The purpose of this paper is to clarify the concept of organizational values from the management by values perspective and develop an understanding of the features of well‐functioning organizational values in the context of management by values.
Organizational values and management by values are analyzed using the systems theory approach, whereby organization consists of individuals and both the organization and the individuals have values interdependent of each other.
The paper concludes that there are specific features about organizational values and values statements that make it more effective to manage by values. It is argued that management by values deals with only a certain layer of organizational values – the layer that is conscious and explicit. The paper shows that, from a management by values perspective, organizational values should be instrumental (as opposed to basic), regulate employee character (as opposed to behaviour), and relate to wellbeing and the ethical (as opposed to survival) dimension.
There are clear implications for managers in their attempt to formulate or revise organizational values.
The main value of the paper lies in the thorough analysis of extensive literature that has been published in relation to organizational values and their management to date. The paper shows the state of play in the field and suggests a way forward.
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