Personal Values and Corporate Strategy

• Why the relationship is important. • How to itnderstand valites better. • What to do about conflicts between them.

By William D. Guth and Renato Tagiuri
Some managers may feel that their choices of corporate strategy are entirely ohjective. This may well he so if they include their personal values among the elements they take into account in their analyses and decisions. For it is quite clear, on the basis both of ohservation and of systematic studies of top management in business organizations, that personal values are important determinants in the choice of corporate strategy.

and development company with a high proportion of its business in government work, were considering possihle strategies for the future. Three major alternatives had heen identified: (1) Attempt to triple, over the next three to five years, the company's volume of business by broadening its base of research "products" and thus capturing a larger share of the then growing government expenditures for space exploration. (2) Aim for the same growth objective, but achieve it through the development of commercially exploitable hardware products generated in the research activity. (3) Aim for a slower rate of growth, continuing the business along the lines in which it had achieved its present position. The president, convinced that each top executive of the company needed to he personally committed to the strategy finally chosen, held a numher of meetings directed at achieving consensus on one of the alternatives. The meetings proved fruitless. All three possihilities were strongly favored hy one or more of the officers, each of whom justified his choice as the only "objectively" feasible alternative. The president helieved, on the hasis of the evidence available, that all three alternatives were equally feasihle. It occurred to him that further progress might he made in achieving a personal commitment from each manager if 123

Need for Examination
Unfortunately, our values are so much an intrinsic part of our lives and hehavior that we are often unaware of them — or, at least, we are unable to think about them clearly and articulately. Yet our values, along with other factors, clearly determine our choices, as can he proved hy presenting men with equally "reasonahle" alternative possibilities and comparing the choices they make. Some will choose one course, others another, and each will feel that his election is the rational one. Problem in Strategy In early 1961 the four top executives of U.S. Research, Inc. (disguised name), a large research

fied third alternative. political. and other men's values can gain an important advantage in developFew of us make the effort of ing workable and well-supported policies. social. believing such activity would disturb the company's research climate. but he also wanted it to remain exclusively a research company. His involvement in the company reflected not only economic and scientific objectives. favoring continuation of the present activity aimed at achieving a slower rate of growth. tional concern for efficiency and orderliness in the company's day-to-day operations. He helieved whose involvement with the company was predomithis new alternative matched the values of the group of top execIn this article William D. € The third vice president. by getting of thinking ahout personal values and about the into commercial production. Guth and Renato Tagiuri emphasize utives better than any of the the following points: three previously identified alter• The personal values that businessmen and others have can be natives. Armed with this analyusefully classified as theoretical. heing primarily a man growth and increased profitability for the company of action. 1965 company with the principal objective of working on research projects with practical applicability. This vice president viewed the possibility of getting into commercial production with alarm. toward consensus on the modi• The values that are most important to an executive have a pro. but also an interest in working closely and productively with a tightly knit group of men who were all personally involved in the company's efforts. aesthetic. group of the company remains • The executive who will take steps to better understand his own very satisfied with the choice. he was ahle to lead the group and religious. The stratfound influence on his strategic decisions. the president switched from favoring the first alternative to favoring a modification of the third alternative. On the hasis of these insights. economic. The busy executive ress as measured by growth and profitability. and human-relations concerns. managers do not have an explicit and useful way He believed that the company would." He wanted the company to grow rapidly and become more profitable. attention were focused on the relationship of the managers themselves to the nature of the alternatives. of what an in- .-Oct. Rapid is no exception. sis. Also he believed that comprocesses of the company. In addition. grow rapidly and ininfluences these have on the strategic choice crease its profitability. he may spend less time over this matwere his prime interests. this impetition in the commercial field would create addiportant element is often left unexamined. he believed that substantial company growth in any field might lead to bureaucratic organizational practices also potentially inimical to creative research. As a result. along with efficiency and ter than other people do. egy chosen has proved itself suc• Managers and employees often are unaware of the values they cessful and the tOD executive possess and also tend to misjudge the values of others. scientific. was seen hy the president as having the values of a scientist who joined the Nature of Values For our purposes a value can he viewed as a conception. he was ahle to identify differences between himself and the other three top officers which seemed to account for their choices among the strategic alternatives: e The vice president who favored the first alternative — tripling the volume of business through broadening the company's base of research products — was seen by the president as having the values of a businessman-scientist whose involvement in the company was motivated by a desire to earn as much money as possible while at the same time being associated with the intellectual stimulation of a research "atmosphere. explicit or implicit.124 HBR Sept. C The president saw his own values as an almost equally balanced combination of economic. Thus many top-level orderliness in the company's day-to-day operations. C The vice president who favored rapid growth which called for attempting to double the comthrough the development of commercially exploitpany's growth in the next five years through able hardware products was seen by the president continuing the business along the lines in which as having the value orientation of a businessman it had achieved its present position. studying our own values to the point of being ahle to he explicnantly motivated by an interest in economic progit and articulate ahout them. Using knowledge about personal values. Indeed.

