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The individual processes: Values and attitude (Organisational Behaviour and Design)

In management studies, it is established that values are linked to attitudes that a value serves as a way of organizing. Theorists stated that attitudes are formed by the interaction of situations, experiences and values. Attitudes are learned, and carried into the work environment. Attitudes are an essential part of the place of work that directly affects behaviour of employee. Attitudes are generally positive and negatives views of person, place, thing or event. Company managers can improve counterproductive attitudes and gain success in marketplace through proper understanding of how people form attitudes, how those attitudes affect work behaviour. It is documented in studies that attitude of an individual reproduces his/her determined tendency to think, feel and behave towards an object in a particular way, involving favour or low esteem. Attitude towards some situation or people is thought to be unrelenting, because for changing requires efforts and willingness. Attitudes help a person to cope up to a new situation or a context and to decide how to behave in future to succeed in their target. When the environment seems unfriendly, attitude has ‘ego-defensive’ role for protection of the self-image of the individual.

Theoretical studies have shown that all attitudes are learned, and people’s attitudes vary based on their experiences and learning environment. Attitudes of people are formed is through social learning which involves the influences of family, peers, colleagues, and institutions. The association between attitudes and behaviours intrigues researchers. Attitude performance is not as simple as thinking positively to produce positive results. The degree to which behaviour of person matches their attitudes has to do with relevance, personality factors, and social context.

Components of Attitudes

It is important to know the components of attitudes. Attitudes are composed of three components that include cognition, affect and behaviour which assist in understanding their complexity and the potential relationship between attitudes and behaviour.

Cognitive: This element of attitude shows person’s thoughts, beliefs and ideas about something. Characteristically these come to light in generalities or stereotypes.

Affective: This component is associated with feelings or emotions that are brought to the surface about something, such as fear or hate.

Conative: This is also known as the behavioural component and centres on individuals acting a certain way towards something.

Components of Attitudes Components of Attitudes

The job related attitudes perform positive or negative evaluations that employees hold about various aspects of their work environment. Researches in organizational behaviour have been concerned with three attitudes such as job satisfaction, job involvement and organizational commitment.

Job Satisfaction: Job satisfaction is the pleasing or positive emotional condition that results from the judgment of one's job or job experience. Job Satisfaction refers to an individual’s common attitude toward his or her job. A person who has a high level of job satisfaction holds positive attitudes toward the job, whereas a person who is disappointed with his or her job holds negative attitudes about the job. Jobs require communication with co-workers and superiors, following organizational rules and policies, accomplishing performance standards, living with working conditions. There are several measures of job satisfaction. One of the most broadly used measures is the Job Descriptive Index. Job satisfaction correlates with several other outcomes, including organizational citizenship behaviour that is above and beyond the call of duty. It was established that companies with more pleased employees tend to be more effective than organizations with fewer satisfied employees. Satisfied employees are likely to talk optimistically about the organization, assist others and go beyond the normal expectations in their job. However, when the organizational processes are visualized by the workers as favourable, trust is developed. And when employer enjoys the trust, the employees are enthusiastic to happily engage in behaviours that go beyond formal job requirements. Satisfied workforce increases customer satisfaction and loyalty. But dissatisfied customers can increase an employee’s job displeasure. There is a negative relationship between satisfaction and absenteeism. Discontented workers are more likely to overlook work. Factors like labour market conditions, expectations about alternative job opportunities, and length of tenure with the organization are main constriction on the actual decision to quit current job.

Job Involvement: It is described as the degree to which a person recognizes psychologically with his or her job and considers his or her perceived performance level significant to self-worth. Workers who have high level of job involvement strongly recognize with and really care about the kind of work they do. Holding important jobs and giving best performance boost self-images of employees which helps explain the disturbing effects of job loss on their esteem needs. Job-involved employees are likely to believe in the work ethic, to show high growth needs, and to enjoy involvement in decision making. Consequently, they are willing to work long hours, and attempt to be high performers. High levels of job involvement have been found to be related to fewer absences and lower resignation rates.

Organizational Commitment: Organizational commitment is the potency of an individual's recognition with an organization. It is characterized as a state in which a worker recognizes with a particular organization and its goals, and desires to maintain partisanship in the organization. High job involvement means identifying with one’s specific job, while high organizational commitment means identifying with one’s employing organization. The research studies have shown negative relationships between organizational commitment and both absenteeism and turnover. It is documented that an individual’s level of organizational commitment is a better sign of earnings than the far more frequently used job satisfaction predictor. While job satisfaction is mainly concerned with the job or the work a person undertakes in an organization, commitment demonstrates the relationship between an individual and the organization. The stronger such a relationship is, the higher the organizational commitment will be. There are three kinds of organizational commitment that include affective, continuance, and normative. Affective commitment is explained as an employee's aim to remain in an organization because of a strong desire to do so. Continuance commitment denotes that a person cannot leave the job. Normative commitment refers to a perceived responsibility to remain with the organization. Organizational commitment specifies a person’s feelings with respect to continuing his or her association with the organization, acceptance of the values and goals of the organization, and readiness to help the organization attain such goals and values. Organizational commitment can be improved by clarifying the mission and values of the organization, involving people in the development of organizational goals, ensuring impartial treatment without favouritism, developing a cooperative sense of the organization, and investing in people’s growth and progression.

