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Values

Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.3

- Albert Einstein

When you think about Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or even Steve Jobs, they were all successful because of their ideas and values. People didn't follow them, believe in what they said, or even work for them because they were successful. Instead, people followed them because they believed in the same values.

A value is one of the most important things a person believes and stands for. It's something essential that defines that person. Without their values, people wouldn't be the same.

In this explanation, we will have a closer look at values from a personal point of view and in the workplace. Keep on reading to learn more about them.

Values Definition

To better understand what values are, we need to define them first.

A person's values are their code of conduct, behavior, beliefs, and principles they live by.

It's important not to mistake someone's values for their beliefs. A value is more than something people care about. A value is a guiding principle that defines a person's actions and behavior. In other words, a person wouldn't be the same if you took away their values.

Having values and caring for something is different. For example, if you feel like generosity is one of your core values, you are always trying to be generous, which impacts most of your actions. In that case, not only would you give all the time to charities, but whenever someone asks for help, you always drive the extra mile for them; you would do a bit of extra work every day to help others and be generous towards all. However, remember that you can be generous without necessarily having generosity as your core value.

Here are some examples of factors that can affect our values:

  • Environment: our values are often the result of the environment we live in. The country we are in, the culture surrounding us, etc.
  • Family Situation: our family and close relatives will significantly impact our value systems and decisions.
  • Network: the people we know play a key role in our values, as we will often have similar ones.
  • Locus of control: someone with an internal locus of control will think that problems are in their hands and that it's their job to find a solution. In contrast, someone with an external locus control is more focused on what surrounds them.
  • Education: can also greatly impact how people think and define their values.

Example of Values

Valuegraphics surveyed more than 500.000 people across 152 countries.2 This fascinating study shows what values are important to people according to their country.

Here are some examples of values and findings from this survey:

  • Family: it's, of course, one value that many can relate to. Family plays a key role in many cultures and can be the center of decisions for many people. A good example representing this family value is Don Corleone in the movie "The Godfather." In this show, all the decisions the Godfather took were for the good of the family, to protect and make it thrive.

  • Tradition: traditions and religion play an important ideological and cultural identification role in many countries. It is generally considered an essential value in the Middle East, where people wear traditional clothes daily and have strong religious beliefs.

  • Respect: a value we generally associate with the elderly or more experienced people. This value is particularly important in Africa and Central America, more than in other continents.

  • Loyalty: it's an essential value in society: we keep loyal to our spouse, the place we work, the people we know, etc.

  • Morality: having high morale and doing everything in our power to be good is also a great value; it's also often associated with religious values.

  • Permanent: values tend to be permanent and generally don't change much, as they are part of someone's personality.

  • Importance: an individual's core values are essential to them. Although one specific value might not matter to someone, it might mean a lot to someone else. For example, tradition and religious values might not matter as much to an atheist as to a religious person.

  • Moral compass: someone's values often act as a moral compass and can help them make decisions that align with their beliefs. For example, an eco-friendly individual who needs to buy a new car might be more interested in purchasing an electric vehicle rather than a diesel one.

  • Personality: our values are closely related to our personality. Whether we choose a value based on our personality or our values shape our character, there is a clear link between the two.

  • Subjective: values tend to be subjective; what can be considered a value to someone might not be for someone else. For example, someone can see themselves as a traditionalist, but someone else might still see them as a progressist.

Values Types

Generally, we can consider two value types:

  • Individuals: These values are embedded in a person—for example, family, tradition, respect, etc.

  • Organizational: these values are embedded in an entire group of people or an organization. For example, France defines its value as "Freedom, equality, and fraternity," the company Apple genuinely believes in creativity, etc.

Beyond the two value types, we can also define values based on different characteristics. For example, we might consider values such as justice, generosity, and empathy positive because they generally impact people and society positively around us. Some other values, such as tradition, morality, or religion, can be regarded as moral values because they intend a higher standard of thinking and respect for our existence.

Values - Key takeaways

  • A person's values are their code of conduct, behavior, beliefs, and principles they live by.

  • Several factors, such as environment, family situation, and locus of control, can affect our values.

  • Values tend to be permanent and important, act as a moral compass, are closely linked to our personality, and are subjective.

  • Values are critical for an organization, as it tells the world what the company cares about.

  • We can consider two value types:

    • Individual: These values are embedded in a person—for example, family, tradition, respect, etc.

    • Organizational: these values are embedded in an entire group of people or an organization. For example, France defines its value as "Freedom, equality, and fraternity," the company Apple genuinely believes in creativity, etc.

  • The values of an organization are the code of conduct, behavior, beliefs, and principles the organization represents and pursues.

  • Milton Rokeach argued that there are two types of values in an organization:

    • Terminal values are the ultimate goals an organization is trying to achieve.
    • Instrumental values are the ones someone or an organization uses to reach terminal values.