and values.^ He found it helpful to identify six kinds of value orientations: 1. and generations. Parents themselves. If we say that a man decides among alternatives on the basis of ^ Types of Men. unless they are questioned or challenged. 1928). on classifications of values. Values may be identified by noting differences between individuals or groups in dealing with similar problems. They are transmitted to him through his parents. especially if some values clearly dominate over others. professions. edited by Talcott 125 whether the choice will maximize his usefulness to others. Values are such an intrinsic part of a person's life and thought that he tends to take them for granted. Harvard University Press. we are describing his values as well as his personality. others in unselfconscious. see C. Sometimes. classify. often not being articulate about their own value systems. indeed. and of the values of the social group to which the family belongs. Although there are dramatic cases of deviation from values acquired early in life." Undoubtedly. For other instances of classifications and discussions of values. the language having developed special mechanisms useful for conveying the value alternatives chosen by that society. Indeed. rewards. As is the case with most important characteristics acquired in the first few years of life. Strodtbeck. Contrasting Profiles Individuals express their value systems in any number of ways: some very abstract. transmit them and teach them to their children more by means of examples. and punishments than by the use of words and labels that would make the children explicit about alternative value systems. Eduard Spranger. 1951). and in terms of which he or they select. Child-rearing practices are expressions of a family's values. The theoretical man is primarily interested in the discovery of truth. Germany. some variations are produced by differences in accumulated knowledge and intellectual skills. teachers. and (b) his particular individuality and "times. and on the value differences among people. Values can be thought of as the guidance system a personality uses when faced with choices of alternatives. a change in the first two will lead to a change in the third. Kluckholn. Niemeyer. much of the process takes place early in life. acquired their values in similar fashion. language helps and delimits the development of values. we need a scheme that will help us distinguish. skills. Pigors (Halle. for the purpose of distinguishing among types of men. Kluckholn and F. the means and ends of action. However. 1961). mostly in terms of specific situations and behaviors. L. Yet there appears to be an interdependence among knowledge. cultures. Shils (Cambridge. In order to treat the subject of values in a way useful to the present task of seeing how they enter into the process of choosing between alternative strategies. translated by P. and Florence R. Classification Scheme Much has been written on values. in turn. One classification of values that should prove quite useful to us was developed by a German philosopher. Values are closely related to personality. He acquires them very early in life. groups. Row. the value system of a society and its language are often closely related.Personal Values dividual or a group regards as desirable. not all differences can be accounted for by variations in values. They are a very stable feature of his personality. Let us look at one such conceptual scheme and at the differences it illuminates in different groups' values. an adult's values are usually the result of the interplay of (a) what he learned from those who reared him. with word labels attached to them. Nevertheless. Illinois. . for instance. concrete ways. Variations in Value Orientations (Evanston. in the systematic ordering Parsons and Edward A. we have difficulty identifying values until we come face to face with situations that force us to recognize their presence in our makeup. This sometimes makes it difficult for people to understand the values of other cultures where the language system is quite different. and this portion of it affects the possibilities for later modifications and acquisitions of values. and other significant persons in his environment who. they are part of it. rather than on the basis of considerations of personal gain. this is not a simple process of faithful transmission from one generation to another. Peterson and Company." in Toward a General Theory of Aetion. Massachusetts. or cultures. "Values and Value-Orientations in the Theory of Action. from among alternative available modes. Naturally. and compare values and value systems of individuals.

