This article will help you to learn about the difference between goals, mission, and purpose.

Difference between Goals, Mission, and Purpose


Goals are the ends which the organisations strive to achieve. They are the reason for an organisation to exist. Organisations are formed to achieve some goal. Goals are framed for the entire organisation, for all departments and for every level in the organisational hierarchy.

While goals are the ends for every level, they are the means to achieve goals of the higher level. This forms an ends-means chain and together, these chains for all departments help to achieve the larger goals of the organisation.

While people are appointed to achieve organisational goals, (market share, industry leaders, increase in size etc.) they also have personal goals which they want to achieve at the work place (money, status, recognition, power etc.).


Though personal goals should be subordinate to organisational goals, this does not always happen. It, therefore, results in goals distortion. Managers should attempt to integrate organisational goals with individual goals so that both work in the interest of each other.


Mission is a specific term that explains why an organisation exists. It explains what an organisation can do for society. “A mission statement is a broad declaration of the basic, unique purpose and scope of operations that distinguishes the organisation from others of its type”.

The mission of educational institution may be to provide quality education to society. The mission of business organisation is to provide quality goods to society. Mission, thus, relates the organisation to society and links the activities of the organisation to needs of the society. It provides reason for an organisation to exist. It is thus, an externally focused concept that legitimizes the existence of organisation.


Purpose is also an externally focused concept that explains how an organisation can contribute to society. While mission explains what an organisation can do for society, purpose explains the how of it. It focuses on that segment of the society which it aims to serve in order to achieve its mission. It defines the activities that a business should undertake to achieve its mission. It is the object towards which one strives or for which something exists: an aim or a goal.


Mission provides foundation for the organisation to frame its objectives, policies, strategies etc. It is the starting point for an organisation to function. It specifies the activities that an organisation should perform for its survival.

The purpose of educational institution, for example, may be to provide quality education to women only. The purpose of business organisations may be to provide consumer goods and services to the society at the right time and right price.