Mastering the international mission statement: The effect of language and communication style in mission statements on the identification with corporate values.

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The purpose of the present study was to determine whether the language of a mission statement (either the L1 Dutch or the L2 English of the reader) and the communication style of the statement (masculine or feminine) would influence the reader’s identification with the values of the company. The research questions were ‘what is the effect of the language of the mission statement on identification’, ‘what was the effect of the communication style of the mission statement on the identification’, and ‘was there an interaction between communication style and language of the mission statement that influenced identification’. A study was conducted involving 150 participants. They were separated into four groups and presented with either a feminine Dutch, masculine Dutch, feminine English, or masculine English mission statement. The participants were then asked to answer questions regarding their identification with the company that was the subject of the mission statements. Findings revealed there was no significant difference in identification between participants who were presented with either of the four mission statements. A limitation of the current study was that it focussed on a fictional organisation. Were the participants presented a mission statement of the company they worked for, they might have been more invested in the values of the organisation. Another limitation was the fact that the present study only focussed on the masculinity/femininity dimension presented by Hofstede (1983), who in his work also included other cultural dimensions, which were not taken into account in the present study. Future research could focus on mission statements of a real company and present this to current employees, or future research could also take into account other cultural dimensions when executing the study.
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