looking for identities and differenees. The religious man is one "whose mental among alternatives. The economic man is primarily oriented toward what is useful. He is an intellectual. Science Quarterly. He finds those who have strong theoretical. Most leaders have and rational approaches to his work in order to satisfy his economic and political values. Vernon. The economic and political orientations are clearly in line with our stereotypes of businessmen. The ' See Renato Tagiuri." The dominant value for him is unity. but in whatever area he functions. role in all life. executives attending the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School. The high-level 5. not necessarily in politics. he has to exAir. driving them to seek perare. Each single event is savored for its own sake. symmetry. in the production. and in the accumulation of tangible wealth. He is thoroughly "practical" and fits well the stereotype of the American businessman. economic. 28 Social Religious 28 3 5 Social 34 Aesthetic In short. VALUE PROFILES OF FOUR T O P EXECUTIVES through others. 4. be rational. The social man values people as ends. The essential value for the social man is love of people — the altruistic or philanthropic aspect of love. 3. He values form and harmony. He is interested in the practical affairs of the business world. and tends to be kind. and G. the social man regards love as the most important component of human relationships. theoretical. "Value Orientations and the ReStudy of Values (Boston. marketing. June 1965. For some men. There this motive is uppermost. influence. 2." Administrative i960). C Sir. and aesthetic orientations rather cold. and recognition. Economic Theoretical Political Religious Aesthetic Social 45 44 44 39 35 33 240 (The questionnaire was designed so as to yield a total of 240 points. Houghton Mifllin Company. among executives. critieal.^ The following average value profile resulted: Value Score of his knowledge. ations. Allport. In its purest form the social orientation is selfless and approaches the religious attitude. and political values.S. Unlike the political type. be explicValue Score Value Score Value Score Value Score it. He seeks to relate himself to the universe in a meaningful way and has a mystical orientation. teach. since he is rePolitical Aesthetic 41 45 Social 44 Political 49 moved from direct operations and 36 Religious Theoretical 37 Economic 43 Theoretical 37 has the function of integrating 36 Political Economic S6 Religious 33 Theoretical 37 Aesthetic Political 35 Economic 32 31 35 Social human and material resources. He views experience in terms of grace. The aesthetic man finds his chief interest in the artistic aspects of life. Competition plays a large a man of action. distributed over the six value dimensions. in order structure is permanently directed to the creation of importance. He works with and EXHIBIT I. but for a moment only. His interests are empirical. the executive shows up here as a bit of a theoretician while we suspect he likes to think of himself as a high power orientation. 39-51. and many writers have regarded power as the most universal motive. express. although he need not be a creative artist. Averages for Executives Spranger's value classification served as the theoretical underpinning for a questionnaire designed to measure quantitatively the relative strength of each of the six value orientations in an individual. and rational. And he also has Religious 48 Economic 65 Aesthetic 57 Theoretical 58 to be abstract. The political man is characteristically oriexecutive needs to have theories and cognitive ented toward power. The values just reported are averages. in the use of economic resources. A1 Mr. . P. and it is these that lead to diverse choices 6.126 HBR Sept. W. The theoretical value may surprise us. with relative disregard for the beauty or utility of objeets. and consumption of goods. EXHIBIT I shows.) Thus the major orientation of these men is a combination of economic. B Mr.-Oct. Lindzcy. sympathetic. seeking only to observe and to reason. enormous individual varisonal power. unselfish. lationships of Managers and Scientists. the values of four individuals. as we shall see. In pursuing this goal he typieally takes a "eognitive" approaeh.^ Recently we gave the questionnaire to high-level U. Scientists or philosophers are often of this type (but they are not. the only ones). ^G. pp. E. D plain. 1965 of the highest and absolutely satisfying value experience. or harmony.

