Personal values are beliefs, missions, or philosophy that is meaningful on a personal level. They are reinforced by emotions and feelings, which turn mental perceptions into vital passions that we hope to realize in our lives. Whether we are consciously aware of them or not, every individual has a core set of personal values. Whatever our values are, when we take them to heart and implement them in our lives, great accomplishments and success happens. When we implement, commit to, and apply personal values in our lives, energy is released that attracts success, achievement, and well-being.
Some of the more common personal values include; accomplishments, freedom, prosperity, success, friendship, punctuality, self-reliance, concern for others, harmony of purpose, accountability, quality of work, goodwill, reliability, goodness, cleanliness, commitment, creativity, customer satisfaction, equality, loyalty, justice, resourcefulness, family, independence, spirit, hard work, and faithfulness. People relate to personal values in a number of ways; thoughtful people continually think about those things they cherish and believe in, while the powerful are motivated and driven to implement personal values in their lives.
Interestingly, not only do values energize us, but when we implement them, it energizes everything we come in contact with. Personal values drives and motivate us to move forward in life, which in turn enables progress. Whether they drive our own individual lives in a positive direction, improve the economic, social, and cultural conditions of a nation, or move society forward in a path of progress, personal values are important in our lives. We all have values that determine our decisions and guide our lives. Accomplishments in life depend not only on physical energy, but also on the psychological energy we are able to bring to our actions.
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Personal values also direct our psychological energies for accomplishment. The quality of the values we embrace and the intensity of our commitment to them determine the level of our accomplishment in life. Values, personal values, and core values all refer to the same thing. They are desirable qualities, standards, or principles that are the driving forces in our lives, and also influence our actions and reactions. They are inherited, and/or learned from our environment. Knowing your values helps you to follow a clear set of rules and guidelines for your actions, make good decisions, nd choices, find compatible people, places, and things that support your way of living, live with integrity, learn to identify and live from your values, and to manage stress (Ibtissem, 2010). Cultural Values Cultural values are sets of common understandings around which actions are organized, and the finding of expressions in language, whose finer distinctions are peculiar to the group. They are sets of meanings shared by a group of people that are largely inferred among members, and are clearly relevant, and distinctive to the particular group. Cultural values are also passed on to new members.
These values are systems of knowledge, standards for perceiving, believing, evaluating, and acting that serve to relate human communities to their environmental settings (Khalil, & Seleim, 2010). They are also deeper levels of basic assumptions and beliefs that are learned responses. Any social system arising from a network of shared ideologies consisting of substances - the networks of meaning associated with ideologies, norms, and values, and forms - the practices where the meanings are expressed, affirmed, and communicated to members, defines the cultural values of an organization.
Culture is what naturally emerges as individuals transform themselves into social groups. A culture encompasses distinct observable forms - language, use of symbols, ceremonies, customs, methods of problem solving, use of tools, or technology, and design of work settings - that groups of people create through social interaction, and use to confront the broader social environment. Culture can be characterized as consisting of three levels; the first and most visible level is behaviors and artifacts, which consists of behavior patterns and outward manifestations of the culture.
This is the privileges provided to executives, dress codes, level of technology utilized, and where it is utilized, and the physical layout of the work spaces. Artifacts and behavior also tell what a group is doing, but not the reasons why. The second level of culture is its values. The cultural values determine behaviors, but values are not directly observable, as behaviors are. There is a difference between stated values and operating values. To really understand culture, we have to get to the deepest third level, the level of assumptions and beliefs.
Underlying assumptions grow out of values, until they are taken for granted and discarded. Many are unaware of, or unable to articulate their beliefs and assumptions. To understand culture, all three levels have to be understood (Vauclair, 2009). There is an additional aspect that may complicate the study of culture: the group or cultural unit which owns the culture. An organization may have many different cultures or subcultures, or even no apparent dominant culture at the organizational level. Recognizing the cultural unit is essential to identifying and understanding the culture.
Organizational cultures are created, maintained, or transformed by people, and by organizational leadership (Khalil, & Seleim, 2010). Leaders at the executive level are the principle source for the re-infusion of an organization's ideology, articulation of core values, and the specification of norms. Organizational values express preferences for certain behaviors or certain outcomes, and organizational norms express behaviors accepted by others. They are the culturally acceptable ways of pursuing goals. Leaders also establish the boundaries for the formal lines of communication, and the formal interaction rules for the organization.
