promotion. We are committed to improving our operations and enhancing our customers' experience."

Another observation about the mission statements was 13 percent of them were written in theme mission statement style. In 1996, Leuthesser and Kohli (1996) identified that only a few companies used theme mission statements that use specific examples and explanations how the company planned to bring the mission statement to life in a story form. Apparently this trend was gaining momentum among top U.S. retailers. Kroger, Supervalue, Delhaize America, Staples provided some examples of theme mission statements where retailers weaved company values, philosophy and strategy into story.

Kroger: "OUR MISSION is to be a leader in the distribution and merchandising of food, health, personal care, and related consumable products and services. By achieving this objective, we will satisfy our responsibilities to shareowners, associates, customers, suppliers, and the communities we serve.

We will conduct our business to produce financial returns that reward investment by shareowners and allow the Company to grow. Investments in retailing, distribution and food processing will be continually evaluated for their contribution to our corporate return objectives.

We will constantly strive to satisfy the needs of customers as well as, or better than, the best of our competitors. Operating procedures will increasingly reflect our belief that the organization levels closest to the customer are best positioned to serve changing consumer needs.

We will provide all associates and customers with a safe, friendly work and shopping environment and will treat each of them with respect, openness, honesty and fairness. We will solicit and respond to the ideas of our associates and reward their meaningful contributions to our success.

We value America's diversity and will strive to reflect that diversity in our work force, the companies with which we do business, and the customers we serve. As a Company, we will convey respect and dignity to all individuals.

We will encourage our associates to be active and responsible citizens and will allocate resources for activities that enhance the quality of life for our customers, our associates and the communities we serve."

People

According to the ratings the most elaborately mentioned component of 7Ps of services marketing is people. 52 percent of retailers included this statement in specific details in their mission statements. There was equal emphasis on customers, employees and shareholders. Some retailers also mentioned communities/neighborhoods.

J.C. Penney: "JCPenney is committed to serving our communities, our Associates, our Customers and the environment. What matters to you matters to JCPenney."

Starbucks: "... aims to inspire and nurture the human spirit--one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.

Employees (Associates):Clearly mission statements were used to attract the best candidates for employment and to encourage them to commit and take responsibility. These statements also recognized employees as the essential component of retail experiences. Examples include the following.

Walgreens: "We will offer employees of all backgrounds a place to build careers."

Best Buy: "Our formula is simple: we're a growth company ... --and we rely on our employees to solve those puzzles. Thanks for stopping."

SUPERVALU: "Our success requires us to trust in our employees, respect their individual contributions and make a commitment to their continued development. This environment will allow us to attract the best people and provide opportunities through which they can achieve personal and professional satisfaction."

Rite Aid: "... Our knowledgeable, caring associates work together to provide a superior pharmacy experience, ..."

Publix: "... To that end we commit to be: ... Dedicated to the Dignity, Value and Employment Security of our Associates, ... "

Customers: Retailers were aware of the fact that they had to create, communicate and deliver superior value to their customer for their continuing existence in the market place. Mission statements reflect that idea clearly.

Target: "Our mission is to make Target the preferred shopping destination for our guests by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and an exceptional guest experience ..."

Walgreen: "We will earn the trust of our customers and build shareholder value." "We will treat each other with respect and dignity and do the same for all we serve."

Sears Holdings: "To grow our business by providing quality products and services at great value when and where our customers want them, and by building positive, lasting relationships with our customers."

Safeway: "Our goal is to be the first choice for those customers who have the opportunity to shop locally in a Safeway store."

Ahold USA: "We make it easy for our customers to choose the best... by putting the customer at the heart of every decision."

Shareholders (Investors): In the following mission statements, retailers acknowledge their investors

SUPERVALU: "Our responsibility to our investors is clear - continuous profit growth while ensuring our future success. SUPERVALU will prosper through a balance of innovation and good business decisions that enhances our operations and creates superior value for our customers."

Publix: "... To that end we commit to be: ... Devoted to the highest standards of stewardship for our Stockholders, and ..."

Product (and Service)

Product/ service was the second most used component in the mission statements of retailers (mean=2.33). Majority (59%) of retailers covered this statement in specific terms. Some examples of those which used it for the merchandise they carry in their stores and vaguely mention services they provided for customers were as follows.

Publix: "Our Mission at Publix is to be the premier quality food retailer in the world...."