he will match his company's opportunities. welfare. theoretical. 111 ing the company's future and determining its basie character. there will tend to be conflict and disorganization in the company's operations. uninvolved in the key choices affect- . Each of these cases differs greatly from the average value configuration of the group. personal values are one of the determinants of a manager's concept of what his company's strategy ought to be. Manual for the Study of Values (Boston. Second in order of relative importance in his scheme was the aesthetic value. on the average. exactly. • Emphasis on a single product. Criteria for Strategy The process by which an individual's concept of or feel for his company's strategy is formulated includes assessment of environmental opportunities and risks and of eompany resources. The individual's system of values is then applied to these judgments. however. and resources in terms of the values he does emphasize. bear in mind that a corporate strategy is an explicit and shared set of goals and policies defining what the company is to achieve and become in the future and how it must operate in order to reach its goals. giving particular attention to the security. and a choice among the alternative corporate strategies is made. in turn. a small manufacturer of office duplicating equipment. Consider these two examples: C The president of National Duplicating Products Corporation. do an executive's values affect his thinking about strategy? First. The remaining four values were undifferentiable in importance on the basis of the available evidence. possibly at the sacrifice of growth and profitability. Since his personal values are such an intrinsic part of his life and behavior. social. a sample of ministers had values in the following order of decreasing importance: religious. Such an assessment results in reasoned or intuitive judgments as to what the company might achieve and become over some period of time if it operates in certain particular ways. Vernon. p. those evidenced by his behavior. • An independent-agent form of sales organization. ranked relatively high on the social value. he will eventually have to use them as eriteria in making his conscious choices. Until this last step is taken. * Adapted from G. included in our sample. yet each man is an effective member of some top-flight team. have personal concepts of what their company's corporate strategy is or ought to be. He remains uncommitted. economic* This pattern is virtually opposite to that of the executives. Effect on Strategy How. In the field of religion. When faced with increasing product and sales competition from other firms in the industry and with increasing opportunity from expanding markets. our study indicates that the values of executives. i960). each executive will tend to behave in aecordance with his own concept and. A If. Allport. and happiness of his employees. 14. they will impose themselves no less forcefully on his actual choices. Lindzey. on the other hand. i. Not all companies have corporate strategies. and G. Most executives. the president chose to stay with the company's traditional strategy. Sueh individual differences notwithstanding. P. aesthetic. For example: T If economic values clearly dominate his other values. consciously or unconsciously. In the absence of a viable degree of consensus on a particular set of goals and policies. are different from the values of men in other professions. Thus. he will be more inclined to emphasize opportunities for growth and profitability and to make strategic decisions which call for stretching or adding to present resources to attain these goals. the man is not really engaged with strategy. possibly without elear recognition of the source of the difficulty. W. political.Personal Values all high-level managers. Thus. Values in Action The role and influence of personal values are much in evidence in decision making. risks. however. an executive with strong and dominant political values may tend to choose among alternative strategies the particular one which maximizes his opportunity to gain additional power. E. Houghton Mifflin Company. his own values. for example. The key elements of this strategy were: • Slow to moderate company growth.e. Should there be great divergence in the unstated concepts of corporate strategy among company executives. If he-is not very conseious or articulate about his personal values. other values dominate his personality..

