Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

An exploration into the relationship between managers' personal values and their interpretation of their organisation's corporate values

By Humphrey Bourne

Abstract

The predominant assumption in the management literature is that corporate values are internalised into organisational members' personal value systems. Corporate values, viewed in this way, perform a controlling role in organisations, consistent with the characteristics of a deliberate strategy perspective. Theories concerning the nature of personal values challenge this assumption of corporate value internalisation. However, there is a lack of empirical research in the management field investigating the relationship between personal and corporate value systems. In this interpretive research study, I explore managers' interpretation of their organisation's corporate values, and relate these to their personal value priorities. Senior managers from three commercial companies took part in the study: one with no published corporate values statement; one with a recently introduced statement; and the third with a well established corporate values statement. I explore how managers interpret their organisation's corporate values through the description and meaning they give to value terms, and elicit their personal values by using an adaptation of the laddering technique, and by inferring values revealed in managers' narrative of their career histories. The findings show that managers feel they share their corporate values but interpret them in differing ways, both through those they identify as representing the corporate values, and through the meaning they give to value terms. The variation in interpretation is consistent with differences in their own personal value priorities, suggesting that managers adapt corporate values so that they more closely reflect their own. These findings challenge the notion that corporate values provide an effective means of normative control, and instead suggest they legitimise the worldview of individual managers, thus enabling differences to be accommodated within a broad framework of shared values. A model of value relationships is proposed, suggesting a way that corporate values may assist in bringing together deliberate and emergent strategy perspectives

Publisher: Cranfield University
Year: 2002
OAI identifier: oai:dspace.lib.cranfield.ac.uk:1826/3595
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (1990). 4 sense of mission,
  2. (1997). A causal analysis of means-end hierarchies: Implications in advertising strategies. In
  3. (1970). A concept of corporate planning, doi
  4. (1982). A means-end chain model based on consumer categorization processes. doi
  5. (2000). A rose by any name? The values construct. doi
  6. (1983). A spatial model of effectiveness criteria: Toward a competing values approach to organizational analysis. doi
  7. (1970). A study of values, 3rd Edition, doi
  8. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance, doi
  9. (1999). A theory of cultural values and some implications for work. doi
  10. (1989). A work values approach to corporate culture: A field test of the value congruence process and its relationship to individual outcomes. doi
  11. (1990). Adding meaning to values by directly assessing value-benefit relationships. doi
  12. (1979). An exploration of occupational role: An exercise in team development. doi
  13. (1998). Analysing and comparing idiographic causal maps. In
  14. (1988). Application of the meansend theoretic for understanding the cognitive bases of performance appraisal. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, doi
  15. (1993). Approaches to social enquify, Cambridge:
  16. (1994). Are there universal aspects in the structure and contents of human values? doi
  17. (1999). Basic individual values, work values, and the meaning of work. doi
  18. (1968). Beliefs, attitudes and values: A theory of organization and change, doi
  19. (1994). Beyond individualism / collectivism: New cultural dimensions of values. In
  20. (1999). Brand management through narrowing the gap between brand identity and brand reputation. doi
  21. (1990). Bridging the gap between values and actions: Recent applications of the expectancy-value model. In doi
  22. (1995). Brief encounters: Researching education policymaking in elite settings.
  23. (1994). Built to last: Successful habits of visionary companies, London: Century Collins, doi
  24. (1981). Business applications of repertory grid, doi
  25. (1995). Business values: A strategic imperative for the coming decades. In
  26. (1994). Case study research: Design and methods, 2nd Edition, Thousand Oaks, CA:
  27. (1992). Cognitive mapping and repertory grids for qualitative survey research: Some comparative observations. doi
  28. (1984). Cognitive style and political belief systems in the British House of Commons. doi
  29. (1990). Collaborative inquiry methodology,
  30. (1995). Collective centring and collective sense-making in the stories and storytelling of one organization. doi
  31. (1986). Communication, meaning, and organized action. doi
  32. (1999). Comparing corporate managers' personal values over three decades.
  33. (1996). Competing values in organizations: Contextual influences and structural consequences. doi
  34. (1993). Constructivist approaches to the measurement of meaning.
