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What is value?

A value is a belief in action. It is a choice about what is good or bad, important or unimportant. Values shape behaviour. Until a value is acted upon, it remains as an inspiration. Values are hard to detect. They underpin organizations like the foundations of a house. If the foundation is weak then the house falls.

What are organizational values?

A house built on weak foundations will not endure; neither will an organization unsure of its values.

Where from values come?

Values come from leaders. Values in organizations are mainly established and maintained by leaders. Successful organizations have heroes at the top and mini-heroes throughout the management structure.

Why values are essential?

Values are essential whenever decisions are taken, goals are set or problems solved.

What is the correlation between an organization, values and management?

If we see the history of management changes, they have thrown open various central ideas and related values which were quite helpful for the organizations to grow. Let us see what they are:

>> Men and women were resources just like machinery motivated by material gain
Central idea: Rationality
Value : Scientific analysis pays

>> Human beings were more complex and had feelings and will power. Supervisors were trained to be team leaders
Central idea: Emotionality
Value : Care for people pays

>> After second world war, i.e., 50s values of the era were shifted from confrontation to conciliation
Central idea: Confrontation
Value : Strong defense is vital

>> In 1960s- Work place democracy. Idealism. Boss was no longer boss. Participative management.
Central idea: Consensus
Value : Politics matter

>> Management by objectives. Harmonize the needs of the organization with the needs of the individual.
Central idea: Organization / Individual balance
Value : Performance is king

>> In 1970s- Applied behavioral science—distinct anti-authority bias. Manager was termed as facilitator. Navel gazing replaced discipline and self expression. Subject of discussion was for improvement of quality of working life.
.Central idea: Potential
Value : People can develop

>> Development was reactionary rather than progressive. Motivational power of individual opportunism, ownership and responsibility rediscovered. Managers recognized that their real task was tough regular routine of leading, controlling and winning.
Central idea: Realism
Value : Nothing good comes easily

>> MIf an organization is to be successful in an atmosphere of global competition, they must be able to manage basic four Core Issues (CI) that lead to twelve sub-issues which in turn lead to twelve values. We shall see what they are:
Core Issue –
A-- Manage Management
  Power—Value—Managers must change
Elitism—Value—Cream at the top
Reward—value—Performance is king
B-- Manage the task
  Effectiveness—Value—Do the right thing
Efficiency—Value—Do things right
Economy—value—No free sops
C—Manage relationships
  Fairness—Value—who cares wins
Team work—Value—pulling together
Law & order—Value—Justice must prevail
D—Manage the environment
  Defence—Value—know your enemy
Competitiveness—Value—Survival of the fittest
Opportunism—Value—who dares wins
In view of the foregoing the organization is suggested to have the following values. The list is not exhaustive and the values may change depending upon nature of industry etc.
  a) Profit orientation
b) Integrity
c) Team playing
d) Fairness in all dealings and relations
e) Excellence in customer service
f) Belonging and commitment to the organization
g) Risk taking and innovation
h) Learning and renewal
i) Transparency and discipline in policies and systems
The task does not stop at setting the values. The values must be easy to understand and remove any doubts or confusion in the minds of the people who look at them. The values must have the suggested features:
  a) Actionable
b) Attractive and pride giving
c) Chosen from alternatives
d) Consistent with each other
e) Limited in number
f) Performance enhancing
g) Capable of being communicated
h) Written down
(Contributed by M. Mani Babu, a former Chief Manager of State Bank of India. He is a Faculty and Financial Consultant to Smart Trainers and Consultants. He can be contacted via e-mail manibabu@smarttraining.in)
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