Special Article (June-2018)
What are your Values?
When I was small kid, one day, I found the coin of 50 paise on the street while coming home from the school. 50 paise was also reasonably good amount for me. I could buy 10 candies with 50 paise that time. When I reached at home, I showed the coin to my mother happily…I thought my mother would allow me to buy candies with that coin. But when she saw it, she started asking questions after questions. She ensured that I really found it on the street.
Then she said.. "Have you tried to find the owner of this coin?" I said, "No, nobody was there that time.
"Son, this is not our coin, somebody must have lost it and we don't have the claim on this. Please go in the temple and put it in the donation box." She ordered firmly.
This incident taught me a lot. The integrity and no claim on other's money are the fundamental values, I learned and I still follow the same today.
Fundamentally values mean our belief on something, the way we work and the fundamental dos and don'ts while living our life. Values are beliefs about what is more important to any individual in life. These values are based on the purpose of our life. Values represent basic convictions 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."
Milton Rokeach created the Rokeach Value Survey (RVS) which consists of two sets of values :
Terminal values : These values are desirable & end - states of existence. For example, a world of peace, a sense of accomplishment, a world of beauty, equality, freedom, and salvation.
Instrumental values : These are preferable modes of behaviour or means of achieving the terminal values. For example, capable, cheerful, courageous, imaginative, logical, loving, and responsible.
However, basically all values are for the purpose of life…may it be fulfilling our need, performing our obligations, achieving our aim or goals, discharging the duties as citizen - corporate or social, or satisfying our conscience etc..
Our values are developed from family background, our childhood perceptions, surrounding, our teachers, reading, education, friends, inspiration from our role models…sometimes it keeps changing as per the situation, however there are some values which came from our parents and elders on which we would not like to compromise.
We should keep in mind that our value system governs our thinking, influence our attitude, and motivate our actions. They decide the right or wrong of a choice and they determine our image as a person who is right or wrong, trustworthy, or untrustworthy.
What's about the individual values and organizational values?
There are lots of changes in the way we operate. Every company is focusing on "new way of working". The value systems, also, have undergone a gradual shift over the past few years. This shift is driven by an increased focus on customers and on the individual contribution that employees can make to the business. This shift in values creates an interesting dilemma and potentially serious issues for managers wanting to introduce top-down changes or large change initiatives today. Now everyone in the organization is on Facebook, twitter and companies are recruiting social site experts to gain the competitive advantage. The value system is also changing the basic assumptions. For example, in past, people were not open to speak about their pleasure & personal issues unlike today. Now everybody wants to drum his life open on the social media without thinking the consequences of the same.
Does this mean values are also changing? Earlier companies were managing the business and changes thereon under a strict chain of command. Managers had tight control over employees and they would expect compliance with any change. Elders and parents were playing the role of command at home…
In the organizational context, the individual has different types of vales. These values are :
Interpersonal : Values that refer to relations with others.
Extrinsic : Values that refer to motivating factors at work.
Intrinsic : Values that relate to personal beliefs and attitudes.
When somebody does the job in the organization, his values also reflect in his behaviour. However, if values of the person contradict with organizational values, then dissatisfaction is common phenomenon. It also has the impact of the culture of organization. For example, if family first is employee's value and his job in the organization has a tough issue for getting the time for family, there is a contradiction. After few days, employee either has to compromise on his value or he would have to find another job.
In life, you finally have to decide which value you would like to compromise over other. But keep in mind few values can't be compromised…what are yours' that you would not compromise?
If you are an employee, check if your values are aligned with the organizational values. If you are a manager, check how you assess your employee for values and coach our employee so that he gets engaged.