Organizations Need Values…To Survive

According to Rokeach (1973), values are enduring beliefs “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) In a simpler form, Hultman (2001) defines values as the social construct an individual uses to meet needs. (Kindle Locations 220-221) There is a direct correlation between the values of individuals and the their beliefs about what is important. (Hultman, 2001)

Now, Hultman (2001) points out organizations do not have values since they are psychological constructs, however organizations are made up of individuals who all have their own personal values which dictate their beliefs of what is important. Individuals of an organization are all, independently, moving towards their own end-state of existence. (Rokeach, 1973) This collection of individuals make up the culture of the organization which is directly shaped by the values held be the group, (Hultman, 2001) but are not necessarily in harmony with one another, nor in alignment with the organization’s vision and mission. Without intentional direction given to the organization of individuals, the second law of thermodynamics predicts dissonance will occur and maximum entropy will be the end of the organization. (Boyatzis, 2008, p. 306)

This is why it is vital for organizations to intentionally articulate, vision cast, and display the values necessary for the individuals of an organization to come into alignment with the mission and vision of the organization. Furthermore, profits for individuals and the organization are higher when values are in alignment. (Hultman, 2001) Articulating values equips the individuals of an organization to become a collective team working towards a common goal and end-state of existence, which creates harmony and greater job satisfaction. (Hultman, 2001)


Boyatzis, R. E. (2008). Leadership development from a complexity perspective. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 60(4), 298–313. doi:10.1037/1065-9293.60.4.298

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

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

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