The Importance of Values in Understanding Organizational Behavior

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John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


This article discusses the significance of personal values in the understanding and management of organizational behavior. Values have been shown to be related to such practical concerns as decision making, motivation, selection, communications, managerial success, and organizational context differences. The purpose here is to describe why personal values are important, where and how such knowledge might be helpful to managers, and how values might be measured. Survey data for over 25 years from the Opinion Research Corp. indicate that there has been a major shift in the attitudes and values of the work force. The changes are characterized by increasing demands for, as well as tolerance of, self-expression, self-fulfillment, and personal growth. Another study of 141 subordinates and their direct supervisors indicated that values similarity significantly related to the supervisor's leadership style. Better understanding of the value profiles of employees, suggestively, has various policy implications for organizations. Knowing something about an individual's value system is recognized as a necessary prerequisite to designing effective organizational motivation systems.