References

  1. Ben&Jerry's. https://www.benjerry.com/about-us
  2. Dorothy Neufeld. The World's Most Influential Values, In One Graphic. 05/11/2020. https://www.visualcapitalist.com/most-influential-values/?swcfpc=1
  3. Goodreads. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/value
  4. Stephen P. Robbins | Timothy A. Judge. Organizational behaviour. 2019

Frequently Asked Questions about Values

A person's values are their code of conduct, behavior, beliefs, and principles they live by. A value is more than something people care about. A value is a guiding principle that defines a person's actions and behavior. In other words, a person wouldn't be the same if you took away their value.


We can consider that there are two types of values:

  • Individual: These values are embedded in a person—for example, family, tradition, respect, etc.
  • Organizational: these values are embedded in an entire group of people or an organization. For example, France defines its value as "Freedom, equality, and fraternity," the company Apple genuinely believes in creativity, etc.

The characteristics of values are:

  • Permanent: values tend to be permanent and generally don't change much, as they are part of someone's personality. 
  • Importance: someone's core values are essential to them. 
  • Moral compass: someone's values often act as a moral compass and can help someone make decisions that align with their beliefs.
  • Personality: our values are closely linked to our personality. 
  • Subjective: values tend to be subjective; what can be considered a value to someone might not be for someone else.

Values are critical for an organization, as they tell the world what the company cares about and represents.

Family, tradition, loyalty, respect, freedom, personal growth, morality, etc., are all examples of values. 

The values of an organization are the code of conduct, behavior, beliefs, and principles the organization represents and pursues.

Here are some examples of factors that can affect our values: 

  • Environment: our values are often the result of the environment we live in. The country we are in, the culture surrounding us, etc.
  • Family Situation: our family and close relatives will significantly impact our value system and decisions. 
  • Network: the people we know play a key role in our values, as we will often have similar ones.
  • Locus of control: someone with an internal locus of control will think that problems are in their hands and that it's their job to find a solution. In contrast, someone with an external locus control is more focused on what surrounds them.
  • Education: it can also greatly impact how people think and define their values.

Values such as justice, generosity, and empathy can be considered positive because they generally impact the people and society around us.

Some values can be considered moral values because they intend a higher standard of thinking and respect for our existence, such as tradition, morality, or religious values. 

Final Values Quiz

Question

What is meant by values in organizational behavior?

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Answer

The values of an organization are the code of conduct, behavior, beliefs, and principles the organization represents is defined by and pursues.

Show question

Question

Why are values important in an organization??

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Answer

Values are critical for an organization, as they tell the world what the company cares about and represents.

Show question

Question

What are values?

Show answer

Answer

A person's values are their code of conduct, behavior, beliefs, and principles they live by. 

Show question

Question

What are examples of values?

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Answer

Family, tradition, loyalty, respect, morality, etc.

Show question

Question

What are the characteristics of values?

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Answer

  • Permanent: values tend to be permanent and generally don't change much, as they are part of someone's personality.
  • Importance: someone's core values are essential to them.
  • Moral compass: someone's values often act as a moral compass and can help someone make decisions that align with their beliefs.
  • Personality: our values are closely linked to our personality.
  • Subjective: values tend to be subjective; what can be considered a value to someone might not be for someone else.


Show question

Question

How can a value act as a moral compass?

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Answer

Someone's values can help someone make decisions that align with their beliefs. For example, someone eco-friendly who needs to buy a new car might be more interested in purchasing an electric car rather than a diesel one.

Show question

Question

Does a person's culture play an essential role in defining their values?

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Answer

Yes

Show question

Question

What are the two types of values?

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Answer

  • Individual: Those values are embedded in one person, such as family, tradition, respect, etc.
  • Organizational: Those values are embedded in an entire group of people or an organization. For example, France defined its value as "Freedom, equality, and fraternity".


Show question

Question

Having values and caring for something are the same thing.

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Answer

False

Show question

Question

What are some examples of factors that can affect our values?

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Answer

Environment, family situation, network, locus of control, education

Show question

Question

What is an internal locus of control?

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Answer

Someone with an internal locus of control will think that problems are in their hands and that it's their job to find a solution. 

Show question

Question

What are the two types of values, according to Milton Rokeach? 

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Answer

Terminal and instrumental values.

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Question

What are terminal values?

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Answer

Those values are the ultimate goals an organization is trying to achieve. For example, zero poverty around the world, quality education for everyone, world peace, etc.

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Question

What are positive values?

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Answer

Values such as justice, generosity, and empathy, can be considered positive because they generally impact the people and society around us.

Show question

Question

What are moral values?

Show answer

Answer

Some values can be considered moral values because they intend a higher standard of thinking and respect for our existence, such as tradition, morality, or religious values.

Show question

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