Your Future Is Found In Your Values

The future of any individual, or organization, can be determined and understood by the recognition and acknowledgement of the values held by an individual or organization. Values are the social construct an individual uses to meet needs (Hultman, 2001, Kindle Locations 220-221) according to their importance to life and are ordered according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (1954). Rokeach (1973) defined values as “an enduring belief that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of existence.” (p. 5) It is through values an individual makes daily decisions about the reality lived within and attempts to work existing circumstances, relationships, and resources in order to maintain the desired reality. These values serve as standards of importance (Gellermann, Frankel, & Ladenson, 1990) and fashion the priority order that determines how daily decisions are made seeking the desired reality. (Hultman, 2001, Kindle Location 232-234)

 Organizations do not necessarily have values of their own, but are a collection of the held values of those individuals within the organization. It is the held values of the individuals that shape the culture of values within the organization and the behavior that is accepted. To increase the level of effectiveness through values, organizations must first understand the values of the individuals, and seek to bring continuity and a collective adherence to shared values among the individuals within an organization. (Hultman, 2001, Kindle Location 246-249)

Rokeach (1973) divides values into those that are terminal and instrumental. Desirable terminal values for an individual would be discipline, reliability, determination, and integrity; while desirable instrumental values would be honest, compassionate, sacrificial, and encouraging. For an organization, desirable terminal values would be reliability, integrity, progressive, and structured; while desirable instrumental values would be honest, compassionate, fair-minded, and peaceful.


Gellermann, W., Frankel, M. S., & Ladenson, R. F. (1990). Values and ethics in organization and human systems development: responding to dilemmas in professional life. Jossey-Bass.

Hultman, K. (2001). Balancing Individual and Organizational Values: Walking the Tightrope to Success. Wiley.

Maslow, A. H. (2000). Motivation and Personality. Pearson Education Asia.

Rokeach, M. (1973). The nature of human values. Free Press.

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