  35. (1991). Consumers' evaluative structures in two ethical situations: a means-end approach. doi
  36. (1992). Corporate culture and performance,
  37. (1982). Corporate cultures: The rites and rituals of corporate life, doi
  38. (2001). Corporate ideology - meanings and contradictions for middle managers. doi
  39. (2000). Corporate ideology and its influence on middle management. Unpublished doctoral thesis,
  40. (1997). Corporate strategy, London:
  41. (1965). Corporate strategy: Business policy for growth and expansion,
  42. (1987). Crafting strategy. doi
  43. (1985). Creative interviewing, doi
  44. (2002). Cultivating a global mindset. doi
  45. (1980). Culture's consequences: International differences in workrelated values, London: Sage Homant, doi
  46. (1992). Design and devotion: Surges of rational and normative ideologies of control in managerial discourse. doi
  47. (2000). Developing managers: The functional, the symbolic, the sacred and the profane. doi
  48. (1994). Differentiated fit and shared values: Alternatives for managing headquarters-subsidiary relations. doi
  49. (1995). Discursive psychology. In doi
  50. (1990). Distinguishing personal and social values. doi
  51. (1987). Effect of values on perception and decision-making: A study of alternative work values measures. doi
  52. (2001). Eliciting personal values of senior managers: A development of the laddering technique. Paper presented at Academy ofManagernent Conference,
  53. (1992). Engineering culture: Control and commitment in a high-tech corporation, doi
  54. (1995). Espoused values and organizational change themes. doi
  55. (1993). Ethnography in organizations, doi
  56. (1990). Evolving interpretations as a change unfolds: How managers construe key organizational events. doi
  57. (1988). Executive values. In
  58. (1988). Executives' perceptual filters: What they notice and how they make sense. In
  59. (1992). Exploring the need for a shared cognitive map. doi
  60. (1996). Extending means-end theory through an investigation of the consumer benefit/price sensitivity relationship in two markets. Unpublished doctoral thesis,
  61. (1984). Field research: An introduction to field research, doi
  62. (1973). Formalism in ethics and non formal ethics of values: A new attempt toward the foundation of an ethical personalism, doi
  63. (1998). From control to values-based management and accountability. doi
  64. (1981). From ethogeny to endogeny: How participants in research projects can end up doing research on their own awareness. In
  65. (1998). From individual to organizational identity. In doi
  66. (1986). Gender differences in work satisfaction, work-related rewards and values, and the determinants of work satisfaction. doi
  67. (1992). Getting value from shared values. doi
  68. (1989). Governing the soul: The shaping of the private self, doi
  69. (1996). Identity, image, and issue interpretation: Sensemaking during strategic change in academia. doi
  70. (1990). Image theory: Decision-making in personal and organizational contexts, doi
  71. (1986). Images of organization, doi
  72. (1982). In search of excellence, doi
  73. (1994). In search of management: Culture, chaos and control in managerial work, doi
  74. (1998). Individual values in organizations: Concepts, controversies, and research. doi
  75. (1986). Inquiring man: The psychology of personal constructs, 3rd edition, doi
  76. (1997). Interviewers' perceptions of personorganization fit and organization selection decisions. doi
  77. (1994). Judgements of fit in the selection process: The role of work value congruence. doi
  78. (1988). Laddering theory, method, analysis, and interpretation.
  79. (1984). Laddering: Extending the repertory grid methodology to construct attribute-consequence-value hierarchies. In
  80. (1957). Leadership in administration: A sociological interpretation, doi
  81. (1978). Leadership is a language game. In
  82. (1982). Leadership: The management of meaning. doi
  83. (1996). Managerial categorization of competitors: using old maps to navigate new environments. doi
  84. (1991). Managing culture as a competitive resource: An identitybased view of sustainable competitive advantage. doi
  85. (1994). Managing Culture,
  86. (1998). Managing identification. In
  87. (1998). Managing values: Ethical change in organisations,
  88. (1979). Mapping personal value space: A study of managers in four organizations. doi
  89. (1990). Mapping strategic thought, doi
  90. (1980). Markets, bureaucracies, and clans. doi
  91. (1991). Matching people and organizations: Selection and socialization in public accounting firms. doi
  92. (1991). Means-end based advertising research: Copy testing is not strategy assessment. doi
  93. (1991). Means-end chains: Connecting products with self. doi
  94. (1975). Measurement of human values: An appraisal of the work of Milton Rokeach. doi
  95. (1983). Mediatory myths in the service of organizational ideology. In
  96. (1997). Metamorphic effects of power as reflected in espoused organizational values: Implications for corporate governance. doi
  97. (1992). Middle management involvement in strategy and its association with strategic type: A research note. doi
  98. (1988). Moral judgment and human values. doi
  99. (1997). Narrating the organization: Dramas of institutional identity, doi
  100. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry, Beverly Hills CA: doi
  101. (1998). Negotiating with yourself and losing: Making decisions with competing internal preferences. doi
  102. (1992). On the idea of emancipation in management and organization studies. doi
  103. (1997). Organization theory: Modern, symbolic and postinodern perspectives,
  104. (1996). Organizational behavior & change: Managing diversity, cross-cultural dynamics, and ethics,
  105. (1965). Organizational control structures.
