Employee constructions of organizational mission and vision
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Organizational mission and vision play important roles in the life of an organization and well-being of its employees. While many researchers have studied mission and vision from leadership perspectives, little is known about employee constructions of their organization's mission and vision. Unlike previous research which approached mission and vision from rhetorical and socio-cultural perspectives, this study builds on a social constructionist foundation. Based on individual interviews with 45 employees from 22 organizations, this study seeks to understand how employees construct vision (in particular, the ideal future state of the organization, general values related to the ideal state, and authorship/source of vision) and mission (in particular, organization's reason for being, uniqueness, possible changes, customers, clients, market segments, products, services, economic concerns, specific values related to its present operations, and ownership of the mission). This study also addresses the question of how employees' constructions of mission and vision compare with the official versions of mission and vision. To answer the question, the author conducted a thematic analysis of employee responses as compared to official mission and vision statements found on organizations' Web sites. Results indicate lack of congruence between official and employee constructions of organizational mission and vision. This study suggests that the lack of congruence is due to poor communication of vision/mission by leaders, low employee awareness of the advantages of knowing vision/mission, employees' perceptions of vision/mission as irrelevant to daily work, and observed discrepancy between vision/mission and leaders' actions. These findings have important practical implications for organizational professionals. The study makes a significant contribution to mission and vision literature, as well as research on employee perceptions, employee alignment, organizational identification, and organizational control.