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BUSINESS

Agle,
Caldwell
& SOCIETY
/ RESEARCH
/ September
ON VALUES
1999 IN BUSINESS

Understanding Research on
Values in Business
A Level of Analysis Framework

BRADLEY R. AGLE
CRAIG B. CALDWELL
Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh

Researchers in all management specialties have discussed and investigated the important role values play in personal and organizational phenomena. However, because research on values has been performed in a wide range of social science disciplines and at different levels of analysis, much of this work has been uninformed
by other work and is neither well integrated nor systematized, resulting in a great
deal of confusion concerning the topic. This article attempts to add order and clarity to this area of research by proposing a framework of values research based on
level of analysis and by cataloguing and reviewing the vast theoretical and empirical research in light of this framework. It concludes with a critique of the extant literature and recommendations for further research.

At a recent annual meeting of Eli Lilly and Company, Chairman and CEO
Randall Tobias extended the meeting by over 2 hours to discuss the core
values of the company and their importance to the future of the organization. Similarly, in a recent interview in Organizational Dynamics (Lee,
1994), Herb Kelleher, Chairman and CEO of Southwest Airlines, discussed the central role that values play in that organization. Fortune magazine reported that over 50% of U.S. corporations have a values statement,
more than double that of a decade ago (Farnham, 1993).
With all the attention being given to values in the business world, it is
important to assess the status of the academic literature on values in business. A brief review suggests that academicians have spent a great deal of
time thinking about and investigating the role of values in business. Values
have become a central construct in all of the social sciences and in the
BUSINESS & SOCIETY, Vol. 38 No. 3, September 1999 326-387
1999 Sage Publications, Inc.

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Agle, Caldwell / RESEARCH ON VALUES IN BUSINESS

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understanding of business phenomena. The importance of values is best


illustrated by the following statements:
Values are determinants of virtually all kinds of behavior that could be
called social behavior or social action, attitudes and ideology, evaluations,
moral judgments and justifications of self and others, comparisons of self
with others, presentations of self to others, and attempts to influence others.
(Rokeach, 1973, p. 5)
It is quite clear, on the basis both of observation and of systematic studies of
top management in business organizations, that personal values are important determinants in the choice of corporate strategy. (Guth & Tagiuri,
1965, p. 123)

In addition to the perspectives illustrated by these quotes, there is a


growing body of research suggesting a relation between shared values and
organizational performance (Deal & Kennedy, 1982; Enz & Schwenk,
1989; Peters & Waterman, 1982) and between societal values and organizational behavior (Hofstede, 1976; England, 1967a; England & Lee,
1974; Posner & Schmidt, 1984, 1992a).
Evident in this brief outline of the values literature is that values are an
integral and daily part of our lives. They determine, regulate, and modify
relations between individuals, organizations, institutions, and societies. In
fact, many have suggested that values will be even more important in governing the new organizational forms of tomorrow. Yet, despite the importance placed on the topic by practitioners and academics alike, and despite
the vast research performed to date, a persistent degree of confusion
plagues the field and deters attempts at gaining greater understanding of
values and their role in organizational phenomena. We argue that the present condition of the literature still fits the following descriptions from earlier eras:
Confusion persists in the study of values. (Fallding, 1965, p. 223)
Virtually any textbook on organizational behavior contains at least one theory featuring individual values, beliefs, and attitudes in a central
role. . . . This global assumption, unfortunately, hides a very real paucity of
information on the processes whereby values exert their influence on human cognition, behavior, and attitudes. (Ravlin & Meglino, 1987b, p. 153)

Most recently, Connor and Becker (1994) argued that because of lax
operationalization of the values construct and the proliferation of new
instruments that are rarely reconciled with earlier instruments, it has been
almost impossible to accumulate a coherent body of knowledge. Simi-

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BUSINESS & SOCIETY / September 1999

larly, Pinder, Stackman, and Connor (1997) argued that the rate of progress has been uneven at times, and arguably, far from commensurate with
the levels of energy that have been expended (p. 1).