  106. (1985). Organizational culture and leadership, doi
  107. (1996). Organizational identity and strategy as a context for the individual.
  108. (1985). Organizational identity. In doi
  109. (1995). Organizational renewal: Top management's role in a loosely coupled system. doi
  110. (2000). Organizational values: The inside view of service productivity. doi
  111. (1983). Organizations as shared meanings. In
  112. (1991). People and organizational culture: A profile comparison approach assessing personorganization fit. doi
  113. (1996). Person-organization fit: An integrative review of its conceptualizations, measurement, and implications. doi
  114. (1992). Person-organization values congruence: No support for individual differences as a moderating influence. doi
  115. (1996). Personal ideology polarity: Its emotional foundation and its manifestation in individual value systems, religiosity, political orientation, and assumptions concerning human nature. doi
  116. (1984). Personal values affecting consumer psychology. In
  117. (1965). Personal values and corporate strategy.
  118. (1994). Personal values and management: What do we know and why don't we know more? doi
  119. (1949). Personal values as determinants of a political attitude. doi
  120. (1948). Personal values as selective factors in perception. doi
  121. (1969). Personal values in the study of lives. In doi
  122. (2000). Philosophy as a missing link between values and behavior. Psychological Reports, doi
  123. (1986). Power and performance in organizations: An exploration of executive process,
  124. (2000). Pride results in our working together to unleash the potential of every person. By working together we will achieve exceptional results httLi: HNv-%vw. wliiripoolcoU2. com/whr/colporate/N, alties.
  125. (1989). Putting consumer experience back into consumer research: The philosophy and method of existential-phenomenology. doi
  126. (1997). Putting meaning into corporate values.
  127. (1999). Putting values into action: Lessons from best practice. Long Range Planning,
  128. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: an expanded sourcebook, 2nd Edition, doi
  129. (1988). Quantity and quality in social research, London: Routledge 241 doi
  130. (1996). Rankings, ratings, and the measurement of values: Evidence for the superior validity of ratings. doi
  131. (1997). Relationships among owner / manager personal values, business strategies, and enterprise performance. doi
  132. (1996). Revising the value pluralism model: Incorporating social content and context postulates. In C.
  133. (1995). Semi-strucutred interviewing and qualitative analysis. In doi
  134. (1985). Social desirability and the Rokeach Value Survey. doi
  135. (1983). Social values and social change: Adaptation to life in America, doi
  136. (1989). Stability and change in American value priorities, doi
  137. (1969). Stage and sequence: The cognitive-developmental approach to socialization. In
  138. (2000). Strategic management and the philosophy of science: The case for a constructivist methodology. doi
  139. (1985). Strategic management in an enacted world. doi
  140. (1993). Strength is ignorance; slavery is freedom: Managing culture in modern organizations. doi
  141. (1985). Structure of human values: Testing the adequacy of the Rokeach Value Survey. doi
  142. (1995). Symbolic interactionism. In doi
  143. (1983). Symbolic transformation of belief systems.
