An organization’s vision, mission, and values are widely considered to be its foundation. They are sometimes referred to as a corporate or organizational culture. In this respect, Džupina (2017) mentions that despite the difficulty to establish the direct link between these statements and company performance, the former mediates a business’s ability to create value for its stakeholders. They help make the work meaningful, strengthen the belief in the importance of organizational activities, and inspire and motivate employees (Džupina, 2017). Additionally, the company’s vision, mission, and values serve as a basis that guides decision-making (Džupina, 2017). Therefore, numerous leaders of big, small, or medium-sized companies put significant efforts into cultivating a strong corporate culture.
Home Depot is one of the few organizations that could preserve its culture since the company’s foundation. Moreover, the business’s managers have always been able to ensure high levels of alignment with the corporate values among The Home Depot’s employees. As a result, the organization’s success both in corporate culture and financial performance inspired many businessmen and managers to seek to adapt or copy ‘The Home Depot’s way.’ In this regard, this paper intends to analyze the company’s mission, vision, and values in more detail to understand what determined the U.S.’s largest home improvement business success.
Home Depot has eight core values that navigate its activities and decisions. The central one among them is the idea of being aware of and responding to the needs of all the company’s stakeholders or “taking care of our people” (The Home Depot, n.d.a). However, the inverted pyramid principle that is crucial for understanding the corporate culture emphasizes the importance of valuing those who originally have the least power to affect decisions in the organization the most. Thus, The Home Depot’s utmost priority is taking care of its customers, then – associates, low-level managers, top-level leaders, and shareholders accordingly, with the CEO being at the bottom of the pyramid (The Home Depot, n.d.a). The other seven values serve as the extension of the core value. They are: “respect for all people,” “giving back,” “building strong relationships,” “doing the right thing,” “excellent customer service,” “creating shareholder value,” and “entrepreneurial spirit” (The Home Depot, n.d.b). Therefore, it can be concluded that the company considers all the people involved in The Home Depot’s activities as its biggest asset.
As mentioned above, The Home Depot is one of the few companies that did not change its culture significantly since the organization’s foundation, including its core value. As such, it was developed in 1978 by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank when they were planning the opening of the first store (Marcus et al., 2019). This view was such successful among workers that although there were top-down attempts to introduce some changes in the value structure at the beginning of the 2000s, they all failed.
Thus, it seems not surprising that organizational values align with the behavior of most of The Home Depot’s employees, and intentional deviations from these norms are quite rare. Sometimes, however, there may be some misalignment between values and actual behavior due to mistakes. For instance, recently, during the implementation of a project that sought to reduce the number of products that are not placed on the appropriate shelves, I witnessed that the managers failed to fulfill these values. The main problem was the communication between leaders and workers, which led to some short-term resistance to the change. Nevertheless, due to the common practice of reflecting on one’s mistakes after the end of projects, such issues are usually properly addressed. Considering all that, it is difficult to suggest how the company can improve its values statement formulation or implementation.
The business’s vision is the second important aspect that constitutes the culture. As such, vision is defined as “long-term goals that determine where the organization would eventually like to be in the competitive landscape” (Bowen, 2019, p. 1). Similar to The Home Depot’s core value, the organization’s vision was first formulated by its founders before opening the first store. Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank sought to create “one-stop shopping for the do-it-yourselfer” (Marcus et al., 2019; The Home Depot, n.d.a). Originally it meant creating a single space where customers could purchase all the home improvement tools and appliances they needed. However, nowadays, the organization’s top managers embrace e-commerce and seek to create an integrated offline-online experience that perfectly aligns with the traditional vision but under current circumstances.
From my personal experience, I can claim that most of The Home Depot’s employees are aware of the company’s vision as managers constantly seek to remind the workers what is the organizational culture and purpose. For instance, the internally issued corporate journal often mentions how the company today works towards realizing the dreams of the founders. Nevertheless, as I noticed, not a lot of people can embrace the vision because doing so would require creativity even though generally, the managers promote the worker’s active involvement. Moreover, the mission is formulated in a manner that assumes that the people who can work towards the vision should have authority in the organization. Therefore, it is fair to conclude that the vision statement is mostly suitable for top managers who have the power to make significant changes. For this reason, I would recommend that the company develops a list of recommendations explaining how frontline employees can make small changes to fulfill the greater vision.
The mission statement is the final major element that determines the overall corporate culture. It can be defined as” the pursuit of a goal that is unique to an organization’s competitive advantage” (Bowen, 2019, p. 3). Moreover, Bowen (2019) states that to be effective, the business’s mission should be more specific than the vision and align with the values. As for The Home Depot, its mission is to provide the best customer service and a wide variety of home improvement tools and appliances at the lowest price possible (Alshameri & Green, 2020). Such an approach aligns both with the company’s vision as well as its values. For instance, a one-stop shopping experience is only possible when the company can offer most of the goods that people need for home improvement purposes. Similarly, competitive prices ensure that people would prefer shopping in The Home Depot and only there because it is cheaper than in other places.
These two statements are highly compatible, but, what is more important, they complement each other. Indeed, while the business’s vision is the ideal state that the company desires to achieve, which drives the long-term strategy, the mission guides short- and medium-term decisions (Bowen, 2019). Therefore, both mission and vision are crucial for unfolding the organizational purpose, ensuring that everyday decisions align with the long-term goals and vice versa.
In a similar vein, The Home Depot’s mission and vision partly align with the organization’s values. As such, the desire to provide a one-stop shopping experience and good service and offer a wide variety of products at the best prices benefits the customers who are at the top of the inverted pyramid. However, at the same time, the mission and vision fail to recognize the interests of other stakeholders such as associates, shareholders, and the community in general.
The Role of Organizational Structure
Finally, it is crucial to mention the importance of organizational structure in promoting a company’s culture. The former determines how responsibilities and decision-making are divided between various organizational levels (Fauzi et al., 2021). In this respect, The Home Depot combines both top-down and bottom-up approaches. In other words, while some initiatives are proposed by the top managers, others appear as the result of frontline workers’ efforts. Such a combination is believed to be quite effective, according to previous research (Mazon et al., 2020). Moreover, it aligns with the corporate culture as all the people can present their viewpoints and influence the company’s actions. On the one hand, such an approach aligns with the organizational values, and, on the other hand, it ensures that all the stakeholders are involved in mission and vision fulfillment.
However, as a frontline employee myself, I still consider that there are significantly more top-down decisions in The Home Depot. Although, as mentioned before, the company promotes bottom-up decisions, I think the workers need additional training to know how to be innovative and creative. In this regard, previous research suggests that managerial coaching leads to significant improvements in employee empowerment (Jepsen & Dehlholm, 2020). Consequently, such an initiative would better align the existing decision-making practices and the organization’s mission, vision, and values.
Overall, the current paper discusses The Home Depot’s mission, vision, and values in detail. The analysis revealed that the organization has one of the strongest corporate cultures mainly due to the inverted pyramid principle and the desire to take care of all the company stakeholders’ interests. Moreover, it was found that vision, mission, and value statements complement each other. Lastly, it was argued that the organizational structure of Home Depot supports its corporate culture.
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Fauzi, T., Santosa, P., Purwanti, Y., & Nurhayati, N. I. D. N. (2021). The effect of internal elements of strategic management of organizational structure, management role and employee behavior on corporate mission. Management Science Letters, 11(4), 1189-1196. Web.
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The Home Depot. (n.d.a). Built from all the right materials.
The Home Depot. (n.d.b). Our values.