Lade Inhalt...

How Values Affect Individual and Organizational Behavior

Essay 2013 8 Seiten

Psychologie - Arbeit, Betrieb, Organisation und Wirtschaft


Table of Contents



Importance of Values

Differences in Individual and Group Values

Differences in Values: Generational Workplace Values

Using Values to Direct Individual and Organisational Behaviour

Differences in Values: Using it to Manage and Motivate People




The evolutionary change in commonly used approaches to management, from scientific management to organisational behaviour, was necessitated when it became better known that people’s values and behaviour affect productivity in the workplace.

Behaviour, both individual and organisational, is influenced, and almost determined by numerous factors of both abstract and concrete nature; factors such as culture (American Anthropological Association, 2011) and perception (National Research Council of Canada [NRC], 1980).

This essay particularly aims to show how values affect and influence individual and organisational behaviour. Values are believed to have a substantial influence on the affective and behavioral responses of individuals (Locke, 1976). Therefore, the importance of values presents itself when an organisation’s management seeks to perform its functions of leading, controlling, planning, and organizing (Fayol, 1916/1930).

The essay shall follow a sequence of subtopics which all add up to the main point. The relevant concepts shall be defined, their importance shall be outlined, the differences in values will be given, and how to apply understanding of the differences in values will finally be expounded upon.


It would be appropriate, before any progress is made, to first define the terms organisational behaviour and values.

Organisational behaviour is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups and organisational structure have on behaviour within organisations, for the purpose of applying such knowledge towards improving organisational effectiveness (Robbins and Judge, 2012, p. 44). A simpler definition of organisational behaviour is given by Aquinas (2006, p. 3) as, “the systematic study of the actions and attitudes that people exhibit within organisations.” This means that the variation in the nature of individuals, causes them to behave in certain ways, and this behaviour affects an organisation.

Values can be said to be desirable, trans-situational goals, varying in importance, that serve as guiding principles in people’s lives (Schwartz, 1992, as cited in Abbot, White, and Charles, 2005). The reason why scholars and managers are interested in the concept of values is that, they have direct influence in individual and organisational behaviour (Rokeach, 1973, as cited in Abbot, White, and Charles, 2005), and they are a major component for both organisations and individuals (Vuuren, Veldkamp, De Jong, and Seydel, 2006).

There are different types of values, such as: personal values, shared values, organisational values, and cultural values. Although there are also terminal values and instrumental values (Rokeach, 1973), only personal (individual) values and organisational values are the topic of this essay.

Personal values exist within an individual, while organisational values are shared by people throughout an organisation (Robbins and Judge, 2012). The famous American Politician, Patrick Henry, once said, “Give me liberty, or give me death.” This is an example of a personal value he placed on liberty (Hughes, Ginnett, and Curphy, n.d.).

Importance of Values

Values also have a large impact on what individuals think of the organisation’s function (Versnel and koppenol, 2005). Values affect the way individuals approach a subject and tackle problems. For instance, if a person places high value on honesty, he or she tends to avoid giving a bribe in order to get a promotion. However, if another person places high value on reaching the highest position in the workplace, he or she is more likely to give a bribe for a promotion.

Because values influence individual behaviour, negative behaviour is also the result of negative values. Mitchell and Scott (1990) stated that increase in unethical business practices are usually attributed to change of values. This should show how important and relevant values are to an organisation. Physicians even claim that an individual’s values induces most of the problems she or he faces (Cunningham, 2001) Another importance of values is that, when aligned with organisational values, it increases organisational commitment of individuals (Baker, 2009).

Differences in Individual and Group Values

As suggested by Argandona (2002), it is possible to distinguish between individual and group values. An organisation houses a variety of values, nurtured by the individuals that make it up. The concept known as pluralism (Argandona, 2002), refers to the existence of different values within an organisation and among its members. Group values are made up of a collection of individual values, while individual values exist singularly within individuals.

Differences in Values: Generational Workplace Values

Values and are molded from factors such as religious beliefs, family and friends, life experiences, mindset, education, and socialisation (Robbins and Judge, 2012). It is exactly because of the differences in the factors that mold values that, there exist differences in values.

An example of differences in values is generational workplace values. Gentry, Griggs, Deal, Mondore, and Cox (2011) state that most organisations today employ individuals from all three generational groups. Therefore, one can imagine the care required to manage this mixture of values and align them with organisational values, without making any common values of a generation seem significantly less than the other.

The various generations are enumerated as follows: veterans are those people born between to 1922 to 1943; baby boomers are those born between 1943 and 1965; generation X are those born between 1968 and 1980; and millennials are those born in 1981 to 2002 (Cennamo & Gardner, 2008).

