Communicating Firms’ Vision across all Organizational Levels: Literature Review

Thesis (MA)

Advisor(s): Anna Keilbach (


Emerging digital technologies put forth digitized products with novel capabilities of being programmable, communicable, connectable, autonomous, and traceable (Novales et al., 2016; Porter & Heppelmann, 2014; Yoo et al., 2012) such as autonomous driving vehicles. Hence, there is a shift from manufacturing firms of mechanical products to service providers of digitized products. Consequently, pre-digital firms encounter difficulties in defining “who they are” which goes along with the alignment of their organizational vision - an important element comprising the core purpose of its business, mission, values, goals, and strategies (Filippi, 2019; Quigley, 1994). Moreover, a vision has the potential to set the desirable future in motion by inspiring employees to act (Nanus, 1992).

Given the complex and dynamic environment in which companies compete today, the need for constant innovation has never been greater, therefore, an organization 1) needs to find mechanisms to deal with the adjustment of its existing vision; and 2) needs to have employees that understand and are engaged with the vision. Therefore, the successful communication of the firm’s vision is fundamental. Thus, this research aims to investigate the ways for communicating an organizational vision across all organizational levels.

While extant literature provides management guidelines of how to express and execute visions (e.g., Westerman et al., 2013), little attention is paid on its communication across all organizational levels. Hereby, we can learn from literature on change communication. A systematic literature review helps to address this critical gap. The goal of this thesis is to structure extant knowledge; identify patterns such as existing communication types, change behaviors and factors; and uncover gaps.


  • Review relevant literature in the respective field
  • Cluster identified themes within the data
  • Identify patterns such as communication types, change behaviors and factors
  • Uncover research gaps
  • Derive a theoretical framework


  • High degree of autonomy and individual responsibility
  • Interest in research on organizational vision and communication
  • Experience in literature review beneficial

Further Information

The thesis can be written in English or German. The topic can also be adapted to your interests. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Please send your application including our application form, a current transcript of records, and your CV to Please note that we can only consider applications with complete documents. 


Filippi, A. (2019). Who am iX? Enhance and communicate IBM iX BeNeLux identity TU Delft].

Nanus, B. (1992). Visionary Leadership: Creating a Compelling Sense of Direction for Your Organization. ERIC.

Novales, A., Mocker, M., & Simonovich, D. (2016). IT-enriched “digitized" products: Building blocks and challenges. Twenty-second Americas Conference on Information Systems, San Diego.

Porter, M. E., & Heppelmann, J. E. (2014). How smart, connected products are transforming competition. Harvard Business Review, 92(11), 64-88.

Quigley, J. V. (1994). Vision: How leaders develop it, share it, and sustain it. Business Horizons, 37(5), 37-42.

Westerman, G., Welch, M., & Bonnet, D. (2013). "The Vision Thing": Developing a transformative dgital vision.

Yoo, Y., Boland Jr, R. J., Lyytinen, K., & Majchrzak, A. (2012). Organizing for innovation in the digitized world. Organization Science, 23(5), 1398-1408.