Case Study 3-1: Evaluating Vision Mission Statements at Harley-Davidson


            Known as a huge manufacturer of motorcycles, Harley-Davidson is an American company that has been around for many decades (SEC, 2012). As a brand, it became known for selling heavyweight motorcycles that are specifically designed for use on highways. Its motorcycle designs also made Harley-Davidson distinct from competitors. They are heavy in customization yet are reflective of classic motorcycle designs. There was a time when Harley-Davidson launched itself in the ‘light’ motorcycle market but it was only received with very limited success. Nevertheless, Harley-Davidson managed to sustain a large following for its motorcycles which account for its over forty million dollars’ worth of net revenue (SEC, 2012). In this paper, an evaluation on the strategic planning situation of the Harley-Davidson Inc will be conducted. More specifically, an assessment will be made on the vision and mission statements of Harley-Davidson. These statements will be assessed in relation to the organization’s attainment of performance objectives (Aquinis, 2009; Olsen, 2012).

  1. How many of the eight characteristics of an ideal mission are present in the Harley-Davidson’s mission statement?

Of the eight characteristics of an ideal mission statement, Harley-Davidson’s mission statement only has two: (1) the basic product services being offered by Harley-Davidson which is the motorcycles and other motorcycling-related products and services and (2) the primary markets or groups to be served which, based on the mission statement includes primarily the general public and the motorcyclists. It was noticeable that in the given mission statement of Harley-Davidson, the unique features, benefits and advantages of its products and services are not clearly indicated. Another missing element was the technology being used by the organization to produce and deliver its motorcycles. In addition, the fundamental concerns for survival through growth and profitability were not specifically emphasized. It was merely indicated in the statement that Harley-Davidson was simply providing its customers an expanding line of motorcycles but profit and growth concerns were not specifically tackled in the mission statement. Moreover, the managerial philosophy of the firm was lacking alongside with the public image being sought by the organization and the self-concept of business adopted by employees and stockholders.

  1. How many of the eight characteristics of an ideal vision are present in the Harley-Davidson’s vision statement?

Of the eight characteristics of an ideal mission statement, Harley-Davidson’s vision statement only has four and these are: (1) current- the organization’s mission statement is current as it is flexible enough to be updated on an ongoing basis, (2) focused- the given mission statement focuses on specific aspects of the organizational performance which are important to its future success and these are maintaining mutually beneficial relationship with stakeholders, empowerment of all employees and balancing the interests of all stakeholders, (3) understandable- the given mission statement made use of a clear and understandable language that may easily be understood by all employees and lastly (4) inspiring- the given mission statement at Harley-Davidson make them feel good about achieving the vision because it will ultimately serve them and other stakeholders of the organization.

  1. Given the purposes that a mission statement and a vision statement are ideally serving, please compare the mission and vision statement of Harley-Davidson based on whether these statements are achieving their respective objectives.

Given a direct comparison between the mission statement and the vision statement of Harley-Davidson, it may be asserted that the vision statement of the company is better than the mission statement because it is closer to being ideal based on the set characteristics of ideal vision-mission statements. Whereas the mission statement of Harley-Davidson only has two out of eight ideal characteristics of a mission statement, the vision statement of the same organization has four out of the eight ideal characteristics of a vision statement. This implies that there is a need to change or improve certain elements in the existing mission statement of the organization in order to serve its purpose. As for Harley-Davidson’s vision statement, more improvements are also needed as currently, some important elements which communicate the supposed ‘future aspirations’ of the organization are still missing. It is important to make these two statements (vision/mission) clear and effective as they are needed in understanding the overall purpose and goal of the entire organization including the management of organizational priorities and individual & team performance (Olsen, 2012).


            In conclusion, Harley-Davidson’s mission and vision statement are still needed to be improved. The mission statement of the said organization must be able to encapsulate all information to communicate the company’s reason for existence. The vision statement on the other hand must be clear and straightforward in communicating the future aspirations of the organization. These two elements are important to ensure that the overall priorities, goals, and strategies of Harley-Davidson are effectively aligned and integrated.



Aquinis, H. (2009). Performance management. Prentice Hall.

Olsen, E. (2012). Strategic planning kit for dummies. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

SEC. (2012). Harley-Davidson Inc. Securities and Exchange Commission.


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