What Is The Ashridge Model? The Ashridge Model In A Nutshell

The Ashridge model is the result of a research project conducted by Andrew Campbell and Sally Yeung. The Ashridge model provides a framework for creating a company mission statement. The project – which ran for two years – involved Campbell and Yeung interviewing 53 successful companies to give structure to the ideal mission statement. At the time, there was some degree of confusion around mission statements and what they should encompass or achieve.

Ashridge Model– The Ashridge Model, also known as the Ashridge Mission Model, is a strategic management framework developed by the Ashridge Strategic Management Centre. It’s designed to help organizations define their mission, strategy, and culture effectively, ensuring alignment and clarity in their strategic direction.
ComponentsMission: The model starts with a clear articulation of the organization’s mission, which defines its purpose, values, and identity. – Strategy: Next, it focuses on developing a strategy that aligns with the mission and outlines the path to achieve organizational goals. – Culture: The model emphasizes the importance of an organization’s culture in supporting and driving the chosen strategy.
Alignment– A key emphasis of the Ashridge Model is the alignment between mission, strategy, and culture. It suggests that these three elements should be in harmony to ensure that the organization’s goals are achieved effectively. – If there is a misalignment, it can lead to confusion, lack of motivation, and strategic failure.
Mission– The mission component involves defining the organization’s core purpose, values, and long-term aspirations. It answers the question of “Why do we exist?” – This mission statement serves as a guiding light for all strategic decisions and actions. – It’s critical to involve key stakeholders in defining and refining the mission.
Strategy– The strategy component focuses on developing a clear plan that outlines how the organization will achieve its mission. It involves setting objectives, identifying key initiatives, and allocating resources effectively. – A well-defined strategy provides direction and helps in making informed decisions.
Culture– The culture aspect recognizes that organizational culture plays a crucial role in strategy execution. It emphasizes the need for a culture that supports and reinforces the chosen strategy. – Leaders must actively promote the desired culture and align it with the mission and strategy.
Implementation– Successful implementation of the Ashridge Model requires a holistic approach. Organizations must continuously assess their progress, adapt to changing circumstances, and ensure that culture and strategy remain aligned with the mission. – Flexibility and adaptability are key elements of the model.
Benefits– The Ashridge Model offers several benefits, including enhanced clarity of organizational direction, alignment of mission and strategy, improved decision-making, and a stronger organizational culture that supports strategic goals. – It helps organizations remain focused on their core purpose while adapting to changing environments.
Challenges– Challenges in implementing the Ashridge Model include the need for ongoing leadership commitment, the potential for resistance to cultural change, and the requirement for effective communication to ensure everyone understands and embraces the mission and strategy.
Conclusion– The Ashridge Model is a valuable framework for organizations seeking to align their mission, strategy, and culture. By emphasizing clarity and alignment, it helps organizations navigate the complexities of strategic management and fosters a culture that supports long-term success. – It’s important for leaders to actively champion the model and ensure its ongoing relevance in a dynamic business environment.

Understanding the Ashridge model?

The Ashridge model is the result of a research project conducted by Andrew Campbell and Sally Yeung. 

The project – which ran for two years – involved Campbell and Yeung interviewing 53 successful companies to give structure to the ideal mission statement. At the time, there was some degree of confusion around mission statements and what they should encompass or achieve.

Campbell and Yeung’s findings resulted in a framework that would later become known as the Ashridge model. In the next section, this article will discuss the model and its four, linked elements.

The four elements of the Ashridge model

Four elements guide the crafting of a well-rounded mission statement.

1 – Purpose  

Why does the company exist? Some businesses find this question difficult to answer and avoid it altogether. 

In very general terms, Campbell and Yeung believe that organizations fall into three different categories:

  1. Shareholder benefit – in these organizations, a strategy that maximizes shareholder returns is preferred. 
  2. Shareholder satisfaction – these companies tend to act responsibly toward shareholders, customers, employees, and the environment without excelling. They may do this for altruistic reasons or to be seen to be doing the right thing.
  3. Higher ideal organizations – or those who prioritize following a higher, sometimes moral purpose over satisfying shareholders. Typically, this purpose involves some sort of social, ethical, or environmental change.

2 – Strategy

Strategy determines future actions, aligns the organization toward a common goal, and should define how the company intends to beat the competition. 

As a result, a mission statement should reflect organizational strategy. It should also reflect the current position the business finds itself in.

3 – Values

Values determine behaviors and beliefs which in turn influence company culture. 

In successful companies, there is a strong correlation between company values and employee values. Thus, the mission statement should reinforce these values and reflect wider employee sentiment.

4 – Behavioural standards

Behavioral standards describe the acting out of company values or strategy by employees in a real-world setting. Indeed, purpose and strategy are empty intellectual thoughts unless they are consistently displayed with action.

Again, the mission statement should support or reinforce these values. This is particularly important for brand image since consumers want to see businesses embodying the values they preach. 