Values and norms, once transmitted through the organization, establish the permanence of the organization's culture. Groups, societies, or cultures have values that are largely shared by their members. These values identify those objects, conditions or characteristics that members of the society consider important. Values are related to the norms of a culture, with the norms being the rules for behavior in specific situations, and the values identify what should be judged as good or evil. Members take part in a culture even if each member's personal values do not entirely agree with some of the normative values of the culture.
This reflects an individual's ability to integrate and extract aspects valuable to them from the multiple of sub-cultures they belong to. If a group member expresses a value that is in serious conflict with the group's norms, the group's authority may carry out various ways of encouraging conformity or stigmatizing the non-conforming behavior of its members. Commonly held standards of what is acceptable or unacceptable, important or unimportant, right or wrong, workable or unworkable, in a community or society, is determined by cultural values.
These values determine the ideas about what is good, right, fair, and just. Creating a culture based on moral excellence requires a commitment among managers to embody and develop two qualities in their leadership: virtue and wisdom. Creating an organization characterized by moral excellence is a lengthy process, because it involves changing the organizational culture (Vauclair, 2009). One of the primary responsibilities of strategic leadership is to create and maintain the organizational characteristics that reward and encourage collective efforts, with the most fundamental of these being the organizational culture.
An organization's culture develops to help cope with the environment. Organizational leaders are confronted with many complex issues during their attempts to generate organizational achievement. Their success depends to a great extent on understanding organizational culture. Many of the problems that organizational leaders face are caused by their inability to analyze and evaluate organizational culture. Many leaders, when trying to implement new strategies or a strategic plan leading to a new vision, will discover that their strategies will fail if they are inconsistent with the organization's culture.
Difficulties with organizational transformations arise from failures to analyze an organization's existing culture. Strategic leaders have an additional set of challenges; they have to create the means, and the opportunities to infuse their employees with new ways of looking at themselves, and their capabilities. Leaders' new ideologies and values need to be communicated effectively, internalized by employees, and then translated into productive methods of thinking, and working. Organizations consist of subgroups that have specific characteristics and a sense of identification.
Within organizations, people can easily classify themselves and others into various social categories or groups based on identification with their primary work group, occupational, or professional skills, or union membership. Subgroups in organizations can and do create subcultures that comprise specific networks of meaning, and they remain associated with the ideologies and values of the organization's leadership. Organizations do not always have standardized or consistent subcultures. The social products produced by subcultures within organizations can be widely diverse, and even result in countercultures.
These countercultures can have both productive and unproductive outcomes. The key to a counterculture's success is the group's ability to demonstrate how its unconventional behaviors are consonant with the core ideologies, values and norms of the dominant culture. Cultures provide members with a reliable means to interpret a highly vague environment. It is the organization’s leaderships’ responsibility to specify the features of the environment that are relevant to the organization, and then provide the supporting assumptions, and rationale for its operating strategies.
Leadership should recognize that their cultural messages should specifically address cultural uncertainties associated with subculture practices within the organization, and limit their attempts to eliminate distinctions that are important to the subculture's identities. They would have a better chance of creating, or transforming an organization’s culture if they accept, and foster productive organizational subcultures, and consistently communicate how employees must perform in order for the organization to achieve its objectives.
Cultural change then relies on leaders' communication techniques that cross sub cultural boundaries and carry messages about ideologies, values and norms that can be internalized by all employees. Cultural forms function as the linking mechanism by which networks of understandings develop among employees. These cultural forms act as a medium for communicating ideologies, values, and norms. They also enable leaders to transmit messages about desirable behaviors to influence thinking and ways of behaving.
Cultural forms also address the emotional aspects of organizations that are commonly referred to as cohesion or camaraderie. Productive cultural change will occur if leaders correctly analyze the organization's existing culture, and evaluate it against the cultural attributes needed to achieve strategic objectives. They must first possess a clear understanding of the strategic objectives for their organization, and then identify the actions needed to reach those objectives. The next step is to conduct an analysis of the organization’s existing ideologies, values and norms.
Strategic leadership needs to be transformational if it is to serve the organization, and it must operate from a foundation of high morality and ethical practices. Even though culture is deep seated, and difficult to change, leaders can influence or manage an organization's culture. It isn't easy, and it cannot be done rapidly, but leaders can have an effect on culture. An understanding of culture, and how to transform it, is a crucial skill for leaders trying to achieve strategic outcomes.