Walgreen: "We will provide the most convenient access to consumer goods and services ... and pharmacy, health and wellness services ... in America."

Home Depot: "The Home Depot is in the home improvement business and our goal is to provide the broadest selection of products and ..."

Costco: "To continually provide our members with quality goods and services ..."

IKEA North America: "Ikea's mission is to offer a wide range of home furnishing items of good design and function, excellent quality and durability, ..."

Retailers below referred the overall company as the product. They are more experience or retailer function focused.

CVS Caremark: "Above all else . our mission is to improve the lives of those we serve by making innovative and high-quality health and pharmacy services ..."

SUPERVALU: "We shall pursue our mission with a passion for what we do and a focus on priorities that will truly make a difference in our future."

Rite Aid: "To be a successful chain of friendly, neighborhood drugstores.... to provide a superior pharmacy experience, and offer everyday products and services ... lead healthier, happier lives."

Office Depot: "Delivering winning solutions that inspire worklife.[TM]

Ahold USA: "We make it easy for our customers to choose the best--for themselves and the people they care about. We do this through our strong local brands ... We strive to stand out from the competition by providing the best products in a relevant range, the best quality, ..., and the best choices for a healthy lifestyle--all in the simplest way possible."

HSN: "HSN is a leading interactive multichannel retailer, offering a curated assortment of exclusive products and top brand names to its customers. HSN incorporates experts, entertainment, inspiration, solutions, tips and ideas to provide an entirely unique shopping experience for its customers."

Few retailers tied their merchandise and services to specific characteristics of their customers. Whole Foods, Apple Stores, and Advanced Auto Parts were among these retailers. Here is an example from Apple Stores:

Apple: "... easy to use products that incorporate high technology for the individual. We are proving that high technology does not have to be intimidating for noncomputer experts."

Process (and Corporate Responsibility)

Retailers also elaborated how they were going to achieve their objectives regarding people and product components. The process component contains description of the retailer's intended implementations. 22% of them also spelled out their social/corporate responsibility in their processes.

Macy's: "Our goal is to be a retailer with the ability to see opportunity on the horizon and have a clear path for capitalizing on it. To do so, we are moving faster than ever before, employing more technology and concentrating our resources on those elements ... "

Albertsons: "Guided by relentless focus on our five imperatives, we will constantly strive to implement the critical initiatives required to achieve our vision. In doing this, we will deliver operational excellence in every corner of the Company and meet or exceed our commitments to the many constituencies we serve...."

American Eagle Outfitters: "We operate in a dynamic and competitive industry. We continually refine the unique processes that drive our business, and we use insightful research and analysis to balance our instinct and to guide our decisions. Our associates embody entrepreneurial spirit, develop creative solutions, and initiate change."

Delhaize America: "Operating responsibly is core to our business strategy. Corporate Responsibility is one of three pillars of our strategy - The New Game Plan--alongside Growth and Efficiency. We are focused on continually improving the social and environmental performance of our business, in concert with our economic performance."

H-E-B: "We Promise to: Act with integrity and trust each other. Deliver on our commitments. Turn our ideas into action quickly. Maximize each store's unique potential. Leverage diversity in all facets of our business. Include customers in our fun and celebration. Produce double-digit sales growth with a profit. Always look for what is missing and what is next. "We Promise ... to Keep Our Promises."

Place (Distribution)

Place element was specifically referred in 28% of mission statements and vaguely mentioned in 23 percent of them. A good example of theme based mission statement that included place element in detail was OSI Restaurant Partners (Famous Dave).

OSI Restaurant Partners: "Famous Dave's of America is committed to creating environments that transcend current restaurant offerings by serving the highest quality, flavor intense foods in surroundings that are stimulating, interesting, and fun. We will be guided by our values and beliefs, creating a culture of productive and empowered associates that provide a service atmosphere certain to delight our guests beyond their expectations. This will result in maximized value to our shareholders and partners. Our passion: 'Be Famous.' Famous Dave's is a flavor intense eating experience that smells great, musically makes you feel good, and visually creates an overwhelming impression that our guests will never forget. We provide exceptional service that wows our guests beyond their expectations, full portions that are value priced, and great flavorful food that creates a craving so strong that our guests are excited to return again with friends. Our purpose: 'Be Famous.' We are committed to becoming the best providers of barbeque in the nation. We create the best concept, prepare the best food, develop the best brand, and execute the best sensory experience for our guests. We are single-minded in being 'Famous."

