The Significance of Values in an Organization

A Definition of values

Values are principles that allow us to guide our behavior to fulfill ourselves as individuals.  They are fundamental beliefs that help us prefer, accept and choose one thing over another or a behavior over another. They are also a source of satisfaction and fulfillment.

They provide a guideline to formulate goals and objectives, whether personal or collective. They reflect our keenest interests, feelings and convictions.

Values refer to human needs and represent ideals, dreams and aspirations. Their importance is independent of the circumstances.  For example, even though we may be unfair, fairness still has a value. The same happens with wellbeing or happiness.

Values have worth in and of themselves. They are important for what they are, what they mean, and what they represent, and not for what others think of them.  Values, attitudes, and behaviors are closely linked. When we talk about attitudes, we refer to the willingness to act in any given moment, according to our beliefs, feelings and values.

Values translate into thoughts, concepts or ideas, but what we appreciate most is behavior, what people do. Valuable persons live according to their values. Their worth is reflected in their values and how they express these values in their daily life.

Values also constitute the foundations for co-existence n a community and relations with others. They regulate our behavior to the benefit of collective wellbeing.

Maybe this is why we tend to relate to others using behavioral rules and norms, when in fact they are personal decisions. That is, we decide to act in a certain way and not in another, based on what value is important to us. We decide to believe in it and we value it.

When we enter an organization with already established values, we implicitly accept them and implement them. It’s what others expect from us.

In an organization, values serve as a framework for the behavior of its members. These values are based on the nature of the organization (its purpose); why it was created (its objectives); and its projection into the future (its vision). To this end, they must encourage the attitudes and actions required to achieve the organization’s objectives.

In this regard, an organization’s values should be reflected in the specific behaviors of its members, and not just in its mission statement.

If this isn’t the case, then the organization should review the way it implements its values.


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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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