he started his own company to publish a magazine whieh represented his aesthetie point of view.128 HBR Sept." Another critical policy set by the president was to spend considerable amounts of money on the maintenance of elaborate physical facilities for both himself and the employees of the company. This high level of personal commitment to the product has been a defense against inereasing pressures to modify The New York Times in the interest of eeonomy and expanded eireulation. he may choose one course over the other because it is more consistent with his other values. As a result. In addition. • Very high-quality products with aesthetic appeal. the top management team members of Aeoustic Research. Inc. who insisted that changes in company policies should be made in order to capitalize on the substantial opportunities for growth whieh existed in the rapidly growing high-fidelity phonograph market. and employees. The key elements of the eompany's strategy were: • Scientific truth and integrity in advertising. and resources of their firms. € The executives and staff of The New York Times. bringing economic satisfaction as well. the dominant value of an individual executive is economic and he faces two new product alternatives promising to yield equal degrees of growth. placed theoretical and social values over other values. and the aesthetic appeal of his company's offices. they also affect his decisions concerning implementing policies. Just as the president of National Duplicating Products Corporation chose to forgo the opportunities for rapid growth and increased profitability in order to minimize the pressures of change and growth on himself and on his employees. risks. and without bias or sensationalism — is apparently valued more for its own sake than as a means to eeonomie ends. and from eeonomically oriented outsiders. • Maintenance of "truth and honesty" in relation to suppliers. Consistency & Conflict At the same time that personal values serve as the basic ends or goals toward which an executive would like to see company activity directed. Hefner not only works each day on something eonsistent with his concept of what a magazine should be. Though not a major stockholder in the eompany. If. worked for several magazines prior to striking out on his own. welfare. The present product and the pattern of operations supporting it yield at best only moderate growth and return on investment. Having dominant eeonomie and aesthetic values. security. To illustrate: « Hugh Hefner.. • Lower margins to dealers than competitors were paying.-Oct. this strategy included a policy of refraining from setting time standards or other production-scheduling constraints on the factory workers for fear of "making a slave shop out of the place. • Refusal to compete on a price basis. Their produet — yesterday's news reported inteUigently. plant. so the executives of Acoustic Research chose to forgo the opportunity of greater sales through less "scientific" advertising and more dealer "push" in order to keep the price of their products low and to retain their scientific integrity. aeeurately. In both of the foregoing cases it was our judgment as close observers that the top managers . These polieies were maintained in the face of significant pressure from the optimistic claims and nonscientific appeals in the advertising of eompetitors. publisher of Playboy. but his labors also make him inereasingly wealthy. the eompany's strategy reflected this orientation. and a market existed for Playboy. This element of the situation helped to minimize the amount of pressure on him to pay greater attention to the satisfaction of economic values. his partieular form of aesthetie value was shared hy many others. The president was aware of many of the economic risks and losses of opportunity entailed hy this strategy. he found the jobs with other magazines wanting in opportunity to aehieve personal satisfaction. • High quality at the lowest possible price to the consumer (based on a vaguely defined eoncept of a minimum aeeeptable level of profitability). according to all published sources of information. the president had voting control over a majority of the stoek outstanding. and products. many of whom refused actively to push the eompany's produets. and happiness of the employees of the company. € Except for the vice president and treasurer. dealers. Fortunately for him. But the dominance of his social value over his other values was so great that he chose to take the economic risks and opportunity losses in order to maximize what in his view was the stability. Accordingly. 196$ involved had realistically assessed opportunities. for example. appear to have a highly dominant theoretical and social value orientation. president and founder of HMH Publishing Company. from dealers. a manufacturer of high-fidehty loudspeaker systems.

unfortunate people being bilked for private gain. of course. rather than serving as an indication of their relative competence as economic institutions. so to speak. In addition. Another useful approach is for the manager to take time to analyze the situation when he feels that his values have heen violated or when he is prompted to explain others' hehavior in terms of such phrases as "They have different values. economic values are in fact dominant. the factual description of the situation from the analysis and corporate strategy choices made hy the individual managers actually involved in the case. preferably with the help of an appropriately trained person. In other words. they often do not clearly perceive the strategy that underlies and guides their business and corporate actions. however." This is the time to note the nature of elusive standards and assumptions — when they are. although they feel uncomfortable when these values are violated and at ease when they are fulfilled. he may be able to attain an even more satisfying match hetween personal values and corporate strategy. personal values may be allowed to inHu- . The manager could henefit hy paying more attention to the operation of his values. Even publications about the extensive advances in pharmacology made possible by the industry's reinvestment of earnings in research and development have tended to be ineffective against this value perspective. and these may come into conflict with other values dominating in other groups in American society. is the attitude or frame of mind with which the manager approaches the prohlem of identifying the part his values play in his work. Here. Then they present the students with descriptions of the strategic analyses and conclusions of the executives in the case. for if his strategy is not explicit and if his values play a role in its formation. Two requirements are important for him to ohserve: Steps to Understanding Businessmen are seldom self-conscious and articulate about their values. But care must he taken to distinguish variations due to the nature of the information available about the situation and problem from variations that result from different values. under conditions of clarity of assumptions. The instructors separate. 129 ence the manager's concept of corporate strategy more than they would otherwise. He may then be able to kill two birds with one stone. Through the process of comparison and contrast with their own analyses and recommendations. not less. a "hard economic choice. For example: Some of the pharmaceutical companies have found that their efforts to achieve economic growth and profits through manufacture. if he understands more exactly the nature of what he is doing. for example. The fact that many companies in this industry have experienced relatively high returns on investment in comparison with industry in general reinforces the negative judgments made of them. then by making his values more clear he may also become more aware of the actual nature of the strategy itself. and sale of medicines have come into conflict with the social value of some powerful individuals to whom virtually any effort to relate economic growth and profits with sickness raises the image of unhealthy. Self-Analysis How does a manager go ahout making his values explicit to himself? One thing he can do is examine his behavior from time to time with the question in mind of what values he holds. This approach has been very effective in helping students in management programs at the Harvard Business School to identify and clarify their personal make strategy recommendations based on their own analysis of the situation. stirred to the surface." On the contrary. What matters most. he may he better able to analyze the relationship and interdependence hetween values and strategy. the approach of comparing and contrasting his hehavior with the hehavior of others facing similar situations and prohlems is very helpful. The latter is what we are interested in.Personal Values For a great many managements. They then ask the students. the students are often able to achieve some clarification of their personal values. distribution. A manager can also learn something about his values hy taking one or more of the tests designed to identify the relative strength of an individual's values and by analyzing the results. This is not to say that he should try to filter out the influence of his values on his concept of corporate strategy and alter it in order to make. Also. heing careful to ensure that the class has a common understanding of the facts. in the case material.

