Nada Kakabadse, Professor of Marketing and Reputation and Dr Candice Chow at Henley Business School, previews ongoing research into how the early formed values of executives and company directors are influencing organisations’ corporate responsibility actions.
Would you hand in a wallet you found on the street? Would you manipulate the reputation of your company for the benefit of competitive positioning or stakeholder opinion?
Our personal values are all about the decisions and moral stands we take. They dictate our view of ourselves and our place in the world, help us understand how others see and judge us, and direct us to take action appropriately.
Why does any of this this matter? Because being aware of our own values is a key part of recognizing what influences our motivations and enables us to act authentically.
Although our values are at the core of our being, the role of executives’ personal values on organisational strategy is often detached from the individual.
Our early studies of executive performance suggest that executive values have significant impact on organisational performance and prove superior to other influences including age, tenure, functional experience and levels of education.
This in turn suggests that personal values are a more fundamental leadership attribute in how leaders shape their organisations.
However, executive selection often neglects values, despite the fact that they drive tangible results. Market-based economies tend to favor decisions made based on techno-economic optimization. As noted by one executive: “the business mandate, by its very nature, runs counter intuitive to solving society’s problems.”
Making sense of business context
Values influence executives’ and directors’ perceptions of their environment. It helps them make sense of business context, whether this is achieved through information scanning, selection, interpretation or by sharing information with their followers.
Executives’ values act as perceptual filters that indirectly affect their decision-making. Situational factors often confound an individual’s ability to align behaviors with their values. This means that values tend to guide general behavior and direct actions in the guise of goal-setting, as well as how these goals will be achieved.
The voluntary and discretionary nature of Corporate Responsibility (CR), ethical business practices beyond the requirements of law, means that…
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