These generations have different common values. For instance, a 30-year period research carried out by Twenge, Campbell, Hoffman, and Lance (2010) assessed the value of each of the generations placed on a series of rewards grouped into five categories: intrinsic, leisure, extrinsic, social, and altruism. Some of the findings were that, the baby boomers valued work centrality most; the younger two generations valued extrinsic factors (such as status and pay) more than the older two; social (e.g. making friends) and intrinsic (e.g. interesting work) values were rated significantly lower than the baby boomers did.

Also, older generations have more respect for positional authority than younger generations (Hughes, Ginnett, and Curphy, n.d.).

Using Values to Direct Individual and Organisational Behaviour

Every organisation establishes a core set of values that directs individual and organisational behaviour (Lagan and Moran, 2005). Organisations with high performance align individual values with their organisational values (Lagan and Moran, 2005). Hence, when an individual’s values are aligned with organisational values, the individual’s behaviour will reflect the goals of the organisation (Murray, Poole, and Jones, 2006).

Having in mind that organisational values must link with individual values (Jaffe, 2001), managers can mold organisational behaviour by conditioning individual and organisational values to act in concord.

For instance, an organisation whose organisational value is good customer communication, would attempt to make its employees adopt behaviour that portrays good communication with customers. In order to do so, the employee has to have a value that is aligned with the organisational value.

A more practical example is that of the medical device developer, Medtronic. The company broadcasts, worldwide, stories of patients who have benefited from the products of the company (Johnson, 2005). This helps to shape employees’ values to better align to the organisational value of creating innovative products for medical use. As a result of molding employees’ values with this method, Medtronic has directed its employees to behave in the light of the company’s organisational values.

Differences in Values: Using it to Manage and Motivate People

For the sake of clarity, generational differences in values will be used to show how managers can manage and motivate people more effectively.

When a manager is successful with understanding the differences in generational values, he or she would be able to better align the organisational values with those generational values. This alignment conceives what is referred to as value congruence.

Value congruence refers to the state of congruence between an entity’s values and those another entity (Jung and Avolio, 2000). It can also be said to be the compatibility of work values between the focal person and the organisation (Edwards and Cable, 2009). Value congruence is purported to have positive effects on employee behaviour (Hoffman and Woehr, 2006).

Therefore, in order to manage people more effectively, managers need to focus on the degree to which the organisational values are congruent with the people’s values. For instance, research shows that socialisation in the workplace increases value congruence (Bao, Dolan, and Tzafrir, 2012). Managers must simultaneously avoid value incongruence, which is impliedly the incompatibility of values between two or more entities.

When value congruence is present between an employee and an organisation, promotion of communication within the organisation occurs (Erdogan & Bauer, 2005). In other words, the presence of value congruence makes employees more comfortable with openly sharing information with managers and coworkers, and consequently, more open to motivation by managers.

Research on value congruence has also indicated that shared values promote the development of trust in relationships (Lau, Liu, and Fu, 2007). Therefore, when a manager understands differences in values, and consequently aligns the organisational values to create value congruence, one of the results is the development of trust between the manager and employees. Once this trust is established, a manager finds it easier to manage people more effectively.

Bono and Judge (2003) mentioned that transformational leaders communicate a vision that highlights the way in which collective goals are in harmony with with employee values, causing employees to regard organisational values as their own and submit extra effort toward goals and accomplishments. One should note carefully that transformational leaders do not directly alter employees’ values, rather, they align employee values with organisational values so that employees view the organisational values as being in congruence with theirs (Klein and House, 1995).

The strategy used by transformational leaders is evinced by the aforementioned example of the medical device developer, Medtronic. By showing employees that their effort is indeed helping people, the employees’ values become congruent with organisational values, and they become motivated to work more effectively.

In conducting workshops on values, with more than 200 organisations, Jaffe and Scott (2001) found that these core values came up routinely: integrity, competence, teamwork, communication, autonomy, creativity, and personal growth. These are the common organisational values found among companies. Therefore, taking these different organisational and individual values into consideration when aligning them, managers can effectively create congruity and consequently, more effective management and motivation of employees.


In light of the information presented, it is apparent that values are indeed important in the study of organisational behaviour. Its relevance stems from its function of influencing individual and organisational behaviour, and through understanding it and its differences, managers are able to manage people and motivate them more effectively.

From the information presented, it is found that value congruence produces and promote communication and trust between managers and employees. It is also mentioned that socialisation in the workplace increases value congruence.

