Tuesday, May 10, 2011


In a Nutshell

Organizational Values comprise:

Stated Values

Visible Values

Invisible Values

Stated Organizational Values

Stated Organizational Values can be ascertained by studying various policy documents, HR Manuals, Quality and Operating Procedures, service rules and regulations, vision and mission statements pertaining to the organization. In many cases brochures and advertisements reveal stated organizational values.

For example, Organizational Ethical Values will be enshrined in the Code of Conduct.

If the organization values punctuality there will exist laid down penalties for late-coming and absenteeism and, maybe, certain positive incentives for regularity in attendance and timely completion of work. What constitutes misconduct and proper workplace demeanour will be clearly stated where discipline is valued.

In a premier shipping dockyard where I once worked the motto of the organisation “Quality Ships on Time” clearly encapsulated the stated organizational values, namely, Quality and Reliability of delivering work on Time.

Visible Organizational Values

Visible Organizational Values are evident from visible manifestations like Dress Code (Formal, Informal, Functional, Uniform), Titles and Job Descriptions, Organizational Structure (Flat versus Hierarchical), Work Culture (traditional, line-staff, bureaucratic, functional, process, time-based, network, matrix, scientific temper, family style culture), Salary, Perks and Compensation Structure, Workplace Environment (interpersonal relationships, feedback, grievance redressal mechanism and its effective implementation, gender sensitivity, encouraging environment for innovation, creativity and feedback, and a positive happy friendly workplace atmosphere)

Invisible Organizational Values

Invisible Organizational Values can be sensed as “vibes” and can be derived from intangibles like morale, undercurrents, office politics, private conversations, an atmosphere of intrigue, secrecy and rumours, an air of complacency, attitudinal issues, or even positive manifestations like “feel good factor”.

Values are of two types, both in the personal and organizational domains. The two types of values are:

Instrumental Values

Terminal Values

Instrumental Values

Instrumental Values are core values, permanent in nature, comprise personal characteristics and character traits.

Instrumental Values refer to preferable modes of behaviour and include values like honesty, sincerity, ambition, independence, obedience, imaginativeness, courageousness, competitiveness, and also some negative traits too. Organisations also have Instrumental Values (which can be ascertained from the organizational culture) and these are permanent in nature and difficult to change. For example, the instrumental values of a PSU will differ from that of an MNC though both may be in the same business.

Instrumental Values are difficult to change.

Terminal Values

In our personal lives, Terminal Values are those things that we can work towards or we think are most important and we feel are most desirable – terminal values are desirable states of existence. Terminal Values include things like happiness, self respect, family security, recognition, freedom, inner harmony, comfortable life, professional excellence, etc

In a nutshell, Terminal Values signify the objectives of the life of a person – the ultimate things the person wants to achieve through his or her behaviour (the destination he wants to reach in life) whereas Instrumental Values indicate the methods an individual would like to adopt for achieving his life’s aim (the path he would like to take to reach his destination).

This applies to organisations as well, and organizations too exhibit Terminal Values. However, Terminal Values can be changed and this can be seen when there is a change of top management or CEO.


Organisational Values are the key to organisational behaviour. Also, before you join an organization you must ensure that there is no conflict in your instrumental values and the organization’s instrumental values, since these are difficult to change. Conversely, the organisation must consider this aspect while interviewing a prospective candidate for recruitment. Of course, any mismatch in terminal values can be corrected by suitable induction training, since terminal values can be inculcated or changed.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures(2008) and is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
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Email: vikramkarve@sify.com          

Fiction Short Stories Book

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