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Rhetoric of Federal Mission Statements: Power, Values, and Audience

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Date Issued:
2008
Summary:
Mission statements are an important part of the strategic planning process. In the federal government they are required for cabinet departments. Research about publicsector mission statements has been limited, compared to research on private-sector mission statements. Mission statements are important as artifacts of organizational culture. They introduce and reinforce important organizational values and can be part of a system of control. Within organizational culture and as part of a system of control, mission statements may play a role in creating and maintaining certain power relationships. In this research I examine manifestations of organizational culture and power in cabinet-level federal agencies as expressed in the content and rhetoric of their mission statements. The research presented here examines the mission statements of federal departments and their affiliated agencies and offices. It seeks to identify the importance of mission statements outside of their role in the strategic planning process. The methodology used is Ethnographic Content Analysis (ECA). ECA allows for numerical and descriptive data. Numerically, the researcher creates and counts occurrences of relevant categories of analysis and then uses examples as descriptors. This dissertation describes the content of mission statements and compares it to features other researchers have identified as important for mission statements. In general, the federal mission statements studied here do not include many of the elements that previous research has identified as important for mission statements. Second, the research examines the presence in mission statements of values in general and, in particular, two specific groups of values: New Public Management and Democratic Constitutional values. Both types of values are found in federal mission statements, and the research shows that authors of mission statements are making a choice between the New Public and Democratic Constitutional sets of values. Next, this research looks for evidence of statements of power that are included within the mission statements. Borrowing French and Raven's five bases of interpersonal power for its rubric, this research finds evidence of all five bases of power in these organizational mission statements. Finally, this research looks for the intended audiences of the mission statements and finds that it is often unclear.
Title: Rhetoric of Federal Mission Statements: Power, Values, and Audience.
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Name(s): Donohue, John J.
Patterson, Patricia M., Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2008
Date Issued: 2008
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 149 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: Mission statements are an important part of the strategic planning process. In the federal government they are required for cabinet departments. Research about publicsector mission statements has been limited, compared to research on private-sector mission statements. Mission statements are important as artifacts of organizational culture. They introduce and reinforce important organizational values and can be part of a system of control. Within organizational culture and as part of a system of control, mission statements may play a role in creating and maintaining certain power relationships. In this research I examine manifestations of organizational culture and power in cabinet-level federal agencies as expressed in the content and rhetoric of their mission statements. The research presented here examines the mission statements of federal departments and their affiliated agencies and offices. It seeks to identify the importance of mission statements outside of their role in the strategic planning process. The methodology used is Ethnographic Content Analysis (ECA). ECA allows for numerical and descriptive data. Numerically, the researcher creates and counts occurrences of relevant categories of analysis and then uses examples as descriptors. This dissertation describes the content of mission statements and compares it to features other researchers have identified as important for mission statements. In general, the federal mission statements studied here do not include many of the elements that previous research has identified as important for mission statements. Second, the research examines the presence in mission statements of values in general and, in particular, two specific groups of values: New Public Management and Democratic Constitutional values. Both types of values are found in federal mission statements, and the research shows that authors of mission statements are making a choice between the New Public and Democratic Constitutional sets of values. Next, this research looks for evidence of statements of power that are included within the mission statements. Borrowing French and Raven's five bases of interpersonal power for its rubric, this research finds evidence of all five bases of power in these organizational mission statements. Finally, this research looks for the intended audiences of the mission statements and finds that it is often unclear.
Identifier: FA00000606 (IID)
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2008.
College for Design and Social Inquiry
Subject(s): Mission statements
Strategic planning--United States--21st century
Benchmarking (Management)
Organizational effectiveness
Corporate culture
Administrative agencies--United States--Planning
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library
Sublocation: Boca Raton, Fla.
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00000606
Sublocation: Digital Library
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.