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Linking individual and organisational values: a case study in UK construction

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conference contribution
posted on 28.08.2009, 15:28 by Xiaoxing Zhang, Simon Austin, Jacqui Glass
Values hold a prominent place in both business ethics and organisational theories, and there is a detectable shift from management by instructions and objectives to management by values (Dolan and Garcia, 1999). Some organisations now devote significant energy to integrating values and beliefs into their business practices, which requires a clear and thorough understanding of the organisational values in the first place. Many believe that organisations should have values that both reflect the collective values of all employees and align with individual values (Sawhney, 2002; Peat, 2003; Jaffe and Scott, 1998). However, there persists considerable confusion about how organisational values should be developed. While many organisations have values statements, most were generated by those in a leadership position, which often fail to relate to the employees’ personal values. This paper presents a values study conducted in an organisation in the UK construction industry. By utilising a questionnaire survey instrument developed upon the Schwartz’s theoretical framework of human values (Schwartz, 1992), employees’ values profiles were collected and analysed. A follow-up workshop facilitated the identification and sharing of the common values, established the linkage between individual and organisational values, and as a result, a set of values statements were developed by the employees themselves. This bottom up approach made the organisational values explicit in an understandable and useful way, and improved the congruence between individuals and the organisation.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


ZHANG, X., AUSTIN, S.A. and GLASS, J., 2006. Linking individual and organisational values: a case study in UK construction. IN: Proceedings of the 22nd Annual ARCOM Conference, Association of Researchers in Construction Management, Birmingham, UK, September 2006, pp 833 - 842


© ARCOM / X. Zhang, S. Austin, J. Glass


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