Purpose without action is a daydream, but
action without purpose is a nightmare. Anonymous
organization is formed to do or accomplish something. The vision will help to
define what it wants to become in the future, but there still remains the
underlying question of what the organization is actually for.
need to ask themselves for what reason they exist. For instance, is the job of a
prison to punish wrongdoers, reform them or protect the public? Do religious
groups see themselves as cultivating the spiritual side of people or getting
involved in changing society through involvement in politics and social
engineering? Should a broadcasting company chase ratings to provide a
vehicle for advertising and profit generation or cater for a wide variety of
tastes and interests with quality material?
The raison d’etre may be
altruistic - the National Trust’s ‘to preserve places of historic interest
or natural beauty’. Alternatively, it may
be the result of greed - an office syndicate’s ‘to win the national
lottery’. There may be conflicting views as to what the raison d'etre is - a village started a tennis
club as a way for residents to keep active and enjoy each other's company.
This irritated some individuals who joined later and wanted to win matches and get to the top of the local league!
Defining the raison d'etre:
The raison d'etre can
be refined as opportunities present themselves. Airlines are now looking at
getting involved with rail travel between major cities, such as London and Paris
- but does this conflict with their raison d'etre?
If this is to transport people by air - then yes. However, if they see
their raison d’etre as transporting people over medium to large distances -
then no it doesn't. Similarly, airport authorities are redefining their raison
d'etre from just managing airports, to managing the infrastructure required for
international travel. This will include the possibility of managing
international tunnels, such as Eurotunnel, shipping terminals and in the future,
perhaps space shuttle gateways.
raison d’etre of the organization should be explained in the annual report,
brochure or similar document. Although these often go into much detail
about the background of the senior executives, they often fail to explain
exactly what the underlying reason and purpose of the organization actually is!
When the raison d’etre is changed or modified, this should be explained
to the participants otherwise they could be
confused by the subsequent actions of the organization. >>>