Nature, Sources, Classification and Types of Values

Table of Content:-

What do you mean by values?

Values Meaning

Meaning of values: Values can be defined as an individual’s beliefs concerning appropriate courses of action or outcomes. Values reflect an individual’s sense of right or wrong and what “ought” to be. Values are so taught that they can be presumed from people’s behaviour, personality, perception, and motivation. They generally influence their behaviour. Values are relatively stable and enduring. This is because of how they are learned initially. 

Some typical values organizational behaviour has are fairness, innovation and community involvement.

Concept of values: A value system is seen as a  permanent perceptual framework that influences the nature of a person’s behaviour. Values are the attributes possessed by a person and thought desirable. Values are similar to attitudes but they are permanent and well-built in nature.

Everyone has a hierarchy of values that forms a value system. This system is identified by the relative importance they assign to such values as respect, equality, freedom, self-respect, obedience, honesty, and so on. 

Values Definition

According to M.Rokeach, “Values are global beliefs that guide actions and judgements across a variety of situations”.

According to Stephen Robbins, “Values are specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence that is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of existence”.

According to Edward Spranger, “Values are a constellation of viewpoints, prejudice, inner inclinations, likes & dislikes, rational & irrational judgements, and association patterns that determine a person’s view of the world”.

Types of Values

According to Rokeach’s classification, values can be of the following types:

  • Terminal Values
  • Instrumental Values

1) Terminal Values: ‘Terminal values’ lead to ends to be achieved e.g.,  family security, self-respect, comfortable life, and a sense of accomplishment. Terminal values reflect what a person is ultimately trying to achieve. A terminal value is an outcome or desired end state that people seek to achieve. 

Organisations might adopt any of the following as terminal values, or guiding principles-quality, responsibility, excellence, innovativeness, morality, economy, and profitability. Large insurance companies, e.g., may value profitability, but their terminal values are often stable and predictable because the company cannot afford to take risks. It must be there to pay off the policyholder’s claims. 

Terminal values, such as a sense of pleasure, salvation, accomplishment, happiness, and wisdom are life goals or desired end-states. These values represent the things that an individual wants to achieve or accomplish during their life.

2) Instrumental Values: Instrumental values relate to means for achieving desired ends, e.g., ambition, courage, honesty, and imagination. Instrumental values reflect how an individual gets there. An instrumental value is a desired mode or type of behaviour. 

Modes of behaviour that organizations advocate include hard work, respecting authority, traditions, courage, being conservative, cautious, creative, frugal, honest, taking risks, and maintaining a high standard.

Instrumental values are alternative behaviours or means by which a person achieves desired end-states. Sample instrumental values include ambition, honesty, independence, love, and obedience.

The key thing to remember about instrumental values is that they direct us in determining how individuals should behave in the pursuit of our goals.

Terminal and Instrumental Values
Table: Terminal and Instrumental Values

Nature of Values

The nature of values is as follows:

1) Part of Culture: Values are elements of culture, which are a complex set of values, ideas, attitudes, and other meaningful symbols to shape human behaviour in society. Every society has its own unique culture and people in that society follow the cultural requirements.

2) Learned Responses: Values are learned responses. Some of these responses are learned from direct everyday experiences, such that we maintain those responses whenever we are confronted by the experiences from which they developed. Other orientations are learned from vicarious experiences, such that our response to a given experience is generalized to other similar experiences.

3) Inculcated: Values are inculcated and passed from generation to generation by specific groups and institutions. Such transmission starts from the family where the socialization process begins. Apart from family, religious, educational, and ethnic institutions also transmit values from one generation to another.

4) Social Phenomenon: Values are a social phenomenon, that is, cultural habits are shared by aggregates of people living in an organized society. An individual’s way of behaving and thinking is not culture, but group behaviour constitutes culture. The group is developed and reinforced through social pressure upon those who are interacting with one another.

5) Gratifying Responses: Values exist to meet the biological and other needs of the individuals in society. Thus, elements in the culture become extinguished when they are no longer gratifying to members of society. Society rewards behaviours that are gratifying for its members.

6) Adaptive Process: Culture is adaptive, either through an evolutionary or dialectical process. Dialectical or sharply discontinuous change occurs when the value system of culture becomes associated with the gratification of only one group or class in the environment. In such a case, other classes of society reject the logic of the “value system” and replace it with a “new value system”, such as through revolution or other methods. In the evolutionary process, the change occurs as a gradual process, but not through revolution.

Nature of values

Classification of Values

Values can be classified as follows:

1) Human Values: Human values consist of all those values that are universally applicable to all people These values relate to truth, righteousness, peace, love, compassion, harmony, non-violence, and appropriate ethical, humane behaviour.

2) Social Values: Social values are certain qualities and beliefs that are shared within a specific culture or group of people. In other words, social values comprise all those values which people living in society and having common needs and requirements, should practice and strictly adhere to, in the interests of making the lives of all members of the society congenial and happy, thereby promoting the welfare of the people. These values include tolerance of mutual respect, understanding, co-existence, cooperation, coordination, etc., for the good of one and all. 

