Personal and organizational values Essay

Personal and organizational values Essay.

What are personal and organizational values?

Values are one of the most special achievements as human beings. A person acts not just in service to personal needs, but also out of a broader sense of what is important, purposeful and meaningful (Cynthia D. Scott, 1993). Values are the building blocks of organizational culture. They represent an organization’s basic guidelines about what is significant; how business is conducted; how people relate to one another; its clients and customers relationships; and its decision making strategies.

Values affect every aspect of the organization, and take years, constant attention, and perseverance to change. Values serve to inspire and foster commitment, motivation, innovation and trust around principles of conduct that are held inviolate.

They reflect intentions and provide guidance for every action when there is a gap between intentions and reality. When actions do not comply with stated intentions, the gap becomes a source of cynicism and loss of confidence and momentum toward change and innovation.

Values are represented in decision making processes, interpersonal interactions, leadership actions, reward structures, supervisory styles, and information and control systems. Each plays a role in sustaining the structure of a value, and each serves as a lever of change. To stimulate an organization toward change, we must minimize or fill the gap between the stated values and value actions (Rodney Napier, 1997).

Conflict between personal and organizational values and goals

How do organizational and personal goals differ? Organizational goals are carefully and logically determined. Frequently, this must be discussed with other people in order to define them exactly. An organizational goal is one that we understand and commit to intellectuality. A personal goal, on the other hand, is a private and often purely emotional commitment (Merrill E. Douglass, 1993). Value conflicts arise when people are working in a situation where there is a conflict between personal and organizational values. Under these conditions, employee may have to struggle with the conflict between what they want to do and what they have to do (Diane F. Halpem, 2005).

This can be a distracting experience as you face changes, contrasts and a few surprises, and have to make some sense of all this (Henry Tosi, 2000). For example, people whose personal values dictate that it is wrong to lie may find themselves in a job where lying becomes necessary for success. Successful job performance may require a bold lie, or perhaps just a shading of the truth.

People who experience such a value conflict will give the following kinds of comments: “This job is eroding my soul,” or “I cannot look at myself in the mirror anymore knowing what I’m doing. I can’t live with myself. I don’t like this.” If workers are experiencing this kind of mismatch in values on a chronic basis, the burnout is likely to arise. However, a Machiavellian individual, who believes that the end justifies the means, will have a better fit with a job in which lying is essential to success and will probably not experience value conflict and many other situations (Diane F. Halpem, 2005).

Value-driven management

Value-driven philosophy is designed to develop effective and value-driven leadership at every level in the organization. The decision making and leadership styles of effective business leaders are value-driven men and women who create value for their organizations that goes far beyond mere stockholder value. This is not to suggest that they should disregard profitability as an important corporate goal, but it is instead to state that the financial bottom line—as a value—is integrated with other value drivers in their leadership behavior. Value Driven Management and value driven leadership are interactive and synergistic.

Value-driven organizations will tend to develop value-driven leaders, and value driven leaders will create value over time for their organization and their organizations are becoming more valuable and fulfilled, and continue to grow and thrive throughout their lifetimes. This view is especially significant in today’s growing force of high employment, knowledgeable workers, and the concept of measuring and managing organizational knowledge as intangible financial assets.

There are 8 value drivers that impact organizational and individual decision making. These value drivers are to some degree interrelated and overlapping, but in total, they encompass the universe of the organization, combining the internal and external variables it must confront throughout its existence:  external cultural values, organizational cultural values, individual employee values, customer values, supplier values, third-party values, owner values and competitor values. When these value drivers are used systematically and properly in the company’s decision processes, and when their individual and collective impact is weighed and balanced, in organizational decision making, the firm will create value for –itself over time—particularly in the long run (Randolph A. Pohlman, 2000).

Collegial vs. meritocratic structure of value

Better fit between individuals’ and organizations’ values predicted higher levels of satisfaction and commitment and lower turnover. Leadership organizations have a tough, but not, harsh, view of change. They focus on accountability for actions and give some emphasis to the discussions of goals and means. Although these organizations are still basically compliance-oriented, their documents portray the change process less impersonally and more persuasively, seeking to encourage employees to comply with the requirements rather than simply expecting it. In the meritocratic value structure, this appears to be a much greater emphasis on motivating employees to play a constructive role in change.

