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Value Congruence & Employer

Recent studies (e. g. , Meglino, Ravlin and Adkins, 1989; O’Reilly, Chatman and Caldwell, 1991) claim value congruence to be the mechanism by which organizational and individual values affect members’ organizational outcomes. Some researches, however, state that “unfortunately, the congruence explanation rests on a mixed theoretical base, and with only a single exception, all empirical tests of value congruence effects have used flawed statistical procedures, which renders their results inconclusive at best” (Kalliath et al, 1999).

We may state as well that, given this theoretical and empirical history, no sound justification exists for stating any general conclusions about value congruence and leadership’s correlation through the industries. Many problematic theoretical and methodological issues found in most prior congruence research should be addressed. Rokeach (1973, p. 5) defined a value as an enduring belief 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.

This conceptualization of values posesses enduring authority (e. g. , Chatman, 1989) and precision. The reference to ‘personally preferable’ indicates an individual’s values, and the reference to ‘socially preferable’ indicates values shared by the members of some social aggregate (e. g. , an organization). Thus, values can be both an individual and a social phenomenon. In the labor and HR market both types are actualized. The references to ‘mode of conduct’ and ‘end-state’ specify a distinction Rokeach (1973, p.

7) labeled instrumental and terminal values, respectively, a reference to means and ends. Taking all these definitions for granted we should call the degree to which an individual and an organization’s culture share the same values the individual and organizational value congruence (Money & Graham). Examining previous value congruence research, it’s to realize that the studies either focused on a single value (Slocombe and Bluedorn, in press) or employed an overall set of values that represented a cataloguing approach rather than a well-developed theoretical value structure (e.

g. , Chatman, 1991; Meglino, 1989). Thus, previous conceptual/operational approaches to value specification and measurement in the value congruence literature do not always fully meet the criteria for obtaining a usable and practical model of values shared by employee and employer. Money and Graham supported the competing values model (Quinn and Rohrbaugh, 1983) in the organizational culture and effectiveness literature, which was originally developed to make sense out of the organizational effectiveness morass.

It quickly became a device for mapping organizations’ value profiles and conducting comparative analyses on them (Quinn and Cameron, 1983; Quinn and Kimberly, 1984), though Quinn and Kimberly (1984, p. 298) argued for the model’s ability to “explore the deep structure of organizational culture, the basic assumptions that are made about such things as the means to compliance, motives, leadership, decision making, effectiveness values and organizational forms”.

Usually the competing values model consists of four quadrants created by the intersection of two axes. One axis, flexibility-control emphasis, is a dimension that reflects the emphasis given to control in the organization. The other axis, internal-external focus, is a dimension concerned with the extent to which the organization focuses on matters in its environment (external) or within its boundaries (internal). The attributes within each quadrant reflect the unique means-ends values associated with the combination of axis orientations (e.

g. , internal and flexible) that define it. Of particular importance to value congruence research, the value sets in each quadrant include values about both means and ends, the modes of conduct and end-states specified as the two types of values in Rokeach’s (1973) definition of values presented earlier. Thus, the competing values model explicitly identifies both instrumental and terminal values in about equal proportions, a consideration absent from the cataloguing approach in other value congruence research.

Quinn and Rohrbaugh (1983) presented the detailed theoretical rationale underlying the model and each quadrant within it, and a growing body of research provides additional theoretical and empirical support for it as well (e. g. , Bluedorn and Lundgren, 1993; Cameron and Freeman, 1991; Kalliath, Bluedorn and Gillespie, in press; McDonald and Gandz, 1992; Quinn and Spreitzer, 1991; Yeung, Brockbank and Ulrich, 1991; Zammuto and Krakower, 1991; Zammuto and O’Connor, 1992). In each quadrant specific means-ends values are presented.

For example, efficiency and goal achievement are highly valued in the rational goal quadrant (formed by strong organizational emphases on control and external matters); order and stability in the internal process quadrant (formed by strong organizational emphases on control and internal matters); morale and loyalty in the human relations quadrant (formed by strong organizational emphases on flexibility and internal matters); and innovation and risk taking in the open systems quadrant (formed by strong organizational emphases on flexibility and external matters).