3) Business Values: Business values comprise all those ethical behavioural aspects in all business dealings and transactions. Harmonious and holistic business practices will ensure greater customer satisfaction, while business values cannot bypass profits earned reasonably and ethically respecting the laws of the land. Businesses mustn’t get entangled in unscrupulous, unethical, immoral practices involving harmful repercussions on the concerned persons. Businesses can ethically survive if customers are encouraged to thrive.

4) Community Values: Community values consist of the rules framed for the welfare and development of the concerned communities. These norms are prescribed by clubs, associations, and public organisations or by the committees of panchayats in villages and rural areas.

5) Family Values: Family values involve the bonds of affection between different members within nuclear joint families, respect towards elders, Ethical behaviour of youngsters towards their parents and teachers and also the responsibilities of parents towards their children, which are values to be cherished.

Related Article:- Types of Motivation

6) Professional Values: Professional values include the rules of conduct, ethical behaviour, patterns, and norms for various professions.

7) National Values: National values comprise the rights and responsibilities of citizens. They also include the entire gamut of civic duties. National integration can be promoted if citizens promote activities for the promotion of communal harmony, national integration, and understanding between various classes of persons belonging to various parts of the country. National prestige can be enhanced by strengthening the bonds of unity and affinity between different religious groups of the country.

8) Secular Values: In the secular value system approach, the facts of life are the major source of inspiration and not the religious way. It treats the person based on actuality. Secular values focus on practical orientation and independent efforts. These values focus on scientific facts. It emphasizes that there is no superior or inferior caste; in the same way, there is no superior or inferior religion. All human beings are equal and should be treated in the same manner.

9) Spiritual Values: Spirituality refers to the concept of value, soul or feelings that we have in our inner hearts. Out of the limitations of physical life, there is a limitless world, where a person works from his real satisfaction or inner satisfaction and, for the satisfaction of others. The things, which affect human beings. are called spiritual things. The spiritual value for managers suggests having a higher level of consciousness, which means that a manager must be aware of the positive and negative effects of his action and decisions that are undertaken, which are consciously performed.

Sources of Values

Parents, teachers, friends, and external reference groups are sources of value and can influence personal values. A person’s values develop as a result of learning and experience in the cultural setting in which he lives. As learning and experiences vary from one individual to another, value differences are indispensable results. Not only the values but their ranking also in terms of importance differs from one person to another. A person learns and develops values because of the following factors or sources:

Sources of Values

Sources of Values are as follows:

  • Familial Factors
  • Personal Factors
  • Religious Factors
  • Role Demands
  • Social Factors
  • Cultural Factors
  • Life Experiences
  • Halo Effect

1) Familial Factors: A significant factor influencing the process of socialization of an individual is the role of the family. The child-rearing practices that parents use shape the individual’s personality. The learning of social behaviour, values, and norms comes through these practices. 

For example, through reward and punishment, parents show love and affection to their children which motivates them to perform better and become good people.

2) Social Factors: Of the societal factors, the school has a major role to play in the development of values. Through discipline in school, a child leams desirable behaviours important in the school setting.

3) Personal Factors: Personal factors like aptitude, look, skill, and individual level of education or knowledge determine his development of values. 

For example, one’s a higher level of intelligence may result in a faster understanding of values.

4) Cultural Factors: Culture refers to a set of values, rules& standards transmitted among generations and acted upon to produce behaviours that fall within acceptable limits. These rules & standards always play an important part in determining values. 

For example, it is good to give a place to the elder one.

5) Religious Factors: People generally, receive strength and comfort from their religion. Religion comprises a formal set of values that are passed on from generation to generation. Development in technology has under-viewed faith in traditional religious beliefs and values. 

6) Life Experiences: A person learns the most from his own life experience. Sometimes a man can learn from the experience of others also. In the long run, most of the values that influence our behaviour are validated by the satisfaction we have experienced in pursuing them. 

Individuals work out their values based on what seems most logical to them. Values carry importance in direct proportion to how much faith the individual has in them. He should have those values which can run out the test of reality. He should not have rigid values but a flexible system that can change with the changes in the individual himself and his life situation and the socio-economic environment.

7) Role Demands: Role demand refers to the behaviour associated with a particular position in the organisation. All organisations have some formal and some informal codes of behaviour. Role demand can create problems when there is a role conflict

Thus, the managers will have to quickly learn the value system prevalent in the organisation, if they want to move up the ladder of success. 

For example, if the informal code of behaviour says that the manager must mix up socially with the subordinates, he should learn to do so even though, his value system conflicts with his role as a manager.

8) Halo Effect: The halo effect refers to the propensity of judging people based on a single trait, which may be good or bad, favourable or unfavourable. Sometimes, we judge a person by the first impression of him or her. 

For example, if a person is kind, he will also be perceived as good, able, nice, helpful, cheerful, intelligent, and so on. On the other hand, if a person is abrasive, he shall also be perceived as awful, unkind, bad, harmful, aggressive, and wicked. 

Thus, what a person sees in the universe depends partly on one’s inner needs. Thus, with the help of the halo effect, we see certain values in others that are not there, but we perceive them to be there.

