The Vision and Mission Statements of MIDROC-Ethiopia: A Working Paper

By Asayehgn Desta, Ph.D.
Sarlo Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Economic Development,
Dominican University of California
July 23 2010

The new business environment of the 21st Century has triggered new thinking. Strategic management has assumed a dominant role in managerial discourse, and has become a paradigm for decision processes about the nature of strategy, the responsibilities of the corporation, and managerial practices. To be effective, the biggest challenge for a business organization is to develop a strategic planning process that includes formulating its vision, mission, goals, and strategic objectives, as well as monitoring and evaluating progress (Drucker, 2001; David, 1999 and Byrson, 1988). Particularly, the vision statements emphasize what the organization could be in the future, and present a challenge for the organization to meet. In short, in its vision statement, an organization addresses what it wants to be in the future without regard to potential barriers.

Based on the strategic management process, the Office of the Chief Executive Office (CEO) of MIDROC has displayed MIDROC-ETHIOPIA’S vision and mission statements in front of its website. In its vision statement, MIDROC aspires to render “quality products and sustained services to every customer and user” (May, 2010). In its declaration of vision outlook, MIDROC challenges itself to offer sustainable products and services to its customers in the future. Cannon states that MIDROC’s vision statement is dynamic and is clearly spelled out (2009). However, if we evaluate MIDROC’S vision statement using Zollo and Winter’s (2002) assessment techniques which argues that a dynamic enterprise needs to adapt to external pressure and modify its operating routines in pursuit of improved effectiveness, MIDROC’s vision statement seems to be weak and fails to highlight the specific strategies likely to be effective in implementing its Code of Business Conduct. Also, as will be discussed in detail later, MIDROC does not seem to increase environmental consciousness among its workers. Its activities are mainly tailored for short-term benefits rather than fostering a development that is environmentally-sustainable for Ethiopia.

The mission statement is long-lasting and distinguishes one enterprise from other similar enterprises. Based on the major philosophical premises under which it will operate to achieve its vision, the mission statement expresses the reasons for being a business enterprise and pinpoints how it wants to serve. Given a clearly articulated mission statement, an organization can formulate, implement, monitor and evaluate its activities. “Without a clear statement of mission, a firm’s short-term actions can be counterproductive to long-term interests,” (David, 1999, p. 95).

In its mission statement, MIDROC claims that it is “a multi-sector organization with second-to-none leadership positions for each of its products and services thereby exceeding the expectations of customers, employees, shareholders and the community” (May, 2010). Furthermore, in line with the tenets of a competitive organization, MIDRO –Ethiopia in its operating philosophy attempts to reflect the expectations of customers by identifying the utility of a firm’s product to the customers, rather than developing a product and then trying to find a marke. (See for example, David, 1999, p. 88.)

Alvesson and Willmott hold the conviction that senior managers, as strategic elites enjoy the upper hand over processes of decision-making either directly or indirectly and control the decision-making of others within the organization (1996). However, the senior managers of MIDROC seem to be occupied with a larger picture. They run their businesses from a distance, and are not involved in day-to-day responsibilities of operational activities. In formulating their mission statement they hardly considered including a) the market where the firm competes and its distinctive leapfrogging competitive advantages, b) technological positioning, and c) proactive environmental concerns for the firm’s products.

MIDROC has earned respect and loyalty of its customers and the community at large. In line with the values of its owner, H.E. Sheik Mohammed Hussein Ali Al-Amoudi, in its mission statements, it conducts its business in a socially responsible way. For instance, MIDROC makes philanthropic contributions of cash, products, and services to a variety of local, national, non-governmental, and international organizations. As stated by Cannon, “MIDROC Ethiopia Group and Affiliate Companies continue to provide support to civil societies for initiatives undertaken by specific communities, non – governmental organization, welfare associations, gender groups, child welfare, HIV/AIDS, etc. ( December 2000). Nonetheless, it worth underlining that the various value statements regarding a) Employment Empowerment, b) Integrity and Ethics, c) Balanced Life and Performance, d) Strength and stability, and e) Teamwork and Cooperation, depicted in its website to augment MIDROC’s mission statements (MIDROC-Ethiopia, May, 2010), seem to be half-baked promises for public relations purposes and are not backed up with actions.

There is no indication that MIDROC is dynamic enough to give priority to building the right team or creating the right strategy to implement team-working conditions to empower its workers. As embodied and outlined in the United Nations fundamental Labor Standards ( UN Global Compact) for all global business enterprises, MIDROC should have attempted to uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining positions of its workers (the United Nations Global Compact, July 26, 2000). Moreover, if MIDROC is to be considered a socially responsible global company, then in its mission statement, it should have stated in its underlying philosophy how it could, a) take a precautionary approach to environmental challenges, b) create initiatives to promoting greater environmental responsibility, and c) develop and diffuse environmentally friendly technologies (United Nations Global Compact, July 26, 2000). Before analyzing the environmental footprints and strategies of MIDROC in Ethiopia, consideration of the environmental policy and regulations of Ethiopia are in order. To be continued

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