Values and Business Strategy

Values play an important role in our life.  Our values determine the choices and decisions that we make in our life. It impacts our career choices and many other important decisions of our life. It has an impact on whether we choose money over friends, peace over violence, beauty over expenses, and vice versa. Values may differ from person to person as we all grew up acquiring different values from our parents and peers. We have recorded these values in our system like a tape recorder in our brain, which operates subconsciously and is brought out by different situations in life. What actions we take in a critical situation will be justified by our values to create congruence between the outcome of our actions and what is right or wrong. Any incongruence would lead to an unease and dissatisfaction in one’s life.  Hence, we all work towards creating congruence between our values and actions.

Like in every walk of life, values also impact business decisions while choosing a particular strategy for business whether it is product innovation, profit maximization or customer delight.  For an organization, choosing a particular strategy would be determined by the leader’s value system.  If the leader values profit maximization over customer delight and loyalty, the organization will have that kind of corporate culture.  Where leaders at various levels of the organization give importance to profit maximization, retaining the customer will have minimum focus. Similarly, if the leader has values for making the customer experience delightful, then the whole organization will respect that value system of customer delight.

Besides, an organization may face other issues with regard to value conflict of leaders at various levels of the organization. The value systems of these leaders may not comply with that of the top leadership. This may result in a high rate of employee turnover as those with conflicting values may look for another organization where they may have a scope of demonstrating their value systems. Many successful entrepreneurs who started their own companies following their value systems sometimes end up committing the same mistake of not paying attention to their employees’ value systems- the very reason for which they had left their jobs and started working for themselves.  Leaders at the top should have the capability of assessing their own value systems and their people’s values systems as it is one of the essential requirements for the success of a business.  It will allow people working in the company to follow their values systems and will result in them giving full commitment to their roles in the organization. Leaders and employees at various levels in the organization will be able to align themselves better with the organizational goals and objectives and put in their best efforts to achieve them.

However, it is difficult to say which values are good and which values are bad. Only the contextual factor will determine which values will prove to be beneficial for the organization. Hence, values should be checked and analyzed regularly in the context of business and should be modified or broadened to reap maximum benefit out of the organizational values system.

Bhupinder Arora, Assistant Professor, Unitedworld School of Business (UWSB)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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