PURPOSE OF THE ARTICLE


Rather than write yet another green-field article that attempts to outline a definition of values followed by descriptive or empirical attempts to
justify the approach, this article undertakes to systematize the current
body of literature on values by providing a framework, or heuristic, for
understanding it, and then reviews the literature in light of that framework.
Only after completing this task can we assess the status of such things as a
definition of values, the direction of values literature, and caveats in conducting values research. Among the caveats discussed in the article are the
appropriateness of, and selection criteria for, the various methods of measuring values.
Providing understanding through systematics has been suggested
before. Mitnick (1994) stated that to create order out of confusion,
We select and order abstractions [of the world] that are said to grant us understanding. It is an error to claim that only theory does this; antecedent to
every theory is an ordering of abstractions that constitutes a choice of how
to depict which elements of the real world and how such elements are related to one another. These distinctional choices are critical in promoting
the basic understanding that is sought. (p. 114)

And with regard to classifying values, Rescher (1969) wrote the


following:
Why classify values? The question of the classification of values may strike
the reader as a purely academic exercise of relatively little practical worth.
But it is not so. One cannot begin a really coherent, well-informed discussion of any range of phenomena (dogs, games, diseases, etc.) until some at
least rough classification is at hand. For classifications embody needed distinctions, and confusion [italics added] is the price of a failure to heed
needed distinctions. (pp. 13-14)

Following Mitnick (1994) and Rescher (1969), this article creates order
out of the values literature confusion by developing a framework useful in
making distinctional choices.
This effort follows a long history of articles attempting to review and
provide insights into the values literature. Earlier attempts have been

Agle, Caldwell / RESEARCH ON VALUES IN BUSINESS

329

performed by Connor and Becker (1975), Beyer (1981), Kilmann (1981),


Becker and Connor (1986), Hambrick and Brandon (1988), Connor and
Becker (1994), and Pinder et al. (1997). Connor and Becker (1975) and
Kilmann (1981) provided informative reviews of the literature up through
the early 1970s, and, other than seminal works from that period, we refer
the reader to those reviews for work from the 1920s through the 1960s. We
also refer the reader to specialized reviews of the literature on work values
(Zytowski, 1970), values and career choice (Pine & Inis, 1987), values in
consumer behavior (Kahle, Poulos, & Sukhdial, 1988; Pitts & Woodside,
1984), values and decision making (Beyer, 1981), and values in public
affairs (Jacob, Flink, & Shuchman, 1962).
Becker and Connor (1986) distinguished various elements of the values literature by the authors use of values as an independent, dependent,
or moderating variable. Hambrick and Brandon (1988) provided a succinct overview of four major values schemes in the literature and their
accompanying measurement instruments, as well as an integration of values literature in the identification of executive values. Connor and Becker
(1994) reflected on what we know and do not know about personal values
and management. Finally, Pinder et al. (1997) provided specific critiques
of the values literature.
Although each of these reviews has been helpful in preparing this article, these efforts are narrower in scope than the current effort. By performing a comprehensive review of the management literature, examining the
major works outside of the management literature, and fitting them into an
overarching framework, we hope to help authors locate their work in a
larger context.

LEVEL OF ANALYSIS FRAMEWORK


FOR BUSINESS VALUES RESEARCH
Rescher (1969) argued that values are inherently complex and that
classification can thus be approached from many angles. Based on the
work of scholars like Rousseau (1985), we believe that the framework providing the greatest potential for illuminating a systematic approach to values literature is one that distinguishes the level at which the values are held
or exercised (i.e., are the values individual, organizational, institutional,
societal, or global?).
Indeed, after discussing the various ways in which values could be
classified, Rescher (1969) suggested that

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BUSINESS & SOCIETY / September 1999