The four competing values quadrants described here represent four value sets that guide the organizational tasks of environmental management and internal integration. These models are by no means mutually exclusive; every organization expresses each value set to some degree, creating a value profile (Quinn, 1988). All organizations develop combinations of the four quadrants, with one or two quadrants often becoming more dominant than others (Dennison and Spreitzer, 1991; McDonald and Gandz, 1992).

It makes sense though in our paper to implement not just totally empirical definitions of individual and organizational value congruence but practical models reaching employee/employer value congruence in any organization working. One of help is the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) concept, acquired from innovative or other centers or self-borne by a growing quantity of organizations (including BMW, Nicon, etc. ). As Brad Petersen from Davis Advertising Inc.

in his article for Net Temps net-HR agency stated, EVP is “a measurement of the balance between what an employee receives from their employer in return for their performance on the job” (HR Quick Tips for Davis Advertising Inc. , www. Davisadv. com on http://www. net-temps. com/employers/hrcorner/). “In other words, – proceeds he, – it is the ‘get’ versus the ‘give. ’ If in the employees’ minds they ‘get’ rewards equal to or exceeding what they ‘give,’ the company will tend to have more satisfied employees and increased retention” and that is the simplest definition of employee/employer bonding value congruence we met.

To continue, in 2000 David Sutherland from Business Innovation Consorcium published an interesting document Attracting and Retaining World-Class Talent: The Employee Value Proposition. There Employee Value Proposition (EVP) was labeled “what a company offers employees that allows the company to attract and retain talent. ” It was emphasized that the given Employee Value Proposition should align with the Corporate Value Proposition. The given proposition represents a certain interest for our research as it drives a direct correlation between Values and Leadership (see Graph 1, 2).

Value Congruence in Correlation to Leadership Either we state value congruence as wage and benefits rates percepted by the employee and given by the employer; or in the stated above notions of values in general and systematic approaches coincide, we should derive the correlation by different means preferably on the practical data through interviews and statistically related instrumentum as far as the related research on value congruence (in accounting) lack correlation to leadership.

Porter though describes three approaches (1980) to competitive strategy (1985), which can be of use tracibg the basic elements of establishing value congruence. (1) a low-cost leadership strategy: its characteristics include a continuous emphasis on cost reduction (while maintaining acceptable levels of quality), tight controls and attaining economies of scale. (2) a differentiation strategy, when an organization seek ways to make its product or service unique. The strategy is exemplified by an emphasis on technical superiority, quality or high service. This generally requires an emphasis on quality rather than cost.

(3) a focus or niche strategy. An organization following can use either a low-cost leadership strategy or a differentiation strategy but will focus on a narrow portion of the market rather than the whole market. A rather recent study (Jackson, Schuler, & Rivero, 1989) indicated that differences in personnel practices vary with organizational characteristics such as industry sector, competitive strategy, and organizational structure. Additionally, systematic differences in human resource systems have been identified and described on the example of steel minimills (Arthur 1992, 1994).

This research has resulted in the labeling of two very different human resource systems namely control and commitment affecting employee value and types of leadership. (See Table 1) True that the achievement of value congruence between the leader and the led demands consensual decisions, individual rights and freedom of choice (Rost, 1991). Yet, free choice narrowly conceived can result in the tragedy of the commons. In the ethics of Nozick and Rand, the solution is found by negotiating interests in terms of a contract and then fulfilling that contract.

And indeed, “win-win” mathematical optimal solutions can be calculated (Brams & Taylor, 1996). “Contracts can be skewed in favor of those with more resources, contacts and “bargaining power. ” People often appreciate leadership which points the way out of dilemmas whether it comes from others within their own collective or from external authority,” Keith Ayers in her HR Magazine publication to trace the correlation between leadership behavioral models and better outcomes. Rost, reminiscent of Nozick and Rand, asks for leader-follower distinctions be erased to reach true participative democracy.

Burns (1998) partially agrees and would substitute for leaders and followers, initiators, supporters and opponents. But the counterarguments are that if everyone in a group is responsible for its leadership, no one is responsible. Furthermore, if a group is initially leaderless, the members compete with each other for leadership. One or more leaders emerge who initiate and propose more than the other members. Followers emerge who are responsive to the leaders, and non-responsive isolated persons remain who are passive (Bass, 1954).