Strategic leaders have the best perspective, because of their position in the organization, to see the dynamics of the culture, what should remain, and what needs transformation. This is the essence of strategic success. Values and ethics are one of the most important characteristic of an individual. They basically define who we are and what we believe. There are many factors that determine our values and ethics. Culture, religion, and many other factors affect our beliefs. Many times our values and ethics can clash with different people who hold different views and beliefs.
This doesn't mean our values or ethics are wrong it just means we think differently than others. Most people have a good sense of ethics and values. Knowing between right and wrong is a good foundation to practicing good ethics and morals. Family members, Grandparents, friends, and school teachers all influence our thoughts and beliefs. Educational Values Education is not all about book learning and passing exams, it is also about developing personal values and living these values. Ethical Values To behave ethically is to behave in a manner that is consistent with what is generally considered to be right or moral.
Ethical behavior is the bedrock of mutual trust. Values are what we believe to be right, individually or organizationally. Values distinguish between right and wrong, and doing what is right or wrong is what we mean by ethics. The first place to look in determining what is right or wrong is society, because almost every society makes some determination of morally correct behavior. Societies not only regulate the behavior of its members, but also define their societal core values. Experience lead societies to develop beliefs about what is of value for the common good.
Societies may differ from one another in the specifics, but not in the general principles; reciprocity - one good deed deserves another, the notion of good intent - a person’s word is their bond, or the appreciation of merit in others regardless of personal feelings - give the devil his due. To determine what is generally considered to be right, look at the positive values of society and the organizations one belongs to. Societal or organizational norms are other aspects that should also be considered.
Norms are the unstated rules, usually informally reached by the members of a group, which govern the behavior of the group's members. Norms often have a greater effect on what is and isn't done by the members of a group than formal rules and regulations. Norms are a important part of ethics, in that they allow and/or even encourage certain OK behaviors that are not in keeping with societal or organizational stated values. Ethics and morality are important for individuals, groups, organizations, and society. they should also be important for public officials, and for very much the same reasons.
Some very important individual, group, organizational, and/or societal ethical values are; basic honesty and conformity to law; conflicts of interest; service orientation and procedural fairness; the ethics of democratic responsibility; the ethics of public policy determination; and the ethics of compromise and social integration. People behave unethically because of the complexity of the strategic issues that may cross that ethical line, difficulty in determining what the most ethical alternatives are, competition for scarce resources, power, or positions, conflicting loyalties, groupthink, is.
There are several systemic factors also contribute to people behaving unethically; the competition for scarce resources, trying to gain a competitive advantage in the race for position or power, conflicting loyalties, groupthink among homogeneous groups with strong leaders, the presence of ideologues, or individuals who view their own extreme positions as right and any opposing positions as wrong, and an organization's negative response to dissent.
Organizational members have only three choices when confronted with unethical behavior: Exit, the most direct response, means if you can't live with behavior that does not meet your own ethical standards, leave. Voice, means expressing discomfort with and opposition to the observed unethical behavior. Go public, to engage in ‘whistle blowing’. The final response to unethical behavior in an organization is loyalty, the alternative to exit. Instead of leaving, the individual remains and tries to change the organization from within.
An organization cannot maintain high ethical standards without ways for eliminating unethical behavior. The steps to building an ethical climate, and to foster corporate ethics; (1) Determine the actions of strategic leadership and the ways they deal with ethical issues. The pattern of top leaders' behavior determines organizational values. (2) Make explicit ethics policies. (3) Increase awareness of how to apply ethical codes. (4) Training on how to deal with situations with an ethical dimension. 5) How to anticipate situations that involve ethical choices. (6) Expand the information system to focus on areas where ethics may come into play. Knowing what actually is going on in the organization is essential to understanding the ethical principles which govern behavior. The information system should also support ethical behavior, and allow the strategic leader to know when or where there are potential ethical breaches so that corrective action can be taken.
There is real danger when unethical behavior goes unnoticed, or unpunished, members will assume it is excused by the organization's leadership. Encouraging leaders to pursue their own moral development is critical at higher levels because strategic leaders set the moral climate for the organization. Business ethics is the application of the disciplines, principles, and theories of ethics on the organizational level. These are the principles, and standards that guide behavior in the business environment.
Ethical behavior in business is critical. When businesses are charged with infractions, and when employees of those firms come under legal investigation, there is concern raised about the moral behavior of that business. The level of mutual trust, which is the foundation of our free-market economy, is threatened. Business ethics is also concerned with the day-to-day ethical dilemmas faced by millions of workers at all levels of an organization.