The most obvious classificatory distinction regarding values relates the


subscribership to the value. Is the value held or is it such that it ought to be
heldby a person or by a group, and then what sort of a group? . . . We correspondingly obtain such classificatory groupings as personal values, professional (professionwide) values or work values, national (nationwide)
values, etc. (p. 14)

Further rationale for using a framework sensitive to the levels issue is


provided by Rousseau (1985). She noted, Theory explicitly addressing
the role of level in its specification of concepts and their interrelations is
essential to sound cross-level and multi-level research (p. 1).
Like other literatures, the study of values originally was conducted at
the level of greatest interest to the fields founders (i.e., personal values as
studied by Rokeach, 1968; Spranger, 1928). As the study of values
expanded to areas outside psychology and philosophy, the level of analysis was expanded from individual to organizational and beyond. Although
some values scholars have recognized the limitations of their studies by
specifying a relevant level of analysis (e.g., Badovick & Beatty, 1987;
Bentley & McEntire, 1995; Hambrick & Brandon, 1988; Schein, 1985),
many others have ignored the levels issue.
Why is a multilevel approach to the study of values appropriate? Primarily because values exist at all levels and interact with values at all other
levels. As Rousseau (1985) stated in her examination of levels issues,
mixed level research should abound in any interdisciplinary field studying
mixed-level phenomenon. As such, levels of analysis must be considered
in the study of values to provide a systematic understanding of the
phenomenon.
The Framework

After deciding to sort the literature according to a level of analysis


framework, the various levels need to be articulated. Several schemes
have been used in the values literature, including the aforementioned
scheme by Rescher (1969). Schmidt and Posner (1983) provided a framework with individual work values, managerial values, businessorganizational values, and societal values. Beyer (1981) used a framework
with personal, role-sets, organizational systems, societal systems, and
cultural systems. Rokeach (1973) suggested that values can be meaningfully employed at all levels of social analysis, including personal, group,
organizational, institutional, societal, and cultural levels.

Agle, Caldwell / RESEARCH ON VALUES IN BUSINESS

331

Looking to organization theory, Charles Perrow (1986) noted the existence of 12 levels of analysis: individual, group, department, division,
organization, interorganization, organizational set, networks, industry,
region, national, and world. The selection of the current framework was
based on an analysis of the literature in the values field, the prevalence of
the level in previous frameworks, and suggestions from scholars in organizational analysis and organization theory. This analysis suggests that five
levels should be considered: individual, organizational, institutional,
societal, and global. Therefore, our framework, found in Figure 1,
includes these five elements and their cross-level interactions.
The choice of levels was a difficult one. For example, Perrows (1986)
framework enjoys the benefit of being comprehensive yet contains levels
not necessary for the development of a usable values heuristic. Many of
the levels that Perrow noted simply do not exist in the business values literature. Surprisingly, a literature review of more than 200 articles yielded
very little empirical or theoretical work in the area of small-group, departmental, industry, or region values. Nevertheless, collapsing the literature
into five levels also removes distinction. For example, values that have
been referred to by other authors as work values, individual values, and
managerial values are all included here in personal values. Institutional
values include values of professions, industries, societal institutions such
as business, government, and labor, and so forth. Although perhaps fruitful at some point, we believe that the theoretical similarity between such
institutional categories, together with the relatively small amount of
research currently at that level, provide a strong argument for collapsing
them into one category.
Our model is also similar to that of J. G. Miller (1978), who described
levels in terms of a hierarchy of systems in the universe (e.g., organisms,
groups, organizations, societies, and supranational systems). With the
exclusion of groups and inclusion of institutions, our model parallels his.
Because human experience often incorporates more than one level of
analysis, we have provided elements in the framework to accommodate
cross-level phenomena. Thus, we have developed a framework that allows
for a systematic sorting of the extant values literature as well as one that
allows future researchers to locate their work within a larger field.
Sorting the Literature

To examine the extant values literature, we employed the following


literature search methods. First, we systematically reviewed the past 10

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BUSINESS & SOCIETY / September 1999

Figure 1.