It is often possible. The purpose of sueh discussion should not be to attempt to ehange anyone's values. to cast up new strategy alternatives that will be more satisfying to all concerned than are those ehoices initially contributing to the eonHiet. understanding the values of the other members becomes important if a strategy is to be developed that will gain the genuine support of all con- . Many of the same forces leading to the struggle for "objectiveness" in business practice lead to suppression of diseussion of value differences among executives." Personal values are always involved in arriving at concepts of and "feels for" corporate strategies. Appraisal of Others Understanding and taking one's own values into explicit account unfortunately is not always enough to arrive at a viable strategy. (2) There must be a willingness to focus on personal values as a possible explanation of differences among the concepts of corporate strategy held by various exeeutives. 196s EXHIBIT II. through identification of similarities and differences in personal values. This will in itself make him more sensitive to what they are and how they may operate.130 HBR Sept. AND EXECUTIVES SELF-RATINGS VERSUS RATINGS EXPECTED FROM OTHERS THEORETICAL ECONOMIC AESTHETIC SOCIAL POLITICAL RELIGIOUS 51 41 38 34 41 35 60 41 42 28 38 31 48 51 32 31 50 28 49 44 37 32 42 36 60 46 39 27 37 31 41 55 34 31 51 28 44 45 35 33 44 39 . RESEARCH MANAGERS. Yet this may be a hard first step to take. Some of us have a diffieult time aecepting our personal involvement in situations. as we do with other elements in our analysis. VALUES OF SCIENTISTS. often insisting that we are being completely objective and that anyone who does not agree with us as to the validity and desirability of a particular strategic choice is simply "letting his emotions run away with him.-Oct. and objeetivity consists exactly of taking them into aeeount. (1) There must be personal aeceptance of the fact that his personal values are related to his implicit or explicit strategy choices. a difficult task anyway. but rather to clarify the nature and souree of differences and disagreements. Where management operates as a team.