For example, cosmetic retailer The Body Shop strives to produce cosmetics that do not harm animals or the environment. This environmental consciousness extends to its physical stores, with the company revolutionizing the now common two-bin system for waste and recycling. More importantly, The Body Shop employees receive training on environmental stewardship and embody the mission statement values customers expect. 

Benefits of the Ashridge model

Some of the benefits of using the Ashridge model include:

  • Value objectivity – given that organizational values need to be aligned with employee values, the model allows any incompatibility to be analyzed and measured. This brings much-needed objectivity to complex and less tangible cultural and human resource issues. What’s more, a business that understands where value discrepancies lie can then go about fixing them.
  • Reinforcement and clarification – the model also demands that strategy and values resonate and reinforce each other. Campbell and Yeung note that finding compatible values is simple, but analyzing their impact on strategy is more difficult. With an emphasis on behavioral standards, the model can bridge this gap by measuring the degree of resonance between strategy and values. When the relationship between both factors is understood, employees are less likely to have a cavalier attitude toward the company mission and act accordingly.

Case Studies

  • Company: Apple Inc.
    • Purpose: “Apple’s purpose is to create innovative products that empower individuals and enrich their lives.”
    • Strategy: Apple achieves this by designing user-friendly, cutting-edge technology and delivering a seamless ecosystem of devices and services.
    • Values: Innovation, User-Centric Design, Quality, Sustainability.
    • Behavioral Standards: Apple employees are dedicated to innovation, exceptional design, and sustainability, striving to exceed customer expectations.
  • Company: Google (Alphabet Inc.)
    • Purpose: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
    • Strategy: Google accomplishes this through search technology, advertising platforms, and the development of innovative products and services.
    • Values: Accessibility, Innovation, User Empowerment, Data Privacy.
    • Behavioral Standards: Google’s teams prioritize user privacy, data security, and continuous innovation while ensuring accessible information for all.
  • Company: Microsoft Corporation
    • Purpose: “Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
    • Strategy: Microsoft achieves this by providing a wide range of software, hardware, and cloud-based solutions to enhance productivity and innovation.
    • Values: Empowerment, Innovation, Inclusivity, Responsible Technology.
    • Behavioral Standards: Microsoft employees work towards empowering individuals and organizations, promoting innovation, and ensuring responsible technology use.
  • Company:, Inc.
    • Purpose: “Amazon’s vision is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
    • Strategy: Amazon fulfills this vision by offering an extensive online marketplace, fast shipping, and a focus on customer experience.
    • Values: Customer-Centricity, Innovation, Sustainability, Efficiency.
    • Behavioral Standards: Amazon employees prioritize customer satisfaction, innovation, and responsible business practices to uphold the company’s vision.
  • Company: Facebook, Inc. (Meta Platforms, Inc.)
    • Purpose: “Meta’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
    • Strategy: Meta achieves this by providing social networking platforms and technologies that connect people globally.
    • Values: Community, Connectivity, Privacy, Innovation.
    • Behavioral Standards: Meta’s teams work towards fostering community engagement, respecting user privacy, and driving innovation in social connectivity.
  • Company: Tesla, Inc.
    • Purpose: “Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
    • Strategy: Tesla achieves this by designing and manufacturing electric vehicles, renewable energy products, and energy storage solutions.
    • Values: Sustainability, Innovation, Clean Energy, Autonomy.
    • Behavioral Standards: Tesla employees work toward advancing clean energy adoption and developing innovative, sustainable transportation solutions.
  • Company: Netflix, Inc.
    • Purpose: “Netflix’s mission is to entertain the world.”
    • Strategy: Netflix accomplishes this by offering a streaming platform with a vast library of movies, TV shows, and original content.
    • Values: Entertainment, Content Diversity, Creative Freedom.
    • Behavioral Standards: Netflix employees focus on creating and delivering diverse, high-quality entertainment content while encouraging creative expression.
  • Company: Twitter, Inc.
    • Purpose: “Twitter’s mission is to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.”
    • Strategy: Twitter provides a real-time social media platform for users to share thoughts, news, and engage in conversations.
    • Values: Free Expression, Public Conversation, Safety.
    • Behavioral Standards: Twitter’s teams work to ensure open and safe communication on the platform, respecting users’ freedom of expression.
  • Company: Uber Technologies, Inc.
    • Purpose: “Uber’s mission is to ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion.”
    • Strategy: Uber offers ride-sharing and transportation services to enhance mobility and accessibility.
    • Values: Accessibility, Innovation, Safety.
    • Behavioral Standards: Uber employees focus on providing safe, reliable transportation solutions and improving global mobility.
  • Company: Airbnb, Inc.
    • Purpose: “Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere.”
    • Strategy: Airbnb connects travelers with unique lodging experiences and hosts worldwide.
    • Values: Inclusivity, Community, Hospitality.
    • Behavioral Standards: Airbnb teams work to promote inclusive travel experiences, celebrate diversity, and foster a sense of belonging.

