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Our values determine why we choose to behave in the way we do; authentic leaders know their personal values and how these align with the values of their organisation (Institute of Leadership & Management, 2017). 

Values drive how we act, influence the decisions we make, who we trust and many more aspects of our lives (Institute of Leadership & Management, 2018b). Our personal values are often ingrained from our earliest years; instilled by parents, extended family, peers and our education, but as we grow we begin to define our own values and choose which values to hold. 

Corporate values set the tone for the moral and ethical behaviour of an organisation. People have ever-increasing expectations about acceptable conduct and, through social media, views on organisational behaviour can spread quickly, rapidly damaging or building reputations (Institute of Leadership & Management, 2018a). 

Research highlights

Our research found that there were big differences between top-ranked organisational values and top-ranked personal values, and we found age and gender differences as well as divergence between people in different types of roles. Very few people had active involvement in developing their organisational values, with many organisations failing to capitalise on the enthusiasm and creativity of their younger and more junior employees during values setting.  

Our key findings explore:

  • Diversity of values within organisations
  • Diversity of personal values 
  • Co-creation of values 
  • Alignment of personal values and organisational values
  • Do employees walk the talk, and follow the organisational values?