Importance of Values

Values are important to the study of organisational behaviour because of the following reasons:

1) Effects on Individual’s Thoughts and Actions: Gracious values are reflected in the action of an employee or an individual. Through their excellence in action, an employee can easily fetch rewards. Whereas a negative approach toward values can bring disaster, which will result in a bad effect on an employee’s career.

2) Influences Employee’s Motivation: Values affect employees’ motivation by determining what rewards are required. Employee preference is given importance in providing rewards that can be monetary gain or a holiday package with family. 

Values have a direct impact on the motivation system. An understanding of these may help the manager in designing a suitable motivation system for employees in the organisation. 

3) Relates to Belief System: The principles or ideas in which groups and individuals may believe strongly and they are the means to guide their respective behaviours. The behaviour of organisations is also guided by these principles.

4) Forms Core of Identity: Values reflect their fundamental beliefs, guide their behaviour, and influence decision-making. Values take their form in actions, not in words; they are expressed not by what one says, but by what one does. 

Values can be used to harness the human energy of an organisation and to create an atmosphere of viability, loyalty, and pride. Values have been increasingly recognized as providing an essential foundation and framework for guiding individual and organisational behaviour.

5) Works as a Unifying Force: Values are always the unifying force of an organisation and have a strong identity. It is an approach to organisational change based on a reassessment and realignment of values that guide the work of those in the organisation that has proven successful in transforming a variety of public organisations.

6) Influences Attitude and Behaviour: Values lay the foundation for understanding one’s attitude and behaviour. It is, therefore, these values that are taken into account by the manager while formulating various personnel policies in the organisation. 

Alignment of values with organisational policies may encourage employees to produce more desirable working behaviour and to develop a favourable attitude. If organisational policies are not in line with the personal values of the employees, they may get disappointed and their performance level may be adversely affected.

For example, employees who give more value to their efficiency and hard work to secure promotion may be upset if promotions are granted only on a seniority basis.

7) Creates Credibility: An organisation that is believed to be driven by moral values is respected in society even by those who may have no information about the working and the businesses or an organisation. 

For example, Infosys is perceived as an organisation for good corporate governance and social responsibility initiatives. This perception is held far and wide even by those who do not even know what business the organisation is into.

8) Provides Guidelines for Decision: Making and Conflict Resolution: Those managers who give value to personal integrity are less likely to make decisions they know can be more injurious to others. Honesty tests and integrity are the most interesting development in the area of values and decision-making.

 Managerial Implications of Values 

The managerial implications of values are as follows:

1) Hiring Practices: The first tangible application of core values shows itself in hiring practices. Many companies bemoan the cost of turnover, but few analyze the integrity of the fit of candidates during the recruiting and hiring process. 

A good hiring or functional manager, equipped with a set of questions to determine the consonance between the candidate’s values and the organisation’s values, will make a much better choice than the manager considering credentials alone about whether or not the candidate will work well in that company’s environment. 

The integrity of fit reduces the likelihood of friction between the employee and organisation, turnover, and time-consuming and costly employee relations work later on.

2) Sets Direction: The second-place values ​​play an important organizational role, is in helping to set direction. In conjunction with mission and vision, values ​​help form an organisation’s identity and culture. Leadership must align around a set of behaviours by which they will conduct their business, communicate them verbally, and demonstrate them behaviorally. 

In the best cases, organizational leaders are acutely aware of how they demonstrate the organisation’s values ​​and reinforce them in all their interactions with people daily. These behaviours, on display for everyone to see, become normative models for all others to emulate.

3) Assistance in Decision-Making: Clearly defined values provide critical assistance in decision-making, particularly for leaders who are not at the very top of the organisation. One of the biggest challenges for middle managers is making decisions that can stand up to scrutiny and the second-guessing of stakeholders who do not reap immediate benefits from those decisions. 

Under the right conditions, decision-making can come virtually to a halt, as managers seek approval and advice from those stakeholders who live higher up on the food chain. Naturally, many of these stakeholders have conflicting interests, and their advice is too often influenced by those interests as opposed to what the best outcome would be for the organisation. 

Of course, what is good for the organisation is reflected in its values. Any decision-maker, at any level in an organisation, who makes decisions that align with the organisation’s values will be able to justify a decision to any other stakeholder in that organisation (and will derive the fringe benefit of being able to sleep better). 

While alignment does not guarantee their decision will be implemented, it does ensure they will be able to answer the second-guessing and stand behind any decision they make.

4) Aligned to the Organisation Strategy: Finally, values have a relationship to an organisation’s strategy. A strategy is a plan that leaders put in place to achieve their goals. 


  • 1. What do you mean by values?
  • 2. Values definition and examples.
  • 3. State sources of value.
  • 4. What is the meaning of values?
  • 5. What is the best definition of value?
  • 6. What is meant by values?
  • 7. Explain the types of values in organisational behaviour.
  • 8. Explain the characteristics of values.
  • 9. Explain the features of values.
  • 10. Explain the meaning and nature of values.