A Level of Analysis Framework for Values Research

years of Business and Society, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of
Business Ethics, Journal of Management, and the International Journal of
Values-Based Management. Second, using the bibliographies from the
articles obtained in the first method, we gathered any article related to
values. These methods yielded a database of more than 200 articles. Although this population of articles does not represent all research under the
values rubric, it is a comprehensive review of the management literature,
with substantial insight from related fields.
We sorted the articles according to the framework outlined previously
and categorized them by as many levels as was deemed appropriate to the
research question being explored. For example, an article dealing with the
values of executives from a particular organization and the values of that
organization would be included in the Individual, Organizational, and
Individual/Organizational levels of analysis. Within the tables for each
level, the articles have been sorted by year of publication. The following
sections provide a brief description of the literature in each element of the
framework.
Individual Values (No. 1)

Easily the most voluminous portion of business values literature deals


with individual values. It is within this level of analysis that we find the

Agle, Caldwell / RESEARCH ON VALUES IN BUSINESS

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work of such notables as Milton Rokeach and Eduard Spranger. Although


it is sometimes difficult to identify one scholarly piece of work as the
seminal work for an area of inquiry, it is relatively easy to do this with values. Milton Rokeachs (1968, 1973) work from the late 1960s and early
1970s holds the distinction of being the work most used by later research.
Subsequent research uses the work of Rokeach to define the conditions
and meaning of values, to provide insight into the empirical examination
of values, and as a way of measuring valuesfor example, the Rokeach
Values Survey (RVS) (Rokeach, 1973). The body of values research at the
individual level is both rich and varied. These empirical and theoretical
examinations of individuals explore end-state and instrumental values.
Some examples of what Rokeach (1973) called preferred end states
include social recognition, an exciting life, a world at peace, and equality.
Another significant scholar in the field of values is Eduard Spranger.
Spranger (1928) engaged in a painstaking classification of human beings
based solely on the things they value. This dense yet enlightening work
sets the stage for a large number of scholarly pieces seeking to classify the
human experience based on end-state preferences. The Allport, Vernon,
and Lindzey (1960) values measure (AVL) is based on Sprangers theoretical framework.
George England conducted some of the more notable individually oriented empirical research. England (1967b) developed the Personal Values
Questionnaire (PVQ) and tested the personal and managerial values of
managers from numerous countries. Using the same database of managers, additional studies were conducted by Whitely and England (1977,
1980) and England and Lee (1974). The success of the England studies is
evidenced through the use of the PVQ in many other studies.
Another area of personal values research is work values. Connor and
Becker (1994) suggested that because of their specific nature, work values
should be treated as attitudes. However, we feel that they warrant inclusion in a review of values research. Although research on work values has
a long history (see Rosenberg, 1957), significant progress has been made
by Ravlin and Meglino (1987a, 1987b; Meglino, Ravlin, & Adkins, 1991)
and associates during the past decade. Their Comparative Emphasis Scale
(CES) (Ravlin & Meglino, 1987a, 1987b) has been validated and successfully used in several research projects.
It is difficult to characterize the results from all of this research. A brief
sampling here reveals that researchers have investigated the impact of individual values on strategic (England, 1967b), operational (Beyer, 1981), and
ethical decision making and behavior (Akaah & Lund, 1994; Singhapakdi
(text continues on p. 340)

334

Table 1
Individual Values (1)
Author(s)

Citation

Method

Spranger
C. Kluckhohn
Jacob, Flink, & Shuchman
McMurry
Tagiuri
Fallding
Guth & Tagiuri
England
Rokeach
Williams
Rescher
Blood
Rokeach
Bales & Couch

1928 Book
1951 Book chapter
1962 ABS
1963 HBR
1965 ASQ
1965 ASR
1965 HBR
1967a, 1967b AMJ
1968 Book
1968 Book chapter
1969 Book
1969 JAP
1969a, 1969b RRR
1969 Sociological
Inquiry