The Bed Bath & Beyond and Sears mission statements were among the examples that vaguely mentioned the place component.

Bed Bath & Beyond: "... strives to provide a large selection of items and superior service at everyday low prices within a constantly evolving shopping environment that is both fun and exciting for customers."

Sears: "To grow our business by providing quality products and services at great value when and where our customers want them, and by building positive, lasting relationships with our customers."

Price (and Value)

Majority of mission statements (55 percent) did not include price. Only 28 percent used price in specific terms. Some of those retailers referred price as primary objective upfront in their mission statements. They intended to help customers save money.

Wal-Mart: "Wal-Mart's mission is to help people save money so they can live better."

TJX: "Our off-price mission is to deliver a rapidly changing assortment of quality, brand name merchandise at prices that are 20-60% less than department and specialty store regular prices everyday.

Target: "... by consistently fulfilling our Expect More. Pay Less.[R] brand promise."

Ross Stores: "... to provide exciting bargains, every day, in every store."

Big Lots: "To be the best at saving our customers money by creating excitement with brand name closeouts and bargains through a unique shopping experience."

Others (13%) were focused on providing low cost or low prices. Examples included Costco, Giant Eagle, Aldi, and Ikea.

Aldi: "Top quality at incredibly low prices--guaranteed."

Costco: "... goods and services at the lowest possible prices."

Some other (10%) retailers used price as a minor objective. Their price references were vaguer. Adjectives like affordable, competitive, and best were frequently used to describe prices.

Home Depot: "... our goal is to provide ... the most competitive prices."

CVS Caremark: "... our mission is ... health and pharmacy services safe, affordable and easy to access."

Lowe's: "We will provide customer-valued solutions with the best prices, ..."

Ahold USA: " We strive to stand out from the competition by providing ... the best prices, ..."

Value was also specifically mentioned in some of the retailers' mission statements. However, there was no consensus about what the meaning of value was. Some (14%) retailers used it in vague terms that may mean family /cultural values; where as some others (7%) used it to refer to low price, which also implied that, they valued their customers. Yet 11% talked about providing customer value.

Kohl's: "To be the leading family-focused, value-oriented, specialty department store offering quality exclusive and national brand merchandise to the customer in an environment that is convenient, friendly and exciting."

Home Depot: "We are a values-driven company and our eight core values include the following: Excellent customer service, Taking care of our people, Giving back, Doing the "right" thing, Creating shareholder value, Respect for all people, Entrepreneurial spirit, Building strong relationships"

Lowe's: "We will provide customer-valued solutions ... to make Lowe's the first choice for home improvement."

Sears Holdings: "To grow our business by providing quality products and services at great value when and where our customers want them, and by building positive, lasting relationships with our customers."

SUPERVALU: "By pursuing these goals, SUPERVALU will continue to build on our foundation as a world-class retailer and distributor that values long-standing ties with its constituents, and conducts its

business with integrity and ethics. We will continue to foster strong relationships with the diverse people and organizations with whom we work. Through open communication with our customers, employees, communities and shareholders, we will adapt to changing times while holding true to the fundamentals that support both our growth and stability."

Rite Aid: "To be a successful chain of friendly, neighborhood drugstores. Our knowledgeable, caring associates work together to provide a superior pharmacy experience, and offer everyday products and services that help our valued customers lead healthier, happier lives."

Publix: "... To that end we commit to be: Passionately focused on Customer Value, ..."

Physical Evidence

Physical evidence of the service as a tangible element was the least mentioned component. Only 12 percent of retailers vaguely referred to it and 7 percent specifically used it. Retailers that preferred theme mission statements elaborately told their declaration of reasons for existence. Few examples include :

Staples: "Staples Soul reflects our commitment to corporate responsibility.... We seek environmental excellence, by developing and sourcing environmental products, providing easy recycling services for our customers and associates, supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy, and educating stakeholders about environmental issues.

Whole Foods: "Whole Planet--We are committed to helping take care of the world around us, and our active support of organic farming and sustainable agriculture helps protect our planet. And while we assist our global neighbors through our Whole Planet Foundation's micro-lending operations, we also step out the back door of each of our stores to support food banks, sponsor neighborhood events and donate to local non-profit groups."

