Comparison of the impact of formal and informal institutional influences with professional identity on performance outcomes in mission statement organizations : case study of a mission-driven company, Laerdal
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- Master Thesis 
Multinational enterprises have for decades tried to understand the variables that would maximise their organisational efficiency. When the question is addressed to a mission-driven company such as Laerdal, the key issue to be understood is: how does the mission statement add value to the organisation? Laerdal Medical, a Norwegian company based in Stavanger, has derived its success from its mission statement: ‘helping saves lives’. Laerdal’s collaboration with the research group FOCUS has allowed this thesis to research the impact of the mission statement on Laerdal’s sales representatives in Scandinavia and in the United States. The purpose of this thesis is to compare the impact of formal and informal institutional influences and of professional identity on performance outcomes such as identification with mission statement and commitment to the mission statement. After a theoretical review of the key concepts within these influences on performance outcomes, a qualitative approach tests their occurrence in Laerdal using interviews with sales representatives working in Scandinavia and in North America. The analysis of data answers five questions that link formal and informal institutional influences, talent management, professional identity and performance outcomes. The results of the study show that both cross-national distance and professional identity can be found, but that professional identity overrides culture divergences in the context of a mission-driven company. Firstly, the comparison between Scandinavia and the United States demonstrates that management performance and evaluation are influenced by their respective regions. However, cultural influences do not affect either the professional identity that characterises Laerdal’s sales representatives or the performance outcomes. Secondly, talent management cautiously selects and trains salespeople with a strong professional identity in alignment with the mission statement. This in turn leads to employees identifying with, and committing to, the mission statement. The thesis concludes with the suggestion that if an effective selection and onboarding process are in place, coupled with a meaningful mission statement, professional identity will cancel the cross-national distance that can arise in mission-driven companies such as Laerdal.