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Ties that bind?: an empirical exploration of values in the voluntary sector: value importance, hierarchy and consensus in independent hospices in the UK

By Peter R. Elson


The purpose of this dissertation was to undertake a systematic exploration of voluntary sector values. Values are frequently referred to in published voluntary sector literature as operating at the core of voluntary organizations and being widely shared across the sector. Yet a review of this same literature found that there was little empirical or theoretical evidence on which to support these claims. This research was designed to address this shortfall. First, a well established theoretical values framework was outlined and the relationship between this framework and values commonly affiliated with the voluntary sector was established. Second, I undertook an empirical study of values held by chief executives and board chairs in independent hospices across the UK using the Schwartz Value Survey (SVS) which is based on the this framework. Findings from the survey show that benevolence is a value which is held in high regard by both groups while others differ significantly. Differences in the mean scores for values such as tradition, achievement and self direction, reflect areas of potential value conflict between board chairs as ‘value holders’ and chief executives as ‘value implementers’. This theoretical framework and SVS survey was successfully applied across a wide number of hospice leaders to identify their values and the ‘ties that bind’. In the future this survey tool could be applied across organizations and the sector-at-large to enrich and verify the understanding and role of values in the voluntary sector

Topics: HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Publisher: Centre for Civil Society, London School of Economics and Political Science
Year: 2006
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online

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