Terminal and Instrumental Values

Values Nature, Sources, Classification and Types

Table of Contents:-

  1. Sources of Values
  2. Values Meaning
  3. Values Definition
  4. Types of Values
  5. Nature of Values
  6. Classification of Values
  7. Importance of Values
  8. Managerial Implications of Values 
  9. Types of values in organisational behaviour
  10. What are the sources of value?

Sources of Values

Parents, teachers, friends, and external reference groups serve as sources of values and can influence personal standards. A person’s beliefs develop due to learning and experiences within the cultural setting in which they live. Since learning and experiences vary from one individual to another, differences in values are inevitable outcomes. Not only do standards differ, but their ranking in terms of importance also varies from one person to another. An individual learns and develops their character due to the following factors or sources of values:

sources of values

The sources of values are fundamental concepts that extend across multiple fields, including philosophy, psychology, and sociology. It offers a complete framework for understanding and examining the principles and beliefs influencing human behavior. This concept enhances individual knowledge of the complex workings of the human mind and society.

Different 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

Familial factors play a fundamental role in shaping an individual’s personality, values, beliefs, norms, behaviours, and overall development, and they serve as the foundation for socialization within society. The elements involved in familial factors include learning social behaviour, relationships with family members, parenting styles, beliefs, communication patterns, family traditions, and norms, all of which are shaped through these practices.

For example, parents motivate their children to excel and develop into morally upright individuals by demonstrating their love and affection through rewards and punishments.

2) Social Factors

After family, society also plays a significant role in developing an individual’s value system. Of the societal factors, the school has an important role to play in the development of morals. A child learns desirable behaviours, basic manners, and discipline from the school. Other than educational institutions such as schools and colleges, different groups of society, such as religious groups and economic and political groups to which an individual belongs, also affect an individual’s value system.

3) Personal Factors

Personal factors like talent, intelligence, appearance, skill and level of education or knowledge of an individual determine his development standards. 

For example, A person’s higher level of emotional intelligence may result in a faster understanding of ethics.

4) Cultural Factors

Culture refers to a set of norms, 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 measures. 

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

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5) Religious Factors

People generally, receive strength and comfort from their religion. Religion conveys a structured set of morals down the line from one generation to another. Development in technology has under-viewed faith in traditional religious beliefs and standards. 

6) Life Experiences

A person learns the most from their own life experiences, although they can also learn from the experiences of others. Over time, individuals validate most of the beliefs that influence their behaviour through the satisfaction they experience when pursuing them.

Individuals develop their values based on what seems most logical to them. Attitude holds significance in direct proportion to the individual’s faith in them. They should possess values that can withstand the test of reality. Rather than maintaining a rigid attitude, they should have a flexible system that can adapt to changes in themselves, their life situations, and the Socio Cultural Environment.

7) Role Demands

Role demand refers to the behaviour associated with a particular position in the organization. All organizations have both formal and informal codes of behaviour. Role demand can create problems when there is a role conflict.

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

For example, if the informal code of behaviour dictates that the manager must socialize with subordinates, they should learn to do so even if their value system conflicts with their role as a manager.

8) Halo Effect

The halo effect refers to the tendency to judge people based on a single trait, which may be good or bad, favourable or unfavourable. Sometimes, we judge a person based on our initial impression of them.

For example, if a person is kind, they will also be perceived as good, able, nice, helpful, cheerful, intelligent, and so on. Conversely, if a person is abrasive, they will also be perceived as awful, unkind, bad, harmful, aggressive, and wicked.

Thus, what a person perceives in the universe partly depends on inner needs. With the help of the halo effect, we attribute certain values to others that may not be present, but we perceive them to be there.

Values Meaning

Values can be defined as an individual’s beliefs concerning appropriate courses of action or outcomes. It reflects 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, personalityperception, 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 organisational behaviour has are fairness, innovation and community involvement.

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 an individual that are deemed desirable. Values are similar to attitudes but they are permanent and well-built.

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”.

