According to Hill, (2008), “a mission statement is a statement of the purpose of a company or an organization”. It is aimed at guiding the actions of a business or company, spell out its goals, and provide a path through which the goals will be met. A mission statement is a critical consideration and a point of referral when key decisions are being made. It is a basic orientation for new employees, who are expected to adhere to rules and regulations, and commit to tasks and operations that are in line with the statement. It is also a brief summary of what those whom the organization serves should expect.
History of mission statements
The history of mission statements can be traced back to as early as 1598. It is associated Christian religious groups, where missionaries were assumed to be people of groups of people with a specified mission to accomplish in a given place. As a result, they had defined mission statements before leaving to their place of assignments. The word was also common for military usage from the 1960s. The word can also be found in government documents dated as back as 1960. It was used to define who the target groups for the services, goods or task were, as well as products or tasks being dispersed by an organization.
Mission statements in the healthcare industry
In the words of Hill (2008), “a mission statement provides the framework or context within which the company’s strategies are formulated”. In the healthcare industry, the common goal is to alleviate suffering that is caused by diseases and improve the quality of life through preventive and curative measures. According to Swayne, Jack & Peter (2006), a good mission statement must put into consideration three major components. These are; contribution, target market and distinction. For it to be offer guidance when making decisions, a good mission statement must define who the organization is, be broad enough to accommodate growth, provide a framework through which evaluation can be done and be clear enough for all stakeholders to understand. Every healthcare organization must therefore have a mission statement that is aimed at helping the industry achieve this.
Whether it is through research, treating patients, giving care to people with special needs, giving vaccines and other preventive measures, the healthcare industry is among the fastest evolving industries (Ameringer, 2008). It has evolved through better provision of services, the way products are packaged, the target markets, professionalism, and more advanced technology, among others developments. Therefore, mission statements are more complex and specific as organizations work towards adopting these new developments. Another notable trend in the industry is the high level of competition. As a result, mission statements are an important part of an organization as it tries to market itself as the best. Other major change that has occurred in the healthcare industry is a shift towards specialized centers. For this reason, mission statements in the industry are short and specific. A center that sells optical healthcare must be able to sell that specific product through its mission statement. The same would apply for a hospital that only offers dental services.
In conclusion, a mission statement plays an integral part of an organization. It drives an organization’s goals, helps employees stay focused in their day to day tasks, and is a key factor when major decisions are made. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, it is clear that the role of a mission statement too is changing. Through mission statements, hospitals and other medical organizations are able to sell their specialized products and do so to a bigger crowd. It is also used to market the organizations a good employer to enable them attract the best talent in the market.
Ameringer, C.F. (2008). The healthcare revolution: From medical monopoly to market competition. Berkley: New York.
Hill, C. (2008). Strategic management. Houghton Mifflin Company: New York.
Swayne, L.E., Jack, D.W. & Peter, M.G. (2006).Strategic management of healthcare organizations. Mladen, MA: Blackwell Publishers: New York.