Key takeaways:

  • The Ashridge model is a framework for creating a company mission statement. It was created by researchers Andrew Campbell and Sally Yeung after interviewing 53 companies with successful mission statements.
  • The Ashridge model defines four elements of a sound mission statement: purpose, value, strategy, and behavioral standards. 
  • The Ashridge model brings objectivity to sometimes complex cultural or human resource issues. It also provides clarity on the behavior required of the organization to underpin its mission.

Key Highlights of the Ashridge Model:

  • Origin and Purpose: The Ashridge model is a framework for creating a company mission statement. It was developed by researchers Andrew Campbell and Sally Yeung after conducting a two-year research project involving 53 successful companies. The aim was to provide structure to mission statements that had become unclear and varied in their purpose.
  • Four Elements of the Model:
    1. Purpose: This element focuses on why the company exists and categorizes organizations into three types based on their priorities: shareholder benefit, shareholder satisfaction, and higher ideal organizations with a moral or social purpose.
    2. Strategy: The mission statement should reflect the company’s strategy, guiding its future actions and aligning it toward common goals. It should also consider the company’s current position.
    3. Values: Values influence behaviors, beliefs, and company culture. A strong correlation between company and employee values is essential. The mission statement should reinforce these values and reflect broader employee sentiments.
    4. Behavioral Standards: This element emphasizes that values and strategy should be translated into action by employees. The mission statement should support these values, particularly for maintaining brand image and meeting customer expectations.
  • Benefits of Using the Ashridge Model:
    • Value Objectivity: The model allows for an objective analysis of alignment between organizational and employee values, which can help identify and address value discrepancies.
    • Reinforcement and Clarification: The model ensures that strategy and values are compatible and reinforce each other. It bridges the gap by measuring resonance between strategy and values, helping employees better understand the company’s mission and act accordingly.
  • Value in Cultural and HR Contexts: The Ashridge model brings objectivity to complex cultural and human resource issues by analyzing value compatibility and impact on strategy.
  • Alignment of Strategy and Values: The model emphasizes the need for strategy and values to resonate and be reinforced by each other. Understanding this relationship helps employees embody the company’s mission more effectively.
  • Impact on Brand Image: The model highlights the importance of translating mission values into actions for maintaining brand integrity and meeting customer expectations.
  • Mission Statement Clarity: The Ashridge model provides a structured framework for crafting a mission statement that aligns purpose, strategy, values, and behavioral standards.
  • Categories of Purpose: The model categorizes organizations based on their purpose, ranging from shareholder benefit to higher ideal organizations prioritizing social, ethical, or environmental change.
  • Behavioral Expectations: The model emphasizes that purpose and strategy need to be translated into consistent behaviors by employees to reflect the mission statement effectively.

Read: Mission Statement Examples.

Mission Statement Case Studies

Adidas Mission Statement

Adidas’ mission is “To be the best sports brand in the world.” Adidas AG is a German multinational initially founded in 1924 by Adolf Dassler who developed spiked running shoes out of his mother’s house. Today, the company is the largest sportswear producer in Europe and the second largest globally behind rival Nike.

Uber Mission Statement

Uber’s mission statement is to ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion.

Tesla Mission Statement

Tesla’s vision is to “create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles,” while its mission is “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass-market electric cars to market as soon as possible.” Tesla used a transitional business model as its ecosystem grows.

Amazon Mission Statement

amazon-vision-statement-mission-statement (1)
Amazon’s mission statement is to “serve consumers through online and physical stores and focus on selection, price, and convenience.” Amazon’s vision statement is “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.” 

Apple Mission Statement

Apple’s mission is “to bring the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services.” And in a manifesto dated 2019 Tim Cook set the vision specified as “We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing.”

Netflix Mission Statement

Netflix’s core mission, strategy, and vision are that of “improving its members’ experience by expanding the streaming content with a focus on a programming mix of content that delights members and attracts new members.”

Coca-Cola Mission Statement

Coca-Cola’s Purpose is to “refresh the world. make a difference.” Its vision and mission are to “craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit. And done in ways that create a more sustainable business and better-shared future that makes a difference in people’s lives, communities, and our planet.”

Starbucks Mission Statement

Starbucks highlights its mission as “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” And its vision is to “treat people like family, and they will be loyal and give their all.”

Microsoft Mission Statement

Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. With over $110 billion in revenues in 2018, Office Products and Windows are still the main products. Yet the company also operates in Gaming (Xbox), Search Advertising (Bing), Hardware, LinkedIn, Cloud, and more.

Walmart Mission Statement

Walmart’smission can be summarized as “helping people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores and through eCommerce.” While its vision is to “make every day easier for busy families.” Walmart defines “busy families” as the bull’s eye of its business strategy.

Nike Mission Statement

Nike vision is “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” While its mission statement is to “do everything possible to expand human potential. We do that by creating groundbreaking sport innovations, by making our products more sustainably, by building a creative and diverse global team and by making a positive impact in communities where we live and work.”

Google Mission Statement

Google mission statement is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Its vision statement is to “provide an important service to the world-instantly delivering relevant information on virtually any topic.” In 2019, Sundar Pichai emphasized a renewed mission to allow people “to get things done!”

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