As per 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

Milton Rokeach conducted a survey popularly known as the Rokeach Value Survey (RVS) to classify values. The RVS consists of two types of value sets, each containing 18 individual value items. One set is known as Terminal Values, and the other is called Instrumental Values.

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

  • Terminal Values
  • Instrumental Values

1) Terminal Values

Terminal values are like the big, important goals a person wants to achieve in their whole life. They represent the outcomes that a person really desires and works hard to achieve in his life. It leads to ends to be achieved e.g., family security, self-respect, comfortable life, and a sense of accomplishment. It reflects 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, excellence, innovativeness, responsibility, economy, morality, 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 salvation, pleasure, happiness, accomplishment, 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.

The examples of terminal values are as follows:

  1. Sense of accomplishment (lasting contribution)
  2. Comfortable life
  3. Mature love (spiritual intimacy)
  4. Family security (caring the loved ones)
  5. Wisdom (good judgement of life)
  6. Self-respect (self prestige)
  7. Freedom (to be independent)
  8. Exciting life (active and thrilling life)
  9. True friendship (closeness with others)
  10. Social recognition (to gain respect and appreciation)
  11. A world of beauty (the beauty of arts and nature)
  12. A world of peace (freedom from stress and conflicts)
  13. Happiness
  14. Equality (equal opportunity for all)
  15. National security
  16. Inner harmony
  17. Salvation
  18. Pleasure

2) Instrumental Values

Instrumental values refer to the preferred modes of behaviour or means to achieve desirable objectives. They serve as the means for attaining terminal values. For example, the instrumental value that can help achieve the terminal value of ‘true friendship’ is being ‘responsible.’ Similarly, the instrumental value ‘independent’ can aid in achieving the terminal value ‘freedom.’

Instrumental values relate to means for achieving desired ends, e.g., ambition, courage, honesty, and imagination. It reflects an individual’s approach to achieving their goals. An instrumental value refers to 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 standards are alternative behaviours or means by which a person achieves desired end-states. Sample instrumental values include honesty, ambition, love, independence, and obedience.

The examples of instrumental values are given as follows:

  1. Broadminded
  2. Ambitious
  3. Cheerful
  4. Capable
  5. Courageous
  6. Clean
  7. Helpful
  8. Forgiving
  9. Imaginative
  10. Honest
  11. Intellectual
  12. Independent
  13. Loving
  14. Logical
  15. Polite
  16. Obedient
  17. Self-controlled
  18. Responsible

The key thing to remember about instrumental values is their role in guiding individuals on how to behave while striving to achieve their goals.

 Terminal and Instrumental Values

Values help an individuals conduct themselves appropriately while interacting with other individuals or groups. According to Rokeach, values serve the following functions:

  • They influence people to favour one particular situation or ideology over another.
  • They lead people to a particular position on social issues.
  • They guide people in presenting themselves to others, judging, evaluating, and praising others.
  • They help people evaluate themselves in comparison to others on moral grounds.
  • They help individuals influence and persuade others to change their attitudes, behaviour and beliefs.

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 morals, ideas, attitude, 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

Beliefs 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

The classification of values is as follows:

  1. Human Values
  2. Social Values
  3. Business Values
  4. Community Values
  5. Family Values
  6. Professional Values
  7. National Values
  8. Secular Values
  9. Spiritual Values

The following topics cover the classification of values in detail:

1) Human Values

Human values consist of all those morals that are universally applicable to all people. These beliefs relate to truth, righteousness, peace, love, compassion, harmony, non-violence, and appropriate ethical, human 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 beliefs include tolerance of mutual respect, understanding, co-existence, cooperation, coordination, etc., for the good of one and all. 

3) Business Values

Business standards comprise all those ethical behavioural aspects in all business dealings and transactions. Harmonious and holistic business practices will ensure greater customer satisfaction, while business standards 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 standards 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 morals to be cherished.

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6) Professional Values

Professional classification of values includes the rules of conduct, ethical behaviour, patterns, and norms for various professions.

