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Monday, August 3, 2009

Values, Attitudes, and Their Effects in the Workplace

Values, Attitudes, and Their Effects in the Workplace
  • What are values?

  • How can we understand values across cultures?

  • Are there unique Canadian values?

  • Why are differences in values important?

  • What are attitudes and how are they formed?

  • What is job satisfaction?


• Values
– Basic convictions about what is important to the individual
– They contain a judgmental element of what is right, good, or desirable.

Types of values
• Terminal: Goals that individuals would like to achieve during their lifetime
• Instrumental: Preferable ways of behaving
– Importance of values
• Values generally influence attitudes and behaviour.

Values vs. Ethics

– The science of morals in human conduct
– Moral principles; rules of conduct

• Ethical Values are related to moral judgments about right and wrong

A Framework for Assessing Cultural Values

Hofstede’s Dimensions
– Power Distance
– Individualism Versus Collectivism
– Quantity of Life Versus Quality of Life
– Uncertainty Avoidance
– Long-term versus Short-term Orientation

Exhibit 3-2 Examples of National Cultural ValuesCanadian Social Values

The Elders
– Those over 50
– Core Values: Belief in order, authority, discipline, and the Golden Rule
The Boomers
– Born mid-1940s to mid-1960s
– Autonomous rebels, anxious communitarians, connected enthusiasts, disengaged Darwinists

Canadian Social Values

• Generation X
– Born mid-1960s to early 1980s
– Thrill-seeking materialists, aimless dependents, social hedonists, new Aquarians, autonomous post-materialists
The Ne(x)t Generation
– Born between 1977 and 1997
– “Creators, not recipients”
– Curious, contrarian, flexible, collaborative, high in self-esteem

Francophone and Anglophone Values
Francophone Values

– More collectivist or group-oriented
– Greater need for achievement
– Concerned with interpersonal aspects of workplace
– Value affiliation
• Anglophone Values

– Individualist or I-centred
– More task-centred
– Take more risks
– Value autonomy

Canadian Aboriginal Values

– More collectivist in orientation
– More likely to reflect and advance the goals of the community
– Greater sense of family in the workplace
– Greater affiliation and loyalty
– Power distance lower than non-Aboriginal culture of Canada and the U.S.
– Greater emphasis on consensual decision-making

Exhibit 3-3 Ground Rules for Aboriginal Partnerships

• Modify management operations to reduce negative impact to wildlife species
• Modify operations to ensure community access to lands and resources
• Protect all those areas identified by community members as having biological, cultural and historical significance
• Recognize and protect aboriginal and treaty rights to hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering activities
• Increase forest-based economic opportunities for community members
• Increase the involvement of community members in decision-making

Canadian and American Values

Canadian Values
– Protectionist business environment
– Personality: more shy and deferential, less violent, more courteous
– More rule-oriented
– Peace, order, equality
– Uncomfortable celebrating success, play it down
• American Values
– Greater faith in the family, the state, religion, and the market
– More comfortable with big business
– Intense competition in business
– Individuality and freedom
– More comfortable with the unknown and taking risks

Canada, the US and Mexico

Canada and the US
– Lower power distance
– More likely to tolerate abrasiveness and insensitivity by managers
– Lower risk takers
– More individualistic
– Less agreeable to teamwork
– Higher power distance
– Managers more autocratic and paternalistic
– Employees defer more to managers
– Greater uncertainty avoidance
– Managers are greater risk takers
– Greater reliance on networks and relationships

East and Southeast Asian Values

North America
– Networked relations: based on self-interest
– Relationships viewed with immediate gains
– Enforcement relies on institutional law
– Governed by guilt (internal pressures on performance)

East and Southeast Asia
– Guanxi relations: based on reciprocation
– Relationships meant to be long-term and enduring
– Enforcement relies on personal power and authority
– Governed by shame (external pressures on performance)


• Positive or negative feelings concerning objects, people, or events.
• Less stable than values

Types of Attitudes

Job Involvement
– . . . measures the degree to which a person identifies psychologically with his or her job and considers his or her perceived performance level important to self-worth.
Organizational Commitment
– . . . a state in which an employee identifies with a particular organization and its goals, and wishes to maintain membership in the organization.
• Job Satisfaction
– . . . refers to an individual’s general attitude toward his or her job.

Canadian Job Satisfaction

• In 1991, 62 per cent of employees reported they were highly satisfied with their jobs, compared to just 45 per cent in 2001.
• Almost 40 percent of employees would not recommend their company as a good place to work.
• 40 percent believe they never see any of the benefits of their company making money.
• Almost 40 percent reported that red tape and bureaucracy are among the biggest barriers to job satisfaction.
• 55 percent reported that they felt the “pressure of having too much to do.”

Job Satisfaction and Employee Performance

Satisfaction Affects
Individual Productivity
– Organizational Productivity
– Absenteeism
– Turnover
– Organizational Citizenship Behaviour

Expressing Dissatisfaction

• Exit
• Voice
• Loyalty
• Neglect

Summary and Implications

Values strongly influence a person’s attitudes.
• An employee’s performance and satisfaction are likely to be higher if his or her values fit well with the organization.
• Managers should be interested in their employees’ attitudes because attitudes give warning signs of potential problems and because they influence behaviour.

OB at Work
For Review

1. What are Hofstede’s five value dimensions of national culture?
2. How might differences in generational values affect the workplace?
3. Compare Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal values.
4. How can managers get employees to more readily accept working with colleagues who are different from themselves?
5. Describe three job-related attitudes. What is their relevance to the workplace?
6. Are happy workers productive workers?
7. What is the relationship between job satisfaction and absenteeism? Job satisfaction and turnover? Which is the stronger relationship?

For Critical Thinking

1. “Thirty-five years ago, young employees we hired were ambitious, conscientious, hard-working, and honest. Today’s young workers don’t have the same values.” Do you agree or disagree with this manager’s comments? Support your position.
2. Do you think there might be any positive and significant relationship between the possession of certain personal values and successful career progression in organizations such as Merrill Lynch, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), and the City of Regina’s police department? Discuss.
For Critical Thinking
3. “Managers should do everything they can to enhance the job satisfaction of their employees.” Do you agree or disagree? Support your position.
4. When employees are asked whether they would again choose the same work or whether they would want their children to follow in their footsteps, fewer than half typically answer in the affirmative. What, if anything, do you think this implies about employee job satisfaction?
Breakout Group Exercises

Form small groups to discuss the following topics. Each person in the group should first identify 3 to 5 key personal values.
1. Identify the extent to which values overlap in your group.
2. Try to uncover with your group members the source of some of your key values (e.g., parents, peer group, teachers, church).
3. What kind of workplace would be most suitable for the values that you hold most closely?
Working With Others Exercise

Understanding cultural values
• Break into groups of 5-6. Pretend that half of you have been raised in Canadian culture, and half of you have been raised in another culture assigned by your instructor
– Consider the differences in the two cultures for: power distance, individualism, and uncertainty avoidance
– What challenges will you face working together?
– What steps could be taken to work together more effectively?


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