Every organization and firm should identify an inspiring vision, a briefly mission as well as several specific values and objectives. They would help the firms operate fluently and gradually develop. Established in the late 19th century, Unilever now becomes one of the biggest household goods manufacturers in the world and Unilever also create its own mission statement, values and objectives. 1. Mission: According to Mintzberg, 2004 (in BPP Professional education, 2004, p. 27), "mission describes the organization's basic function in society; in terms of the products and services it produces for its clients".
An ideal mission statement should meet the standard of brevity, flexibility and distinctiveness and also answer the question "Why does the organization exist? ". There is some confusion about the different between vision and mission of an organization. In fact, a mission statement focuses on a company's present state while a vision statement focuses on a company's future. The mission statement of Unilever is "To add vitality to life. We meet everyday needs for nutrition; hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life".
With this concise statement, Unilever expresses the desire to take care of every single household by providing hundreds of products divided into three broad product categories: Foods, House Care, and Personal Care. Customers must have been accustomed to brands such as Lipton, Knorr, Sunlight, Omo, Pond's, Sunsilk, and so on. Millions of people around the world use these products everyday as their daily necessaries. People find it easy to understand and remember the mission of Unilever because the statement is very brief and all the words are simple.
This mission statement is also flexible, expressing the idea in general but not trite and hollow. The consumer trends shape the way Unilever works and the products it makes. The statement is like a promise from Unilever to "meet everyday needs" of every single person. Vitality is spirit of every business activities of Unilever. This makes Unilever stand out from other household goods manufacturers. Determining such an ambitious mission, Unilever has to try the best in order not only to build up the brand but also to compete with other business rivals. 2. Values:
Values of a company are the goals or aims of the organization will have an ideology based on beliefs, values and attitudes (BPP Professional Education, 2004, p. 26). They reflect the operations, code of behavior, the management of people and the dealings with other organizations of the company. Unilever has set its value as "We aim to be a trusted corporate citizen wherever we operate in the world, respected for the values and standards by which we behave". This is the principle that governs the way Unilever does it business. This company aims to win the trust of customers and they have done it.
The proof is that the products of Unilever are now widely used by millions customers from more than 170 countries. Unilever's value is very clear that easily effects the thoughts and actions of employees. The values are expressed in the Corporate Purpose. Unilever defines the essence of the company would contribute to its long term success which requires "the highest standards of corporate behavior towards everyone we work with, the communities we touch and the environment on which we have an impact" (http://www. unilever. com/sustainability/strategy/values/).
The Code of Business Principles sets the standards within which the company works and it is regularly reviewed to ensure that it catches up with the needs of today's business environment. Business Partner Code focuses on safety at work, labor standards and the environment while Sustainable Agriculture Code shows the interaction among economic growth, environmental preservation and social development. These values push all the employees to dedicate all their effort for the development of the company. Unilever has applied its values step by step to achieve their mission.
Objectives are the aims to be achieved and the desired end results (BPP Professional Education, p. 26, 2004). To be simple, objectives are specific goals. While goals are general and not quantified, objectives are specified with quantities and used as standard for measuring the performance of the organizations. Unilever has planned several objectives, three of which are mentioned below. Objective 1: "to achieve the accumulated budget of over VND 200 billion from 2004 to 2009" In this objective, Unilever specify the expected amount of accumulated budget of over VND 200 billion. There are more and more people choosing Unilever's products.
This means that the profit of this company is rising continuously. The accumulated budget is supposed to increase so it is not difficult for Unilever to achieve VND 200 billion in five-year period, from 2004 to 2009. In conclusion, the first objective of Unilever meets the standard of SMART. Objective 2: "Reach 40% vesting of shares from 2007 to 2009" The specific percentage of vesting of shares that Unilever estimated to obtain is 40%. Unilever can achieve it easily because the profit of Unilever is soaring annually. This means the dividend income of shareholders also increases.
Therefore, this objective is attainable and results-orientated. Unilever also set the time-bounded so this objective satisfies all criterions in SMART. Objective 3: "Operating margin of over 15% by 2010 after normal restructuring" According to the annual report 2009, Unilever targets to raise the operating margin over 15% by 2010. This objective is very specific and measurable because it shows the exact percentage (15%) that the company expects to achieve. Unilever would find it easy to attain this objective, especially in Vietnam's market thanks to the significant rise in population and economy every year and.
Therefore, this objective is also achievable and realistic with the planned time-bounded 2010. 4. The influence of stakeholders: Stakeholders in an organization have very different degrees of power and "potential" to contribute, or "importance", to achieving an objective (BPP Professional Education, 2004, p. 42). They are divided into three groups, including internal stakeholders, connected stakeholders and external stakeholders. The influence of them on the organization is not the same, based on the different interests/ aspiration and power of each stakeholder.
Stakeholders mapping is used to identify the impact of stakeholders. In order to fulfill this map, the following questions should be answered: "Who are they? ", "What do they want and what will they accept? ", "How satisfied are they? ", "How much power do they possess? ", "What sort of power do they possess? ", "How compatible are their interests? " and "What conflicts exist? ". As can be seen from the table above, there are four levels in which the stakeholders influence on the company, named as key player, keep satisfied, keep informed and minimal effort.
When it comes to the internal stakeholders, both management and employee are key players. In Unilever and almost every other organization, the management is the most powerful people who take control and responsibility of the organization. Additionally, it is them who decide the strategies of the company so they have high aspirations with the activities of the firm. Although employees do not have much power as the management, they are still deeply involved in the operation of the organization. They do not make the strategies but they are the people who perform and make the mission of the firm come true.
For example, Unilever's management sets up a plan and asks their employees to follow. They will have high interest in what their employees are doing to assess their work. On the other hand, the obligation of the employees is to obey what is planned by the management. Therefore, they will have a strong desire to complete their work to be deserved with the payment and reward. Moreover, employees directly perform the operation so their influence is very high. In terms of connected stakeholders, shareholders and customers are considered to be the key players.
While the shareholders have no power in running the business or making any strategy for the organization, they still have high influence and interest in the operation. They invest the money in the company so they are desire to know whether their money make profit or not. Shareholders are also the people who make the decision of how much money would be invested in the firm. Therefore, the influence of these people is not low. Customers are regarded as key players because they have the highest interest in the quality of the products which they choose.
Nowadays, apart from Unilever, there are a lot of household goods manufacturers such as P&G and Nestle. Unilever has to produce their products with high quality in order to keep their old customers as well as attract the new ones. It is the customers who decide the success of a business. The organization should consider every feedback, suggestion or even complaints of the customers because they would help the company operate better. The external stakeholders consist of central government and local authorities. While the central government is considered as "keep satisfied", local authorities are regarded as "keep informed".
Unilever is an MNC so it is very important to satisfy the policies of every host countries. The central government decides which law and tax rate would be applied on the organization. Hence, the influence of central government is high but the success of the company is not what they care about. On the contrary, local authorities are interested to that Unilever will create more jobs for their citizen, therefore the unemployment rate will be reduced and the living standard of the neighbor will be increased. However, they do not influence much on the operation of the company.