7) National Values

The national classification of values comprises 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 classification of values system approach to HRM, the facts of life are the major source of inspiration and not the religious way. It treats the person based on actuality. Secular value focuses on practical orientation and independent efforts. These standards 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 actions and decisions that are undertaken, which are consciously performed.

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 actions 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 negatively affect 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. 

Standards 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 are the means to guide their respective behaviours. The behaviour of organisations is also guided by these principles.

4) Forms Core of Identity

Attitude reflects an individual fundamental belief, guides their behaviour, and influences decision making. They take their form in actions, not in words; they are expressed not by what one says, but by what one does. 

Business ethics can be used to harness the human energy of an organisation and to create an atmosphere of viability, loyalty, and pride. It has been increasingly recognized as providing an essential foundation and framework for guiding individual and group behaviour.

5) Works as a Unifying Force

Business ethics 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 codes 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 developments 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 staffing patterns. 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 beliefs and the organisation’s beliefs, 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) Set Direction

The second-place values ​​play an important organizational role, is in helping to set direction. In conjunction with mission and vision, principles ​​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 ethics. Any decision-maker, at any level in an organisation, who makes decisions that align with the organisation’s standards 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 with the Organisation’s 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?

Values are desires or goals approved by society. They are learned during the process of socialization and profoundly influence a person’s personality. All values are closely interlinked and interrelated, making the classification into distinct categories a challenging task. Values have been classified differently in various disciplines. They are akin to the beliefs that individuals or groups hold. These beliefs can be expressed verbally or felt internally.

2. State Values definition

According to H.M. Johnson – “Values are general standards and may be regarded as higher-order norms.”

According to Peter Worsley – “Values are general conceptions of “the good” ideas about the kind of ends that people should pursue throughout their lives and throughout the many different activities in which they engage.”

3. What are the sources of value?

A person may develop different values from the following sources :

a) Society: After the family, society also plays a major role in developing the value system of an individual. Children learn basic manners and discipline from school. Interaction with classmates, friends, and teachers in schools and other institutions also instils important values in the child. Besides schools and colleges, other groups in society, such as religious, economic, and political groups to which an individual belongs, also affect the value system.

b) Family: Family is the primary and most crucial source of obtaining values. Every child learns values from their family since childhood and retains those values throughout life. The way parents nurture, educate, and raise their child shapes their personalities and instils values in them. The family is the most influential source in an individual’s learning of norms and values.

c) Culture: Cultural factors influencing the value system include norms, beliefs, and other behaviour patterns preferred and accepted by society. Values learned from culture are passed from one generation to another. An individual belongs to a society, group, and organization, making them a composite of many cultural elements. Whether an individual is cooperative, friendly, or helpful depends on the culture to which they belong.

d) Personal factors: Personal characteristics like intelligence, ability, appearance, and education level strongly determine a person’s value system. For example, an educated and intelligent person will understand and learn social and work-related values relatively faster than an uneducated person.

e) Role demands: Role demands refer to the behaviour associated with a particular position or role profile in an organization. Every individual plays multiple roles in their life, such as an employee, family member, and friend. Problems arise only when there is a role conflict. In such cases, individuals quickly learn the value system prevailing in the organization to survive and progress.

f) Religion: Generally, individuals derive strength and comfort from the religion they follow. Religion comprises a set of values and traditions guiding routine behaviour and decision-making. Religious values help people determine what is good or bad.

g) Life experiences: Apart from the mentioned sources, a person learns the most from their own experiences and sometimes from the experiences of others. Values learned from personal life experiences are relatively long-lasting and challenging to change.

4. What is the meaning of values?

Values, as a part of life, operate in a very complex manner and typically involve more than simple extremes of right and wrong, good or bad, true or false. The conditions under which behaviour is guided, where values come into play, involve conflicting demands, a process of weighing and balancing, and ultimately result in actions that reflect a multitude of forces.

