Therefore, today I would like to share with you some thoughts about values and their relation to the viability of organizations. These thoughts stem from an enlarged conception of man’s nature and an existential conception of the source of his values. They will present for your consideration a hypothesized relationship between values, managerial controls, response of the managed to such controls and the effect on organizational health of these interrelationships. Let me illustrate my thinking by rephrasing Haire’s words.

If I were to rephrase Haire’s thoughts within the point of view to follow, I would say:

A business cannot operate viably independent of the values of the people imbedded in it. Business to be viable must be managed such that its managerial practices are congruent with the values of the people who must implement through actions the goals of the organization. The answers to questions like, "How hard should a man work? How much can we expect a man to invest in his job? What kind of punishments can a company use to direct behavior?" can be found predominantly within the firm. They depend on what managerial control system is dictated by the values of management and on how congruent this chosen control system is with the values of those in the firm who are managed. If managerial decisions, which stem from the values of managers, are out of harmony with the values of the managed the company may find itself at a competitive disadvantage because other managers who use controls congruent with the values of those whom they manage will tap reserves of human energy which simply are not available otherwise. In competitive terms, then, a sensitivity of managerial policy makers to the nature of values existing in themselves and in the managed is essential. To a considerable degree, the very effectiveness of management depends on the congruency of managerial values with the employee’s values.

Note the five major things implied in the rephrased words of Haire.

  1. There are several value systems in most societies rather than something we can call societal values.
  2. To the degree that values play a role in organizational health, it is congruency of values, which is the factor determining organizational health, not similarity of values. Similar value system may or not be congruent and likewise dissimilar value systems can fit or they can clash.
  3. The answer to value questions such as what one ought or ought not to do at work lies predominantly within the organization and not in the relation of organizational values to societal values.
  4. The value system of managers determines many decisions management will make and the value system of employees determines to a considerable degree what reaction will be made to managerial decisions.
  5. Managers of unhealthy organizations might well ask themselves, "How much of this organization’s trouble arises from a clash of managerial values with employee values?

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