The Significance of Values in an Organization

A way to define values

The way values are defined in an organization can also be used to put them into practice.  If they’re only words and generic concepts, they’re much less useful in practice than when they’re defined in terms of attitudes, behaviors and specific actions.

This is because each of us, through our daily behavior, provides a particular value with a specific meaning.

For example, when an organization defines honesty as a value, it doesn’t offer its members a clear guide to the specific behaviors implicit this value.

For example, one assume that members of a team will associate honesty with telling the truth and not stealing.  However, it isn’t common to associate honesty with offering all that we can deliver, with acting preventively, or with recognizing a mistake.

The organizations that benefit the most from applying values as a managerial tool translate them into codes of conduct, with precise indications regarding the attitudes and actions that favor the culture of the organization or community according to its interests.

Thus, values serve as a practical guide for the decisions we make every day at work. They help us identify what to do in each situation. Otherwise, the internal credibility of the organization, its leadership and its culture weaken, giving rise to a crisis of values.

Principles must be well differentiated from the objectives of the organization in order to be better understood as desirable behaviors. This confusion occurs frequently.

Values define objectives and point to the actions necessary to achieve them. Objectives can be flexible at a given point in time, but principles are immutable

Values should be like the columns supporting a building.  Inside, we can make all the changes required, but we never move its foundations.

Leaders at all levels and areas of the organization are responsible for defining values.  Heads of organizations, bosses, supervisors or coordinators, must be aware that everything they do or not do communicates the values of the organization to the rest of the team.

The other members of the organization are responsible for knowing the values of that community. If necessary, they must investigate and ask their immediate supervisors. The responsibility of understanding and implementing them is a value in and of itself.

We must remember that to define values, practice is more important than theory.  What we do is more important than what we say, and this is valid for individuals as well as for organizations.


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The Significance of Values in an Organization has been published by Cograf Comunicaciones. ISBN 978-980-12-3779-2.
Copyright 2008 Juan Carlos Jimenez. All rights reserved.



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