5. What is meant by values?

Values form the basis for all thoughts, behaviours, and actions. Once people know what is valuable to them, these values become the foundation, the anchor for their actions. It’s also important for them to understand the universality of various human values because only then can they have a definite and common program for value education. Only then can they be assured of a happy and harmonious human society.

6. Explain the types of values in organisational behaviour.

According to G.W. Allport, P.E. Vernon, and G. Lindzey, there are six major types of values in organisational behaviour as listed below:

a) Economic values: These values refer to one’s interest in practicality, usefulness, and accumulating wealth. The ideal economic person values whatever is useful.

b) Theoretical values: These values reflect a person’s interest in the discovery of truth through systematic thinking and reasoning. An ideal theoretical person values the discovery of truth.

c) Social values: These values reflect an individual’s interest in relationships. The ideal social person gives importance to a sense of belongingness and love.

d) Aesthetic values: These values reflect an individual’s interest in art, beauty, and creativity. The ideal aesthetic person relishes artistic and aesthetic experiences in life.

e) Religious values: These values reflect one’s interest in unity.

f) Political values: These values reflect one’s interest in obtaining power and influencing others’ behaviour. The ideal political person gives more importance to power.

7. Explain the characteristics of values.

Values generally encompass a sense of moral principles that guide an individual on what is right, good, and desirable. The characteristics of values are outlined as follows:

a) Values are less in number than attitudes.

b) Values establish standards for proficiency and integrity.

c) Values typically go beyond specific objects, situations, or persons.

d) Values are most central to the core of an individual.

e) When values are ranked in terms of their importance, it results in the value system of that person.

f) Values are somewhat permanent and resistant to change.

g) The value system of an individual provides a hierarchical framework that indicates the relative importance assigned to different values such as freedom, self-respect, honesty, and so on.

8. What is the best definition of value?

According to Kluckhohn (1951) – “A value is a conception, explicit or implicit, distinctive of an individual or characteristic of a group, of the desirable, which influence the selection from available modes, means and ends of action.”

9. Explain the organisational values.

Organizations have certain core values that are so deeply ingrained that they guide the company’s actions and practices to establish an organisational culture. Successful firms adhere to a distinct and identifiable set of values, including management’s beliefs about service quality, innovation, the importance of human resources, the detail of information, openness of communication, and more. Four common types of organizational values are:

  • Power, elitism, and reward.
  • Effectiveness, efficiency, and economy.
  • Fairness, teamwork, and law and order.
  • Defence, competitiveness, and opportunism.

10. Explain the Work values.

Work values refer to the concept of what is preferable among given alternative modes of conduct and end states concerning one’s work. In simple terms, it can be described as individually held conceptions of what is desirable and undesirable concerning an individual’s work activities. T.V. Rao proposed the following framework of work values, describing the best career where an individual will give their best:

  • Economic (Satisfaction of financial needs)
  • Challenge and creativity (Scope to do new things)
  • Service (Desire to serve others)
  • Independence (Freedom, autonomy)
  • Status (Designation and prestige)
  • Work conditions (Conditions improving individual’s productivity)
  • Security (Continuity of job)
  • Academic (Relationship of work and academics)
  • Co-workers (Availability of good colleagues)

11. Explain the Importance of values.

The importance of values can be understood from the following points:

a) The value system of an individual influences their perception of whatever is happening in the environment.

b) Values provide the basic framework for understanding the attitudes and motivations of an individual.

c) The value system influences an individual’s decision-making and choice of solutions to various problems.

d) Values symbolize the distinction between right and wrong.

e) Values influence the behaviour of an individual, providing criteria for evaluating the behaviour of others.

f) To meet the challenge of reconstructing established work values worldwide, understanding values becomes necessary for every manager in the organization.

g) Values also serve a social function in an organization. Those values derived from common experiences help unite societies and groups.