This emphasis involves explaining both the goals of change and the means for bringing it about. Meritocratic structures can be characterized as trying to challenge or energize employees. Change, although difficult, is associated with achieving important goals, and the organization signals that people’s efforts and achievements are recognized and appreciated.

This is characterized by themes of striving, effort, goals, achievement, motivation and recognition. Only collegial organizations view change in a positive way and emphasize employee participation. Collegial ones do not challenge their employees to achieve organizational goals; instead, they emphasize the benefits change brings to internal and external stakeholders and depict an enthusiastic, responsive orientation to change (Boris Kabanoff, 1995).

Entrepreneurial vs. bureaucratic values (differences in social origins, including gender and cognitive ability)

Differences in social origins, such as gender and cognitive skills create different sets of belief concerning the qualities of a good job. According to Miller and Swanson theory (1958), the theory identifies two major value systems—the entrepreneurial and bureaucratic. These values are oftentimes merged, and thus form beliefs about the desirable attributes of jobs, by comparing expected returns against expected risks in the search of opportunities for future economic wellbeing.

Some people may embrace either of the entrepreneurial or bureaucratic orientation is determined mainly by entrepreneurial skills and attitudes towards risk, which in turn can be affected by family background, schooling, gender, and cognitive skills. The adult achievements are favored by early family and schooling forces, and the very same personal qualities that give in to advantages for achievement, also creates expressions of preference that favor entrepreneurial type over the bureaucratic job properties.

Cognitive ability and gender, being the most powerful sources of variation in job values, are followed by years of schooling. Parental education, occupational status, self-employment and income all geared towards entrepreneurial over bureaucratic job properties. Significant other’s influence, educational aspirations and years of schooling, aside from favoring entrepreneurial over bureaucratic values, create a very strong preference for esteem over all other job properties and is significantly related  in the value system geared towards  achievements (Halaby, 2003).

Cultural values on problem solving, teams, gender, stress and ethics

National culture plays an important role and leads to differences in how problems are solved and in the quality of the solutions. Chinese employees are more likely to delay informing a manager about a problem until the manager sees the problem on his or her own. The employees are also likely to minimize the seriousness of the problem. In western cultures, managers are more likely to appreciate and give credit to an employee who draws attention to a problem, and therefore, problems are more rapidly identified and brought to the attention of management.

  The result is that Western managers are more likely to speak directly about the problem. In collectivist cultures, decision making is more likely to rely on consensus while managers from individualist rely more on their own experience and training when making decisions. It is also  found that Australians prefer a decision making style based on having a selection choices that require careful individual thought, whereas the Japanese prefers styles that require more references to other people. In Japan, individuals are likely to measure their personal success by the success of their team and organization (Siverthome, 2005).

Impact of technology

While technology has increased the ability to communicate, one might question whether it has increased or diminished the capacity to connect with co-workers in the workplace. It is through feeling this connection that we derive our sense of teamwork, community, attachment, and belonging—all essential aspects of what humans needs to feel: valued, respected and acknowledged. It is these core social and emotional elements that lubricate human beings and keep them going in times of difficulty, be it a personal, professional, or even a national crisis (Lewis, 2006).

Dealing with value conflicts

What can be done to alleviate burnout? One approach is to focus on the individual who is experiencing stress and help him or her to either reduce it or cope with it. Another approach is to focus on the workplace, rather than just the worker, and change the conditions that are causing the stress. The challenge for organization is to identify interventions that target those particular areas (Diane F. Halpem, 2005). What implications these have for managers?  Value configurations may motivate and support the organization’s coherence, strength, and stability. They also offer managers a framework for conceptualizing the nature and purpose of organizational change. One possible explanation for the high failure rate of company mergers and acquisition is “culture incompatibility” and “culture collisions.” (Boris Kabanoff, 1995)





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HALABY, C. N. (2003) Where Job Values Come From: Family and Schooling Background, Cognitive Ability, and Gender. American Sociological Review, 68.

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RANDOLPH A. POHLMAN, G. S. G. (2000) Value Driven Management: How to Create and Maximize Value Over Time for Organizational Success, AMACOM American Management Association.

RODNEY NAPIER, C. S., PATRICK SANAGHAN (1997) High Impact Tools and Activities for Strategic Planning: Creative Techniques for Facilitating Your Organization’s Planning Process, McGraw-Hill Professional.

SIVERTHOME, C. P. (2005) Organizational Psychology in Cross-cultural Perspective, NYU Press.

Personal and organizational values Essay