Hicks
Zytowski

1970 Psychological
Bulletin
1970 VGQ

Theory
Theory
Theory
Theory
Survey
Theory
Survey
Survey
Theory
Theory
Theory
Survey
Survey
Content
analysis
and survey
Method

DeSalvia & Gemmill


England & Lee

1971 AMJ
1971 AMJ

Theory and
review
Survey
Survey

Instrument

Sample

NA
NA
NA
NA
AVL
NA
AVL
PVQ
NA
NA
NA
Blood
RVS
Bales &
Couch

NA
NA
NA
NA
236 research managers, 204 scientists, 555 businessmen
NA
178 research managers, 157 scientists, 653 businessmen
1,072 managers selected from a national directory
NA
NA
NA
448 airmen and noncommissioned officers from the U.S. Air Force
1,400 adult Americans (a)(b) and 300 college students (a)
552 college students and faculty

NA

NA

NA

NA

PVQ
PVQ

1,068 managers, 225 business students


Managers from 3 countries, similar sized organizations: 1,071 U.S.,
394 Japanese, 223 Korean

335

Senger

1971 AMJ

Survey

Senger

Wollack, Goodale, Wijting,


& Smith
Sikula

1971 JAP

Survey

SWV

28 managers and 151 subordinates from medium and large


companies
495 employees at glass manufacturing firm

Theory

NA

NA

Feather

1971 Journal of
Psychology
1973 AJP

RVS

382 undergraduate students

Hage & Dewar

1973 ASQ

Survey and
method
Survey

Neal

White & Ruh


Rokeach
Hahn & Vana

Survey
Multiple
Survey

RVS
RVS
RVS

Lusk & Oliver

1973 ASQ
1973 Book
1973 Journal of
Purchasing
1974 AMJ

320 staff and 16 executive directors in 16 health and welfare


organizations
2,755 employees of 6 Midwest manufacturing firms
Multiple
81 purchasing managers

Survey

PVQ

England & Lee

1974 JAP

Survey

PVQ

Mankoff

Survey

RVS

Feather
Moore

1974 Management
Review
1975 Book
1975 EJSP

RVS
RVS

Rokeach
Watson & Barone
Brown
Locke
Hofstede

1975 JPSP
1976 AMJ
1976 AMR
1976 Book Chapter
1976 JAP

Survey
Survey and
method
Survey
Survey
Theory
Theory
Survey

Englands (1966) 1,072 managers and an unstated number


of managers in 1972
Managers from 4 countries, similar-sized organizations:
878 U.S., 500 Indian, 301 Australian, 312 Japanese
Unstated number of partners, managers, and supervisors in
one accounting firm
Multiple samples, mainly students
68 Israeli college freshman

RVS
PVQ
NA
NA
Gordon

217 undergraduate students


64 Black and 64 White managers
NA
NA
372 middle-level managers from 40 nationalities
(continued)

336

Table 1 Continued
Author(s)

Citation

Method

Instrument

Sample

Whitely & England

1977 AMJ

Survey

SPV &
SIV
PVQ

Watson & Williams


Watson & Simpson
Weiss
Clare & Sanford
Posner & Munson
Munson & Posner
Watson & Ryan

Survey
Survey
Survey
Survey
Review
Survey
Survey

PVQ
PVQ
Rosenberg
RVS
NA
RVS
PVQ

Feather
Mahoney, Heretick, & Katz
Munson & Posner

1977 JAP
1978 AMJ
1978 JAP
1979 Human Relations
1979 HRM
1979 IEEE
1979 Journal of
Psychology
1979 JPSP
1979 Sex Roles
1980 JAP

Reynolds & Jolly

1980 JMR

RVS
RVS
PVQ,
RVS
RVS

Whitely & England

1980 Personnel
Psychology
1981 JLTCA
1981 Journal of
Psychology
1981 Psychological

Survey
Survey
Survey and
method
Survey and
method
Survey and
method
Survey
Survey