12. Explain Values across culture.

Due to globalization, working with people of different cultures has become a common practice. In all multinational organizations, you will find executives hailing from various cultural backgrounds. Values differ across cultures. Therefore, it has become crucial for managers to understand the differences in values across cultures so that they can understand and predict the behaviour of employees from different cultural backgrounds. Hofstede’s framework is the most common approach used to assess and understand the variations of values across different cultures. Hofstede surveyed more than 118,000 employees of IBM working across 40 countries in the late 1970s to evaluate their work-related values.

The survey found that the values of employees vary on six dimensions of culture, which are explained below:

a) Individualism Vs. Collectivism: This value reflects people’s preference for individual goals or group goals. Individualism refers to the degree to which people value individual goals over group goals, behaving more individually and believing that individual rights are paramount. In contrast, collectivism is the degree to which individuals prioritize group goals over individual goals, emphasizing a social framework where group members protect and care for each other.

b) Power Distance: Power distance is the degree to which people accept an uneven distribution of power in society and institutions. People with high power distance tend to accept unequal power distribution, while those with low power distance prefer equal power distribution. Low power distance cultures adopt a participative style of management, whereas high power distance cultures adopt an autocratic style of management.

c) Uncertainty Avoidance: Uncertainty avoidance shows the degree to which people in a country prefer structured and planned situations over unstructured and unplanned situations. This value reflects people’s tendency to tolerate or avoid uncertainty and ambiguity. High uncertainty avoidance countries have an increased apprehension for uncertainty and ambiguity, preferring rules, regulations, and laws to avoid uncertainty. In contrast, low uncertainty avoidance countries take more risks, are less rule-oriented, and embrace change.

d) Masculinity Vs. Femininity: The value of masculinity represents the degree to which a culture favours traditional masculine roles like achievement, control, and power, often not providing equality for men and women and assigning separate roles. Masculine societies are generally male-dominated. In contrast, femininity value represents little or no demarcation between the roles of males and females, with such societies respecting both genders equally.

e) Indulgence Vs. Restraint: Indulgence is the degree to which people prefer to enjoy life, have fun, and fulfil natural desires. Restraint is the degree to which gratification of an individual’s needs, desires, and behaviour is governed by social norms.

f) Long-term Vs. Short-term Orientation: Long-term orientation is a national value that emphasizes the future, saving, and perseverance. Countries with long-term orientation tend to focus more on the future than the present. On the other hand, short-term orientation emphasizes the past and present.


Values are enduring and stable beliefs about what is good or bad. To understand organizational behaviour, it is important to study values first, as an individual’s values strongly influence their attitudes, perceptions, needs, and motives in the workplace. Values wield a powerful influence on human behaviour. Effective managers must study the value system underpinning employees’ behaviour to understand why people behave in certain ways. Values can be defined as the fundamental convictions guiding an individual, determining whether a particular mode of conduct or outcome is personally or socially acceptable. It involves judgment, shaping an individual’s understanding of what is good or bad, desirable or undesirable. Values are both inherited and learned through the process of socialization.

Values can be categorized into two types: terminal values and instrumental values. Terminal values represent desirable outcomes, the ultimate goals a person strives to achieve in their lifetime. Instrumental values refer to the preferred modes of behaviour or means to achieve desirable ends, serving as the medium for attaining terminal values. Organizational values are core values deeply ingrained, guiding a company’s actions and practices to establish an organizational culture.

Work values refer to the concept of what is preferable in terms of conduct and end states concerning one’s work. In simple terms, they have individually held conceptions of what is desirable or undesirable about one’s work activities.

Major sources from which individuals derive values include family, society, religion, culture, personal factors, life experiences, and role demands. Due to globalization, working with people of different cultures has become common. In multinational organizations, executives often come from diverse cultural backgrounds, and values can differ across cultures. Therefore, managers must understand these differences to predict the behaviour of employees from different countries. Hofstede’s framework, assessing cultures on dimensions such as power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism vs. collectivism, masculinity vs. femininity, long-term orientation vs. short-term orientation, and indulgence vs. restraint, is a common approach to understanding variations in values across different cultures.

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