Visions polarise the organisational theoretician. Some see them as indispensable, others condemn them. Mostly visions are treated as ‘major objectives’: a vision of the future which unites everyone, which joins all forces, which focuses all resources to one purpose, which welds together all expectations of success and provides the organisation with robustness during difficulties and with an attractive identity. Thus, visions stand at a certain distance from the situational pragmatism which takes care of problems that every new day brings (see Helmut Schmidt with his bon mot, “Those with visions should visit a doctor!”).
If you reduce the definition of the functions outlined above and limit it to one function, i.e. that there are objectives which particularly motivate the members of an organisation, then it is sensible to use this definition. Thus it can highlight intentions which, in the internal as well as the external communication of an organisation, make their appeal more likely. From a member’s perspective it can be very appealing to participate in a great innovation, to be a part of something unusual or simply to be able to ‘show off’. From the perspective of the organisational environment, a vision can bring recognition, differentiation and with it, therefore, it can attract attention. This ensures media interest, increases the market value, etc.
Visions, in this narrow sense of the term, then appear like an instrument, which, in certain situations in the guiding processes networking, personnel, handling the past and handling the future, generate an enormous increase in possibilities.