All people have their own sets of personal values that come from society, families, religions, and experiences. Ethical dilemmas can arise when those personal values conflict directly with the company’s practices. Organizations can manage their culture and ethical climate by trying to hire employees whose values match their own. Some firms even measure potential employees’ values during the hiring process and strive to choose individuals who fit within the ethical climate rather than those whose beliefs and values differ significantly. Family Values
Some of the more common family values are; belonging, it is important that each member of a family feel that they are loved, that they belong and that they matter; flexibility, the order, schedules and structure of the family that helps to maintain a level of sanity; respect, to take feelings, thoughts, needs, and preferences in to account when making decisions; acknowledging and valuing everyone’s thoughts, feelings and contributions to the family as a whole; honesty, the foundation of any relationships that are meant to last; forgiveness, forgiving is an important choice to make (yes, choice); generosity, giving without thinking about what you will receive is an important value for anyone wanting to be a responsible, contributing ember to society; curiosity, which helps to build critical thinking skills, includes the spoken word, tone, volume, expression, eye contact, body language and effective listening; responsibility is something that is learned; and traditions, which makes a family unique (Arnier, & Stein, 1998).
Religious Values Religion plays a vital role in our lives and in reinforcing personal values. It does not matter what our religious preferences are, personal values are formed and reinforced through religious teachings. Tolerance, honesty, truthfulness, respect for others and elders, purity are some of the values formed and reinforced through religious teachings. Organizational Values Organizations and institutions have values and ethics are that are central to its existence. Often time, there are one or more business values that are the key to a business’s success.
Examples are Sear’s commitment to ‘trusting the customer’, Apple Computer's belief in ‘the value of solving the problems of society’, or the Marriott's value of ‘systemization and standardization’. Values are those things important to or valued by someone, whether they are an individual or an organization. Organizational values are important to its vision, which is based on and consistent with the organization's core values. Organizational values are more than words; they are the moral, ethical, and professional attributes of character, and what professionals judge to be right. These core values must be instilled in all organizational members. They determine our character, guide our lives, and are central to our profession.
Some of the more common organizational values; loyalty, duty, honesty, selfless service, professionalism, caring, teamwork, stewardship. and integrity. When these values are shared by all organizational members, they can be very important and useful tools for making judgments, assessing probable outcomes of contemplated actions, and choosing among alternatives. Organizational values put all members on the same page with regard to what all members as a body consider important. These values are the embodiment of what an organization stands for, and should be the basis for the behavior of its members. When we implement, commit to, and apply personal values in our lives, energy is released that attracts success, achievement, and well-being. With organizations and nstitution’s employees, customers, products, services, and all the stakeholders, their energy attracts success, new opportunities, new sources of revenue and income, and other material and psychological benefits. In some organizations, any discord by its members may be rewarded by termination, or they may be expelled, or ostracized from the group. Group members quickly learn the operating values, or they don't survive for long. To the extent they differ from stated values, the organization will not only suffer from doing things less effectively, but also from the cynicism of its members, who have yet another reason for mistrusting the leadership, or doubting its wisdom.
Organizational values provide the basis for judgments about what is important for the organization to succeed in its core business. There are three aspects to ethical behavior in organizations: the development of the individual as an ethical person, the effect of the organization as an ethical or unethical environment, and the actions or procedures developed by the organization to encourage ethical behavior and discourage unethical behavior. Most of an individual's ethical development occurs before entering an organization. The influence of family, church, community, and school will determine individual values. The organization is dealing with individuals whose value base has already been established.
The organization also has a major impact on the behavior of its members, and can have a positive or negative influence on their values. There are three qualities individuals must possess to make ethical decisions; the ability to recognize ethical issues and to reason through the ethical consequences of decisions, the ability to look at alternative points of view, deciding what is right in a particular set of circumstances, and the ability to deal with ambiguity, uncertainty, and to make decisions on the best information available. Individual characteristics and organizational influence are very important attributes that determines ethical behaviors.
The ethical standards that one observes in the organization will have a significant effect on individual behavior. The organization has the greatest impact in the standards it establishes for ethical and unethical conduct in its formal reward systems. Informal norms also have a strong influence on individuals' behavior as do the actions of the leaders of the organization. Strategic leaders must understand that their actions, more than words alone, will determine the operating values in the organization. Many people behave ethically, in spite of the apparent lack of gain. Ethical behavior is intrinsically rewarding; most people behave ethically because it's the right thing to do. People are guided by their personal value systems.
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