  144. (1986). Symbols, scripts and sensemaking: Creating meaning in organisational experience. In
  145. (1983). Symbols' function and use. In
  146. (1997). Systems thinking and human values: Towards a practical organizational intervention methodology. Unpublished doctoral thesis,
  147. (1972). The analysis of subjective culture, doi
  148. (1981). The art of Japanese management, doi
  149. (1995). The art offieldtivork,
  150. (1990). The design school: Reconsidering the basic premises of strategic management. doi
  151. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory, doi
  152. (1993). The dynamics of organizational culture. doi
  153. (1996). The dynamics of value systems. In
  154. (1974). The effect of interpersonal values on laboratory training: An empirical investigation. doi
  155. (1979). The ethnographic interview, doi
  156. (1972). The explanation of social behaviour, doi
  157. (1938). The functions of the executive,
  158. (1962). The general and the unique in psychological science. doi
  159. (1972). The impact of culture upon managerial attitudes, beliefs and behaviour in England and France. doi
  160. (1999). The importance of leadership in shaping business values. doi
  161. (1996). The influence of top management team heterogeneity on firm's competitive moves. doi
  162. (1975). The manage- and his values,
  163. (1986). The managed thought: The role of self-justification and impression management in organizational settings. In
  164. (1985). The professional apprentice: Observations on fieldwork roles in two organizational settings.
  165. (1958). The psychology of interpersonal relations, doi
  166. (2001). The question of organizational consciousness: Can organizations have values, virtues and visions?
  167. (1998). The relationship between mission statements and firm performance: An exploratory study. doi
  168. (1997). The relationship between personal values and the perception of the corporation's code of ethics. doi
  169. (1994). The rise and fall of strategic planning, Hemel Hempstead:
  170. (1992). The seven habits of highly effective people: Powerful lessons in personal change,
  171. (1966). The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of Innowledge, doi
  172. (1978). The social psychology of organizations, doi
  173. (1979). The social psychology of organizing, 2 °d Edition,
  174. (1987). The strategy-legitimacy nexus: A thick description. doi
  175. (1996). The structure of personal values: a conical representation of multiple life areas. doi
  176. (1998). The study of language in organizations: A symbolic interactionist stance. doi
  177. (1998). The theory and practice of comparing causal maps. In
  178. (1993). The universe of human values: A structural and developmental hierarchy.
  179. (1997). The virtues of closet qualitative research. doi
  180. (1988). The will to meaning: Foundationts and applications of logotherapy,
  181. (1979). Thinking in organisations,
  182. (1998). To be or not to be? Central questions in organizational identification. In doi
  183. (1997). Top management ownership of the strategy problem. doi
  184. (1969). Top management planning, doi
  185. (1979). Toward a theory of organizational socialization. doi
  186. (1981). Toward a unique/useful concept of values for interpersonal behavior: A critical review of the literature on value. Psychological Reports, doi
  187. (1987). Toward a universal psychological structure of human values. doi
  188. (2001). Towards a post-dualistic business ethics: Interweaving reason and emotion in working life. doi
  189. (1999). Understanding research on values doi
  190. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. doi
  191. (1984). Upper echelons: The organization as a reflection of its top managers. doi
  192. (2001). Using laddering to explore managers' personal values: Method, findings and interpretations.
  193. (1999). Using NVIVO in qualitative research, doi
  194. (1995). Validating a method for mapping managers' mental models of competitive industry structures. doi
  195. (2000). Value assessment and everyday activities. doi
  196. (1989). Value congruence: The interplay of individual and organizational value systems. doi
  197. (1990). Value congruency: The case of the socially responsible firm.
  198. (1998). Value incongruity and strategic choice. doi
  199. (1996). Value priorities and behavior: Applying a theory of integrated value systems. In
  200. (1997). Value priorities and social desirability: Much substance, some style. doi
  201. (1991). Values and beliefs as personal constructs. doi
  202. (1992). Values and the American manager: An update updated. doi
  203. (1984). Values and the American manager: an update. doi
  204. (1975). Values and the organization: Suggestions for research. doi
  205. (1951). Values and value-orientations in the theory of action: An exploration in definition and classification. In doi
  206. (1999). Values and work: Empirical findings and theoretical perspective. doi
  207. (1997). Values based management. doi
  208. (1993). Values congruence and differences between the interplay of personal and organizational value systems. doi
  209. (1992). Values in corporations -whose in charge?
  210. (1975). Values in education and society, doi
  211. (1996). Values in the workplace: Diversity in meaning and importance. doi
  212. (1990). Values make the company: An interview with Robert Haas. Harvard Business Review,
  213. (1993). What is strategy and does it matter?, London: Routledge 267 doi
  214. (2000). When firms change direction, doi
  215. (1990). Work rewards, work values and organizational commitment in an employee-owned firm: Evidence from the UK. Human Relations, doi
  216. (1997). Work values: An integrative framework and illustrative application to organizational socialization. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.