RVS
PVQ

945 Australian adults and teenagers


53 male and 77 female college students
39 managers and 35 nonmanagers at two West Coast computer
firms
54 undergraduate business students enrolled in introductory
marketing
Managers: 833 U.S., 301 Japanese, 161 Korean, 282 Australian,
485 Indian
46 administrators of long-term care facilities
130 male and 122 female managers

Theory and

NA

NA

Becker & Connor


E. J. Ryan, Watson, &
Williams
Kilmann

PVQ

Managers: 862 U.S., 301 Japanese, 161 Korean, 282 Australian,


485 Indian
40 Black and 40 White small-business owners
64 Black and 64 White managers
141 employees and their managers
132 managers from 4 organizations
NA
35 engineers and 39 engineering managers
130 male and 122 female managers

Reports
1981a, 1981b
Psychological
Reports
1982 MIR
1984 Book

review
Survey

PVQ

148 business students, 31 business faculty, 102 corporate recruiters

Survey
Experiment

AVL
RVS

46 Egyptian business students, 60 American business students


TV viewers in the Tri-city area of Washington

1984 Book

Multiple

Posner & Schmidt


Powell, Posner, & Schmidt

1984 CMR
1984 Human Relations

Survey
Survey

PVQ
PVQ

Elizur

1984 JAP

Survey

Brunson
Tetlock
Rokeach
Jaskolka, Beyer, & Trice
Alwin & Krosnick

1985 GOS
1985 JPSP
1985 JSI
1985 JVB
1985 POQ

8 top managers of midwestern conglomerate


142 undergraduate students
NA
474 managers of various levels
973 U.S. adults

Beatty, Kahle, Homer, &


Misra
Becker & Connor

1985 Psychology &


Marketing
1986 MBR

RVS, LOV

356 students

NA

NA

Pine & Inis

1987 CDQ

NA

NA

Ravlin & Meglino

1987a JAP

Survey
Survey
Theory
Survey
Survey and
method
Survey and
method
Theory and
review
Theory and
review
Survey and
method

Jurgenson;
Elizur
RVS
RVS
NA
Beyer
Kohn

Edited volume with multiple studies investigating values and


marketing
1,460 managers from American Management Association
130 female and 130 male managers from American Management
Association
1,035 Israeli Adults

CES

103 undergraduate students

Posner & Munson

Badr, Gray, & Kedia


Ball-Rokeach, Rokeach, &
Grube
Pitts & Woodside

337

(continued)

338

Table 1 Continued
Author(s)

Citation

Barnett & Karson

1987 JBE

Schmidt & Posner


Ravlin & Meglino

1987 PAR
1987b RCSPP

Enz

1988 ASQ

Hambrick & Brandon

1988 Book chapter

R. Miller
DeMaria
Pienta, Natale, & Sora
Kahle, Poulos, & Sukhdial
Baxter & Baxter
Enz
Enz

1988 IJVBM
1988 IJVBM
1988 IJVBM
1988 JAR
1989 IJVBM
1989a IJVBM
1989b IJVBM

Meglino, Ravlin, & Adkins


Liedtka

1989 JAP
1989b JBE

Barnett & Karson

1989 JBE

Zahra
Liedtka

1989 JBE
1989a RCSPP

Method

Survey w/
vignettes
Survey
Survey and
method
Survey and
interviews
Theory and
review
Theory
Theory
Theory
Survey
Theory
Survey
Survey and
interviews
Survey
Survey and
Interviews
Survey w/
vignettes
Survey
Survey and
interviews

Instrument

Sample

Barnett &
Karson
PVQ
CES

136 managers in northeast U.S.