Also stated is that there are differences in generational values, and understanding these differences can help managers to manage people more effectively.


Abbot, G.N., White, F.A, & Charles, M.A (2005). Linking values and organisational commitment: A correlational and experimental investigation in two organisations. Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology, 78, 531-551.

Aquinas, P.G. (2006). Organisational behaviour (p. 3) . India: Excel Books.

Argandona, A. (2002). Fostering values in organisations. IESE Business School. Barcelona: Pearson.

Baker, T. (2009). The 8 values of highly productive companies: Creating wealth from a new employment relationship. Australia: Australian Academic Press.

Bao, Y., Dolan, S., & Tzafrir, S.S. (2012). Value congruence in organisations: Literature review, theoretical perspectives, and future directions. ESADE Working Papers Series. Retrieved from

Bono, J. E., & Judge, T.A. (2003). Self-concordance at work: Toward understanding the motivational effects of transformational leaders. Academy of Management Journal, 46, 554–571.

Cennamo, L. & Gardner, D. (2008). Generational differences in work values, outcomes and person-organisation values fit. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23, 891-906.

Cunningham, B. (2001). Researching organisational values and beliefs: The echo approach. USA: Greenwood publishing Group.

Edwards, J. R., & Cable, D. M. (2009). The value of value congruence. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(3), 654-677.

Erdogan, B., & Bauer, T. N. (2005). Enhancing career benefits of employee proactive personality: The role of fit with jobs and organisations. Personnel Psychology, 58, 859–891.

Fayol, H. (1930). Industrial and general administration. (Coubrough, J.A., Trans.). London: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons. (Original work published 1916).

Grobler, S. (n.d.). The future of organisations and organisational behaviour. University of Pretoria. Retrieved from,%20S_The%20Future%20of%20OB.pdf

Hoffman, B. J., & Woehr, D. J. (2006). A quantitative review of the relationship between person-organisation fit and behavioral outcomes. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 68(3), 389-399.

Hughes, R.L., Ginnett, R.C., Curphy, G.J. (n.d.). Ethics and values. McGraw Hill Answers. Retrieved from

Jaffe, T.D., & Scott, D.C. (2001). How to link personal values with team values. American Society for Training and Development. Retrieved from

Johnson, K.L. (2005, September 19). Rethinking company loyalty. Havard Business School. Retrieved from

Jung, D. I., & Avolio, B. J. (2000). Opening the black box: An experimental investigation of the mediating effects of trust and value congruence on transformational and transactional leadership. Journal of Organisational Behavior, 21, 949–964.

Klein, K. J., & House, R. J. (1995). On fire: Charismatic leadership and levels of analysis. Leadership Quarterly, 6, 183–198.

Lagan, A., & Moran, B. (2005). Three dimensional ethics. Australia: EContent Management.

Lau, D., Liu, J., & Fu, P. (2007). Feeling trusted by business leaders in China: Antecedents and the mediating role of value congruence. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 24, 321–340.

Locke, E. A. (1976). The nature and consequences of job satisfaction. In M. D. Dunnette (Ed.), Handbook of industrial and organisational psychology (pp. 1297-1349). Chicago, USA: Rand McNally.

Mitchell, T. R., & Scott, W. G. (1990). America's problems and needed reforms: Confronting the ethic of personal advantage. Academy of Management Executive, 4, 23-35.

Murray, P., Poole, D., Jones, G. (2006). Contemporary issues in management and organisational behaviour. Australia: Cengage Learning.

National Research Council of Canada. (1980). Research in human behaviour. Canada: Author.

Provincial Government of West Cape, (2009). Modernisation programme: Organisational culture and values. Provincial Government of West Cape. Retrieved from

Rokeach, M. (1973). The nature of human values. Michigan, USA: Free Press.

Twenge, J., Campbell, S., Hoffman, B., & Lance, C. (2010). Generational differences in work values: Leisure and extrinsic values increasing, social and intrinsic values decreasing. Journal of Management, 36, 1117-1142.

Verplanken, B., & Holland, R. W. (2002). Motivated decision making: Effects of activation and self-centrality of values on choices and behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 434-447.

Versnel, H., & Koppenol, H. (2005). The values matrix. USA: Pearson Education.

Vuuren, V.M., Veldkamp, B.P., De Jong, M.D.T., & Seydel, E.R. (2006). Why work? Aligning foci and dimensions for commitment along the axes of the competing values framework. Personal Review, 7(1), 47-65.


427 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Monash University, South Africa Campus
Values and Organisational Behaviour personal values



Titel: How Values Affect Individual and Organizational Behavior