As it is evident in studies that attitudes can be altered and shaped, it is necessary for managers to understand and be alert of ways in which they might affect attitude changes. Through influence, attitudes can be altered. Characteristics of the persuader, and the individual being persuaded, and the message itself must be considered. Other Job Attitudes are Perceived Organizational Support that is the extent to which the workers believe that the organization values their contribution and cares about their happiness. Many researches confirms that people perceive their organization as helpful when rewards are deemed fair, when employees are given opportunity to participate in decisions, and when their superiors are seen as compassionate.


Values are important area of study in organization, because they set the foundation to understand attitudes and motivation and influence perceptions of people. Values are defined as constellation of likes, dislikes, viewpoints, inner inclination, rational and irrational judgement, prejudices and association pattern that determine a person’s view of the world. Values symbolize basic beliefs that “a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of existence”. It has been shown in literature that values are more difficult to change than are attitudes, although attitudes are based on values. Theoretical studies have demonstrated that values have been defined as the principles or standards that people use, individually or collectively, to make judgments about what is important or valuable in their lives. Values subsist and are communicated through social relationships and may differ in diverse cultures and different countries.

Values are the ideas and philosophy that influence and direct choices and actions of people. There are numerous theoretical studies done to describe the concept of value in organization behaviour. Adler describes values as the cultural orientation of a society that reflects the complex interaction of values, attitudes, and behaviours displayed by the members. According to Rokeach (1973), values are ‘a specific’ mode of conduct or end-state of existence that is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of experience. Other group of theorists, Stoner, Freeman and Gilbert (1989) described that values are comparatively permanent desire that seem to be good in them, like peace or goodwill. According to Nystrom (1990), values are normative viewpoint about proper standards of conduct and preferred desired results. Based on Bounds, Dobbins and Fowler (1995), values represent our convictions about what is right or moral and the way we ought to behave. Robbins (2011) described that values have both content and intensity attributes.

Values in workplace Values in Workplace

Types of Values

Allport and his colleagues classified values in different ways.

  1. Social: It assigns the highest value to the love of people.
  2. Theoretical: Places high importance on the discovery of truth through a critical and rational approach. A scientist, for example, values truth.
  3. Economic: Highlights the useful and practical.
  4. Aesthetic: Places the highest value on form and harmony.
  5. Political: Places emphasis on acquisition of power and influence.
  6. Religious: Is associated with the unity of experience and understanding of the cosmos as a whole.


Scale Description of value Typical occupation
Social Helping people Social work
Theoretical Search for truth Professor
Economic Pragmatic, applied Business
Aesthetic Artistic value Artist
Political Power and influence politics
Religious Religion, Harmony Clergy

Work-related values characterize the principles upon which everyone in the organization operates, these are the end states people desire and feel they ought to be able to realize through working. Work values are an employee’s personal conviction about one should expect from and how one should behave at work. Outcome that people might expect from work include comfortable existence with family security, sense of accomplishment and self-respect, social recognition and exciting life. Work values that investigators in organizational behaviour recognized are classified into two categories such as intrinsic and extrinsic work values.

Table: Comparison of intrinsic and extrinsic values
Intrinsic work values Extrinsic work values
Interesting work High pay
Challenging work Job security
Learning new things Job benefits
Making important contributions Status in wider community
Reaching full potential at work Social contacts
Responsibility and autonomy Time with family
Being creative Time with hobbies

Work values are more particular than personal values, and have direct implications for behaviour and attitudes in organizations. The work values most pertinent to individuals are achievement, concern for others, honesty, and fairness.

Another type of values is ethical values which are one’s personal conviction about what is right and wrong. These values help employees to decide right course of actions and guide their decision making and behaviour. Hofstede (2001) stated that work values are important as they are an excellent measure of culture in that they are shaped more by sociological and cultural factors than individual psychological differences. The work values of an organization’s employees will influence that organization in many ways, from conflict resolution, to its ability to change, to communication, to employee motivation.

Instrumental and Terminal Values: Rokeach divides values into instrumental and terminal values. Instrumental values symbolize acceptable behaviours as the means to reach a goal. Terminal values represent the goals to be achieved.

Utilitarian values are the greatest good for the greatest number of people is the end goal.

Moral rights values associated with the idea that decisions should be primarily based on natural, fundamental rights (like life, liberty, and property).

Justice values is the concept that fairness and equitability are the primary targets.

Many organizations ascertain a code of ethics, a set of formal rules and standards delineating right from wrong. Organizations that routinely engage in ethics violations risk being ousted by a whistle-blower, an employee who informs management or regulatory agencies about unethical conduct in an organization.

Cultural Differences in Values: Culture has great impact on individuals’ values and the differences in values within various cultures become progressively more important as workforce diversity broadens. Central values such as loyalty, contribution, and authority can differ greatly from one culture to another, making it more important than ever that managers seek to understand, tolerate, and capitalize on those differences.

To summarise, Attitude and values are vital component in organizational process. Attitudes are evaluative assertions, either favourable or unfavourable related to objects, people, or events. Attitudes are not the same as values, but these are two interconnected concepts. In global firms, attitudes are significant because they affect job behaviour. If employees believe that supervisors, auditors, seniors are all in conspiracy to make employees work harder for the same or less money, then it makes sense to try to understand how these attitudes were formed, their relationship to actual job behaviour, and how they might be changed. Values are explained as people’s constant life goals, reflecting what is most important to them. Values are recognized throughout one’s life as a result of life experiences, and values tend to be comparatively stable. The values that are important to a person tend to affect the types of decisions they make, how they perceive their environment, and their actual behaviours. Moreover, a person is more likely to accept a job offer when the company possesses the values he or she cares about.