3rd Research Workshop: Missions, leadership and sustainability (UIC 2018 - Barcelona)


Antonio Argandoña
Miquel Bastons
Universitat Internacional de Catalunya
Raúl López Palomino
Marta Mas-Machuca
Universitat Internacional de Catalunya
Domènec Melé
Carlos Rey
Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

The III Research Workshop on Missions, Strategy, and Culture of the Universitat International de Catalunya has left us an interesting collection of papers. In different ways, they discuss connections between corporate mission and crucial organizational elements, such us strategy, sustainability, leadership, and social enterprise. All of them make a contribution to a better understanding of the relevance of the mission and how to carry out management by mission. Some papers also showed the complexity of this topics and its character interdisciplinary, which includes management and organizational studies, social sciences and even philosophy and theology.

Often, any research raises new questions and open the door to further research, as well as to knowledge advances. This is what occurred in discussing papers presented at this workshop. They invite to reflect on a research agenda, which, from my point of view, may include at least seven areas, as they are outlined next.

First, philosophical reflections on mission for a better understanding of this concept. Mission should be connected with the purpose of the firm within the society. which gives legitimacy to business firms. I would suggest distinguishing the generic mission of any business firm, and particular mission statement chosen by any particular company. There is necessary to keep consistency between the latter and the former.

A second area of research, can be oriented to gain an understanding on the role of the corporative mission, as a fundamental normative statement of the company or institution, and its connection with corporate values and ethics.

Studying the formulation and implementation of mission statements would be a third area. The implementation should focus on key elements of the organization, including strategy, objectives, structure, leadership, change management, and sustainability. It could be relevant both, empirical and conceptual research.

A forth and more practical perspective, is studying how to integrate corporate mission into the organizational activity: including decision-making, design of policies, management systems (communication, motivation, performance appraisal, among others) and practices.

A fifth area, can be related to study particular missions with an effective implementation and their consequences for behavioral performance (job satisfaction, learning, employee engagement, corporate citizenship behavior, etc.) and for corporate culture.

A sixth area is about the interface between particular mission and corporate mission: problems and proposals for increasing its harmonization. Finally, I think, it can be very interesting to explore the application of management by missions to fields such as education, politics, and cultural institutions.

These seven areas are not by all means exhaustive, but hopefully they can bring about significant advances in management by missions.

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