Mission, vision and values of the company the centre of a good CSR praxis

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Insight Corporate Excellence

What is the role of commitment to CSR announced by a company? What are the elements that shape the Company’s identity and determine the direction of its CSR policy? CSR has to draw on the organisational culture, because there is no uniform way to understand it or put it into practice.
Values of a company depend on decisions and history, as well as the company’s behaviour.

Therefore, adoption of values sometimes is the result of adopting new ways of operation, which is always difficult from the point of view of satisfaction and convenience.

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Mission, vision and values of the company the centre of a good CSR praxis

  1. 1. InsightsStrategy DocumentsI07/2011Public AffairsMission, vision and valuesof the company: the centreof a good CSR praxis What is the purpose of the self-declaration made by a company, the elements which make up and make sense of its identity in relation to Corporate Social Responsibility? CSR should be based and rooted in the organizational culture of the company, because there is no single way to understand or practice it. What should exist is a coherent and holistic of action for correct and efficient decision making vision of Corporate Social Responsibility and its in relation to interest groups, in the management of integration in the activity, the business of the a good relationship with them and of a joint process company. In fact, the socially responsible focus of value generation, as Michael Porter has recently should be included in the company’s corporate stated in his article “Creating Shared Value”, statement, both in its vision and in its mission published in the Harvard Business Review. and values, which give and confer meaning and purpose as an organization. Drawing up the CSR mission There are two aspects, two dimensions of the CSR On the one hand, there must be a specific and mission: singular CSR statement of vision, mission and values in the company, which is the focus that corresponds 1. Internal: needs that are satisfied to the company’s style. But on the other hand, as we from those which, in turn, satisfy said, there must exist an integration, as well as an others’ needs (external mission). alignment, of the CSR focus within the corporate 2. External: people’s needs which are mission, vision and values. solved: the principal contribution to society and ‘raison d’être’. A vision (a clear perception of what the company wants to achieve in the medium and long run), What attributes must a good mission statement have? without a mission (direction or objective) and values (tools to achieve it) is nothing other than a • Authentic. declaration of good intentions, but a mission without • Simple. a vision and values is a lack of a sense of proportion, according to Antonio Argandona, professor of • Easy. Economics and Director of the CSR and Corporate • Brave. Governance chair at IESE Business School. • Stimulating. • Feasible. CSR must also make itself explicit in a series of promises and public commitments which must not • Inspiring. be broken or forgotten, because it means a framework • Convincing.
  2. 2. Mission, vision • Credible. constant in the company, especially as they expectand values of the that these principles are the ones that guide thecompany: the centre • Ambitious.of a good CSR praxis actions and behaviors of their employees with the airline’s clients. It is also necessary to personalize and apply the mission to each of the stakeholders. A good This North American airline company understands example of this is Southwest Airlines, a great case that the best way to achieve a responsible behavior inspired by the spirit which encourages Corporate from its employees towards its clients and society in Social Responsibility, especially in the labor and general is behaving in the same manner with them, environmental sphere. anticipating itself and creating the necessary mood and environment to achieve this, aligning precisely This was the only company which grew after the the internal mission with the external one. 9/11 terrorist attacks, even though it was a low cost company centered on domestic passenger flights, as Another good example along these lines is that of were the three flights hijacked that day. In 2006, Starbucks, whose mission is “to inspire and nurture the company obtained, from domestic operations the human spirit – one person, one cup and one only, the record number of passengers in the entire neighborhood at a time.” Starbucks represents the US, compared to any other competing airline and commitment of a company, from its own corporate including international flights in this case. statement to its last operation, with the community in which it operates, the environment in which it ‘CSR must also make itself develops and the talent on which it relies to achieve explicit in a series of it (respect and diversity). promises and public Starbucks: Mission and principles commitments which must not be broken or forgotten Our mission by the company.’ To inspire and nurture the human spirit person to person, cup to cup and community to community. The company’s mission is “dedication to the These are the principles that guide our daily work: highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual Our coffee Our stores pride, and company spirit.” But the company adds Partner Links Partners Our community in its Mission statement a specific reference to its talent management policy and its concern for its Our customers Our shareholders employees when it states that it offers “a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.” Source: Starbucks Coffee Company, 2011. Southwest understands that creativity and innovation are two key factors for the growth A shared mission and efficiency of the company and for this reason There are different ‘owners’ of the mission it is responsibly committed to a policy of human within a company, but a mission fails when it is capital in which concern, respect and care are a badly drawn up, defined or applied, or it is not necessarily shared by the entire organization and, especially, by its management team. In many Southwest: Commitment to customer care cases, the incoherency between the mission and business practice has to do with the way in which Our mission objectives are set, often without considering the ethical dimension or the style of internal The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the most high quality of service delivered to the customer leadership, led by the CEO. with a feeling of warmth, individual pride and friendship through of entrepreneurship. The mission can be a tool for public relations or a framework for decision making, according to Professor Argandona, two visions which are certainly divergent, if not opposed: it inspires internal politics and procedures, it recognizes and confirms identity and values, and trains managers and employees in their relationship with other stakeholders, apart from stimulating the motivation to allow self-regulation and internal Source: Southwest Airlines, 2011. control systems. Insights 2
  3. 3. Mission, vision Within the origin of the mission lie the ideals of the individual in the company (hence the importanceand values of the founder or founders of the organization, and later of the selection and direction of talent throughcompany: the centreof a good CSR praxis of the management team, but in its development values, as proposed Simon Dolan, professor at it is fundamental to establish a process of open ESADE Business School). But a company can also dialogue to enable its continuous improvement change or suffocate personal values which can in its application. For this reason, only when the adjust, sometimes, to a greater extent than those of company as a whole realizes how much the mission the organization itself, to CSR standards, which we can and does contribute, is when all can share it. see as more responsible. ‘Organizational values Furthermore, values must be defined around the mission analyzing at the same time real values, must be coherent, not experienced within the company, day to day, by way contradictory, with the of a yardstick that never misleads nor fail in this task: decision making and prioritization of issues, personal values of each the facts. individual in the company.’ Finally, virtues allow one to live in accordance with values, but self-commitment, the true capacity to act, And to achieve this shared mission the role of and its stimulation or advocacy become key in this communications is especially relevant, in order to process. Virtues push, they support the experience give a clear idea to everyone, but also to explain of values. That is why permanent examples of to each one what the company expects from internal coherence with values are necessary, as well them, what they must do and, finally and no less as a solid pride of ownership which reinforces and important, to give them autonomy, responsibility, reaffirms them. and empower them. One of the more efficient ways to make a mission Conclusions: a change of values for CSR operative, in line with what Professor Pablo Cardona Values in a company are changed by decision, at IESE has posed, is to ensure that it is consistent, education, but also by reflection and meditation that it is aligned to: on behavior itself and its consequences, which on certain occasions leads to the conversion of these • The strategy. through the acquisition of new habits, always contrary to comfort or satisfaction itself. • The operations. • The policies. In the end, a realistic exercise is necessary to define • The procedures. the company’s mission correctly in agreement with • The structures. the vision and the values, as well as coordinating it with the specific mission of CSR and its needs and requirements. And the shared mission is expressed in different levels of the organization and must be reflected in the scorecard, translated into concrete and measureable results, combining it with specific objectives. The function of values in organizational change Values are ideas (they do not need an origin) and beliefs (as a function of a cultural context) – they are not emotions or feelings, tastes or preferences – of the desirable behavior of people who guide the election or evaluation of alternatives which, in the end, rule behavior. Hence its relevance to the debate surrounding CSR and its implementation in organizations. Personal values exist, but so do organizational, collective values which do not represent the mere sum of the personal ones, but those which belong to an entire company and which have value in themselves to be appreciated, considered important, good, positive and even attractive. Organizational values must be coherent, not contradictory, with the personal values of each Insights 3
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