“If trying to align the values of members of an organization with the good of all stakeholders is unethical, then it is unethical to contingently reward prison inmates with time off for good behavior or for transformational teachers to move pupils to internalize the values of good citizenship for the benefit of society. ” (Austin, 1998) “Libertarians would agree that one’s life plans are paramount but they are close to espousing anarchy as are the OD extremists who charge immorality if the transformational leader intervenes in the individual follower’s life plans”(Bass, 1998A, p.

179). “With this line of thinking that it is immoral to align the values and behavior of organizational leaders and followers, it then is unethical to send a soldier into harm’s way or to require an employee to avoid disclosing trade secrets of the former employer when the employee transfers to a competing firm. ” (Austin, 1998) It is stated that the leaders are aided by acculturation processes, for as followers are socialized into an organization, the congruence increases between their values and the values of the organization (O’Reilly et al.

, l991). And the congruence results in leaders being seen by followers as more considerate, competent, and successful (Weiss, 1978). Additionally, followers are more satisfied with their assignments (Engelbrecht & Murray, 1993). “For human relationists, the coming together of the values of the leader and followers is morally acceptable only if it comes about from participative decision-making pursuing consensus between leaders and followers,” says Austin and so right is he.

Fernandez and Hogan establish the following correlation: values are important to understanding leadership because they explain the focus and direction of people’s actions. The researchers used in their work the Motives, Values, and Preferences Inventory (MVPI), a 10-scale instrument designed to assess an individual’s core values. While studying the relationship between values and leadership, they uncovered four different values clusters. Each of the clusters produces a coherent, explicit managerial character.

They are: the strategist (driven by power, recognition, and excitement; create a work environment that is competitive and confrontational; rely on employees to whom they can delegate the day-to-day operation of their organizations, as well as those who possess excellent analytical and planning skills), the analyst (control resources and pursue stability and predictability; develop detailed prescriptive policies, procedures, and rewards to reinforce desired behaviors; prize experience and usually promote people with many years of service to the corporate team), the mentor (value collaboration, maintain high standards; spend the majority of their time in personnel-related activities, such as recruiting, performance reviews, and career planning; prize employees who embody the ‘company way’), and the innovator (value knowledge and imagination; build an environment that is conducive to learning and experimentation; pay special attention to revamping an organization’s performance evaluation and reward systems).

“Imagine a work environment where all employees are fully engaged in what they do and go to extreme lengths to fulfill their responsibilities each day, ” invites Keith Ayers in her HR Magazine publication to trace the correlation between leadership behavioral models and better outcomes. Suggesting the variant of values congruence between management and the staff she proposes a place where people want to work to be “a workplace based on trust and personal responsibility. ” The challenge for most managers is not just sticking to the given organizational outcome by promoting and rewarding the given responsible employees, but to get the rest of their employees to be accountable, too.

“Accountability is the natural outcome of a person deciding to take responsibility for something. People cannot be held accountable; they can only choose to be accountable, ” states the HR professional. Relatively, she devides employees into self-directed people (those who see themselves as responsible for their behavior and performance, thus who want to be held accountable) and other-directed ones. The researchers warn that using an authoritarian or control-based approach to enforcing accountability would drive at self-directed people leave, and other-directed people stay. “Many managers fear entrusting employees with the responsibility of defining their own success and determining how to reach it through their performance.

As a result of this fear, managers attempt to hold people accountable by insisting on compliance with policies and procedures, establishing goals and performance standards for employees, or offering incentives in an attempt to motivate people to comply. ” (Ayers) The practical research does not support this fear. (Employees who are trusted and given more say over how they do their jobs are more engaged, more committed and more productive. They achieve more. ) (ibid. ) The primary fears about being held accountable among employees are, e. g. , negative consequences if they don’t succeed. The reason is not trusting management enough to take the risk.

The author points at several elements of trust-building environment: being free exchange of information; clear expectations and disagreements discussed as well as individual performance; differences should be valued for employees feeling respected for their contribution and having input into how the organization can be more successful; keeping people’s commitments. The researcher eliminates 4 elements of trust: congruence ( “I walk my talk. ”); openness (“I can take good news or bad news, but I can’t handle surprises. ”); acceptance (“Take me as I am, not judge. ”), and reliability (“Keep the promise. ”). “Building a responsibility-based culture can only happen if leaders at all levels of the organization understand that they are responsible for the work environment they create, and that the work environment has a significant impact on whether people will choose to be responsible and accountable. ” underlines Ayers. These are the words to nut-shell the core essence of value-leadership correlation.

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