finding a strategy acceptable to the people involved is made more difficult by the exaggeration^of value differences. Thus while the research managers correctly identify the high values of the^other two groups. op. 1962. It is useful for managers to understand this influence in the process of considering strategic alternatives. for example. It can be seen. choices dictated by personal values agree with choices dictated by the maximum economic opportunities which are identified. We noted earlier that there were enormous variations in the relative importance which a group of high-level executives attached to the six values in the Spranger classification. • 653 businessmen who attended the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School between i960 and 1964. in charge of research personriel. The opposite difficulty — assuming similarity of values when not warranted — also is common in society. People not infrequently misjudge other persons' values.° The mean values of the three groups are shown in EXHIBIT II inside the body of each "man" representing each set of people. and executives assess each other. 131 same time. or 1963. In situations where the managers involved are not predominantly economically oriented. and thus perceive the two groups — scientists and executives — as heing more different than they really are. but one is not intellectually justified in condemning him for holding them. as indicated by the arrows. on the side of each man. These executives probably have faced and are likely again to face conflicts in the strategy-formulation processes of their firms when choices dictated by their personal values clash with choices dictated by identification of maximum economic opportunity. • 15 7 scientists who have been in industry for at least seven years with no management responsibilities except supervision of research assistants. explicit statements of strategies and their ramifications hecome especially important. In facing such conflicts. Conclusion Personal values influence corporate strategy choices. scientists. they are not necessarily better or worse. Such acceptance can result in improved interpersonal relations and effectiveness in a company's executive group. The study is based on the questionnaire described earlier and covers nearly i. that the research managers attribute higher economic and political value scores to the executives than the executives actually indicate for themselves. One may not feel attracted to a person with very different values. A number of these executives (a minority) ranked the economic value very low. But what should be the role of values in such decisions? Should they ultimately determine the final choice? Should they be but one of the factors considered? Or should they always be disregarded in an effort to focus exclusively on maximizing the economic use of cbrhpany resources? The issues involved in these questions disappear in many situations in which the corporate managers are predominantly economically oriented.) Here articulate. There is no standard or accepted method of proving that one value is better or worse than another. the issues are brought sharply into focus. cit. and so it is foolish to view the question in these terms. a strategy is in danger of failing because it has less consensual support in the value systems of the members of the executive team than those concerned expect. are the values attributed to him by the others. And there must be a willingness to accept the idea that while other men's values may he different from our own. the research managers attribute to the scientists much higher theoretical scores than the scientists^ give themselves. who attended the Industrial Research Institute's R & D Management seminars at the Harvard Business School in 1961. the executives involved might ask themselves two questions: . however. The "attributed" data were obtained by asking each respondent to fill out the questionnaire as if he were a typical member of one of the other two groups. (An example of the successful solution of this problem was given at the beginning of this article. for without them there is no good way for a member of the group to understand what the other niembers' values are and what they really have in mittd.Personal Values cerned. At the ' See Renato men who filled out the questionnaire anonymously: • 178 research managers. they also exaggerate theni.ngiuri. In such cases. Also shown. When this latter error occurs. This is borne out by a study of how research managers. In such situations.

He is only one kind of acceptahle performance — that which measures up to the highest standards. while at the same time leading toward the maximization of economic return on the company's assets.132 HBR Sept. practice. Inc. . and life becomes more and more of a challenge to attain higher and higher ideals. protection from exposure. courage. schools. is perfect. 82. therefore. Churches. . knowledge. We should give some thought to what our own standards are and how well we are living up to them. No one. American Management Association. This is growth. The attainment of standards requires motivation. Humility involves a realization that one falls short of full attainment of the highest standards of life and a deep belief that anything less than attainment of these standards is unsatisfactory.. . The best in terms of the individual's conscience is the result of his environment. and selfdiscipline. In dealing with conflicts between personal values and the maximization of economic opportunity. this is life. Most individuals then spend their lives striving to attain those standards.-Oct. 84. and other similar institutions are dedicated to the purpose of having an impact upon human lives that will continually raise individual standards. The highest standard for each individual is that which his conscience tells him is best. (1) Are there new strategic alternatives whieh might effect a closer match hetween economie opportunity for the company and the other-thaneeonomic values which they or their associates possess? (2) How much of an economie sacrifice must he made hy the company to serve the other-thaneeonomic values? If the executive can identify no better alternatives and perceives that the economic sacrifice associated with serving other-than-economic values is great. continuing individual exposure to the impact of highly motivated institutions and people raises standards. constant avoidance of challenge will never get anybody anywhere toward the attainment of acceptable standards or contribute to individual growth. In other words. . Inactivity. 196s may continue his search for new alternatives. associations. Lawretice A. the corporation must remain viable as an economic institution. in the hope that ultimately he can identify a strategy which serves his dominant values well. To some this is a challenge. of course. he may well choose the strategy which maximizes economic opportunity. and training. Appley. managers should keep in mind that corporate strategy must ultimately inspire personal commitment or else it will not be implemented. At the same time. pp. 1963. The Management Evolution New York. however. while to others it is an alibi.

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