238 California city managers
1,243 employees in over 40 U.S. organizations

Enz

414 survey respondents (two firms), 81 interview respondents

NA

NA

NA
NA
NA
LOV
NA
Enz
Enz

NA
NA
NA
2,264 U.S. adults in 1976 and 997 U.S. adults in 1986
NA
162 employees of food-processing company
447 corporate employees

CES
PVQ

191 production workers, 17 supervisors, and 13 managers


18 managers at 2 firms

Barnett &
Karson
Zahra
PVQ

513 salaried employees at insurance firm


302 managers
18 managers at 2 firms

339

Wittig-Berman & Lang

1990 IJVBM

Survey

Fryxell & Enz


Weber

1990 IJVBM
1990 IJVBM

Harris

1990 JBE

OReilly, Chatman, &


Caldwell
Meglino, Ravlin, & Adkins

1991 AMJ

Survey
Survey and
method
Survey w/
vignettes
Survey

OCP

1991 Human Relations

Survey

CES

Fritzsche
McCabe, Dukerich, & Dutton
Locke
Frederick
Posner & Schmidt

1991 JBE
1991 JBE
1991 OBHDP
1992 BEQ
1992b CMR

Theory
Survey
Theory
Theory
Survey

NA
RVS
NA
NA
PVQ

Isaac, Cahoon, & Zerbe


Judge & Bretz
Meglino, Ravlin, & Adkins

1992 IJVBM
1992 JAP
1992 Journal of
Management
1993 Book Chapter
1993 Human Relations
1993 IJVBM
1993 IJVBM
1993 JBE
1994 JAP

Survey
Survey
Survey

RVS
CES
CES;
SWV
NA
RVS
NA
PVQ
LOV
CES

Armon
Weber
Robb
Sokoya
Singhapakdi & Vitell
McNeely & Meglino

Interviews
Survey
Theory
Survey
Survey
Survey

Mirels &
Garrett;
SWV
Enz
RVS
Harris

270 evening MBA students

1,746 employees from 2 firms


413 managers
72 managers (various levels) and 40 sales/service personnel in
1 firm
224 MBAs, 405 accountants, 730 middle managers
63 banking executives, 61 MBA students, and 102 undergraduate
students
NA
318 MBA students and 481 law students
NA
NA
Over 1,000 managers selected from American Management
Association
92 employees and 23 of their supervisors
67 students (various levels)
174 production employees in 1 firm
50 individuals over 12 years
111 graduate students
NA
329 Nigerian managers
492 U.S. marketing practitioners
100 secretaries
(continued)

340

Table 1 Continued
Author(s)

Citation

Akaah & Lund


Connor & Becker

1994 JBE
1994 JMI

Adkins, Russell, & Werbel


L. Ryan & Gist

1994 Personnel
Psychology
1995 Conference Paper

Costa & Sikula


Pinder, Stackman, & Connor

1995 IJVBM
1997 AOM Paper

Method

Instrument

Sample

Survey
Theory and
Review
Survey

Scott; PVQ 407 marketing managers


NA
NA
CES

171 job applicants and 44 recruiters

Survey and
Method
Survey
Theory

Ryan &
Gist
RVS
NA

185 shareholders and 37 executives


104 business students, 67 nonbusiness students
NA

Note. ABS = American Behavioral Scientist; HBR = Harvard Business Review; ASQ = Administrative Science Quarterly; AVL = Allport, Vernon, and Lindzey
(1960) values measure; ASR = American Sociological Review; AMJ = Academy of Management Journal; PVQ = Personal Values Questionnaire; JAP = Journal of Applied Psychology; RRR = Review of Religious Research ; RVS = Rokeach Values Survey; VGQ = Vocational Guidance Quarterly; AJP = Australian
Journal of Psychology; EJSP = European Journal of Social Psychology; JPSP = Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; AMR = Academy of Management Review; HRM = Human Resource Management; IEEE = IEEE Transactions in Engineering Management; JMR = Journal of Marketing Research; JLTCA
= Journal of Long-Term Care Administration; MIR = Management International Review; CMR = California Management Review; GOS = Group and Organization Studies; JSI = Journal of Social Issues; JVB = Journal of Vocational Behavior; POQ = Public Opinion Quarterly; LOV = Kahles List of Values; CDQ =
Career Development Quarterly; CES = Comparative Emphasis Scale; JBE = Journal of Business Ethics; PAR = Public Administration Review; ASQ = Administrative Science Quarterly; IJVBM = International Journal of Values-Based Management; JAR = Journal of Advertising Research; OBHDP = Organizational
Behavior and Human Decision Processes; BEQ = Business Ethics Quarterly; JMI = Journal of Management Inquiry; AOM = Academy of Management.

