How Values Affect Individual and Organisational Behaviour

Topics: Organization, Organizational studies, Management Pages: 5 (1492 words) Published: August 25, 2013
How values affect individual and organizational behaviour

Schwartz (1992) described values as desirable, trans-situational goals, changing in significance that serves as guiding principles in people’s lives. In simpler words, values evolve from circumstances with the outside world and can change over time. They are believed to have a significant influence on the behavioural and emotional of individuals (Rokeach, 1973), also on the organisational culture (O’Reilly & Chatman, 1996).

Values can be classified into two types, which are terminal values and instrumental values. Terminal values self-sufficient end-states of existence that an individual strives to attain such as wisdom. As instrumental values refers to mode of behaviour rather than states of existence. Both types of values vary among groups and individuals hence the occurrence of conflict and compatibility among value priorities (Nord, Brief, Atieh, & Doherty, 1988). For example, when individuals share the same value systems, they tend to perceive external stimuli in similar ways, however, there are also apparent differences because values affect perceptions and behaviour (Frederick & Weber, 1990). The variances in values can cause a number of undesirable outcomes in terms of failed projects, loss of good employees and soaring costs.

Allworth (1951) identified six types of values – theoretical, economic, aesthetic, social, political and last but not least, religious. People in different occupations tend to rank these six value types differently. This has resulted a few of the more gradually managed organisations to initiate efforts to enhance the value, for instance, job fit in order to increase employee performance and satisfaction (Mitchell & Oneal, 1994). Besides that, individuals learn through personal experience and exposure to behave in ways that are appropriate in their social environment (Meglino, Ravlin, & Adkins, 1992). These values are “initially taught and learned in isolation from other values in an absolute, all-or-none-manner” (Rokeach, 1973), which is placing qualifications on value-related behaviour such as honesty. The social environment also educates individuals whether they “should” or “ought” to act and show such behaviours at all times.

At the organisational level, shared values are perceived as a major determining factor of organisational culture. The values of the individual are in many ways similar in regard to their effect on the organisation. For example, if individuals fit well with an organisation, they are likely to interact in a highly efficient manner and more positive attitudes and behaviours will be shown in the workplace (Abbott, White, & Charles, 2005). Besides that, levels of organisational satisfactions and commitment will increase if employees possess high levels of congruence on the seven values that Peters and Waterman (1982) developed – superior quality and service, innovation, importance of people as individuals, importance of details of execution, communication, profit orientation, and goal accomplishment. In other words, these employees are less likely to leave the organisation voluntarily thus, lower turnover rate (Amos & Weathington, 2008). Also, the understanding of the character values can better recognise the employment environments they will be successful in.

Adkins, Ravlin, and Meglino (1996) reported that higher levels of satisfaction would occur when employees’ values match those of their co-workers. This means if employees feel that their supervisors’ values are comparable to their own values, they are most likely to be satisfied with their jobs (Meglino, Ravlin & Adkins, 1989). This is because persons with similar value systems also act in similar ways that enables them to better expect the behaviour of others. Therefore, they can coordinate their actions more efficiently. This simply explains that the similarities in values produce a social culture that helps...
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