Trader Joe's was an example of specifically mentioning physical evidences of the companies commitments,

Trader Joe's: "... our mission is to bring our customers the best food and beverage values and the information to make informed buying decisions. There are more than 2000 unique grocery items in our label, all at honest everyday low prices. We work hard at buying things right: Our buyers travel the world searching for new items and we work with a variety of suppliers who make interesting products for us, many of them exclusive to Trader Joe's. All our private label products have their own "angle," i.e., vegetarian, Kosher, organic or just plain decadent, and all have minimally processed ingredients.

CONCLUSION

Denton (2001) stated that mission statements were similar to personal identity. They reveal authentic reasons for the existence of organizations; include concepts like competitive distinctiveness, customer definition, product/service definition, and core values (Greengarten-Jackson, et al. 199). Internally, they help employees to understand goals of retailer, and guide top management in decision making. As a result, mission statements can establish a common purpose among all employees of the organization (Forbes and Seena, 2006). They communicate corporate culture. They are enduring. Externally, they provide an indication of strategic direction of the organization for all stakeholders such as investors, customers, suppliers, new applicants, and even competitors.

The relationship between commitment to quality of life in mission statements and organizational performance was documented for large companies (Amato and Amato, 2002). An enhanced organizational climate resulting from the dynamic communications among all levels of management was directly linked to better organizational performance. Later, Alavi and Karami (2009) found similar results for small and medium enterprises. Apparently, non-managerial employees' involvement in the process of mission statement development had a significant impact on the bottom-line performance of these organizations.

Companies that were included in the top 100 U.S. retailers list had outstanding performance in tough economic times. This study indicated that all had mission statements, and some of these mission statements were elaborately written in theme mission statement style. Seven Ps of services marketing provided framework to content analyze successful retailers' mission statement. Other service organizations can learn from top performing retailers and their mission statements.

The most important component of these mission statements was people. Retailers elaborated how they were interacting with each stakeholder; primarily customers and associates. Even though they did not give specific financial goals to shareholders, they promised the best stewardship for their investments.

The second most important component was product/service they were providing for their customers. The distribution function of marketing can be clearly seen in the definition of services. They tried not to narrowly define their business, so that they can extend their services to customers to provide convenience and easy access.

The third important component was the processes through which they intended to serve their stakeholders. These processes included social responsibility of these organizations towards all stakeholders, environmental consciousness and ethical standards. Process component frequently included statements about how they were going to implement their promise to customers, associates, and investors on a daily basis.

The fourth and fifth components were place and price/value respectively. About half of the retailers mentioned place, in other words, exciting and fun shopping experience or stores where customers and associates would enjoy being in. Providing best, low, great prices and value for customers were also parts of retailers' mission statements.

Physical evidence and promotion were rarely mentioned if at all. These were actually minor in overall mission development, and were usually consequences of the first five components. However, they were important components that support self-image of the organization as perceived by stakeholders. Therefore, it is important to monitor fit among revealed organizational norms, values, scope of activity and how they reflect in physical evidence and promotions conducted by the organization.

This research was focused only on the top 100 retailers of the U.S. and cannot be generalized beyond this group. Replication of this research among other retailers such as specialty retailers, on-line retailers or global retailers will provide more rigor to the conclusions. Also, inclusion of other industries will generate interesting observation and comparison opportunities. Another research avenue may be examining the relationship among seven Ps of services and organizational performances.

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Van Nimwegen, G., Laury Bollen, Harold Hassink, and Thomas Thijssens.(2008). A stakeholder perspective on mission statements: An international empirical study. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 16 (1/2), 61-82.

Wheelen, T. and J. Hunger. (2000). Strategic Management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

M. Meral Anitsal, Tennessee Tech University

Ismet Anitsal, Tennessee Tech University

Tulay Girard, Penn State Altoona
Table 1
MISSION STATEMENT CONTENT ANALYSIS

                                       Frequency

 7 Ps of Service    Mean   Median    1     2     3

People              2.39     3      13%   35%   52%
Product/Service     2.33     3      26%   15%   59%
Process             2.07     2      29%   35%   36%
Place               1.79     2      49%   23%   28%
Price/Value         1.73     1      55%   17%   28%
Physical Evidence   1.26     1      81%   12%    7%
Promotion           1.01     1      99%    1%    0%

Legend

1: statement does not include
the component,

2: statement includes the
component in vague terms,

3: statement includes the
component in specific terms
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