Agle, Caldwell / RESEARCH ON VALUES IN BUSINESS

341

& Vitell, 1993); moral development (Weber, 1993), prosocial behavior


(McNeely & Meglino, 1994); organizational commitment (WittigBerman & Lang, 1990); managerial success (Jaskolka, Beyer, & Trice,
1985); job choice (Judge & Bretz, 1992); and consumer behavior (Beatty,
Kahle, Homer, & Misra, 1985). They also have studied the role of values
congruence on job satisfaction (Meglino, Ravlin, & Adkins, 1989); organizational commitment (Posner & Schmidt, 1993); satisfaction with leader
(Meglino et al., 1991); and strategic influence (Enz, 1988). Finally,
researchers have investigated differences in values between individuals in
various categories, including gender (Mahoney, Heretick, & Katz, 1979;
Watson & Ryan, 1979); race (Watson & Barone, 1976; Watson & Simpson, 1978; Watson & Williams, 1977); religion (Rokeach, 1969a, 1969b);
and hierarchical level (Clare & Sanford, 1979; Harris, 1990). In each of
these areas, there is a multitude of conflicting and complementary findings. Although values are generally found to have an impact in these different areas, findings are often less than clear due to the fact that measuring values implies measuring multiple values simultaneously. Therefore,
empirical results are frequently contradictory in that some values are
explanatory and some are not; thus, researchers often must interpret their
findings in light of their own subjective understanding of what is theoretically significant. This difficulty is encountered at all levels of analysis.
Organizational Values (No. 2)

As noted in the introduction, work on organizational values has


received a lot of attention. Table 2 also reveals that academicians have
spent considerable time investigating organizational values. This work
has been conducted in multiple ways, a further critique of which is provided subsequently.
Although organizational values have been studied for decades, this literature blossomed with the introduction of the term organizational culture (Pettigrew, 1979). In this body of literature, organizational culture is
recognized as being highly related to values. Broms and Gahmberg (1983)
articulated a definition of organizational culture as the collection of central values hidden in the shared myths and symbols of that domain
(p. 482). Deal and Kennedy (1982) and Schein (1985) discussed culture as
the existence of shared meanings, beliefs, and values, with values at the
core, and Liedtka (1989a, 1989b) and Tichy (1982) defined organizational
culture as shared values. Although definitions of culture vary as to the
(text continues on p. 344)

342

Table 2
Organizational Values (No. 2)
Author(s)

Citation

Method

England
Hage & Dewar

1967a, 1967b AMJ


1973 ASQ

Survey
Survey

Sturdivant & Ginter

1977 CMR

Survey

Blau & McKinley

1979 ASQ

Survey

Clare & Sanford


Posner & Munson
Deal & Kennedy
Peters & Waterman
Keeley
Wilkins & Ouchi
Aupperle, Carroll, & Hatfield
Quinn & McGrath
Barney
Saffold
Wiener
Enz

1979 Human Relations


1979 HRM
1982 Book
1982 Book
1983 AMR
1983 ASQ
1985 AMJ
1985 Book chapter
1986 AMR
1988 AMR
1988 AMR
1988 ASQ

Victor & Cullen


Hambrick & Brandon

1988 ASQ
1988 Book chapter

Survey
Review
Theory
Case study
Theory
Theory
Survey
Theory
Theory
Theory
Theory
Survey and
interviews
Survey
Theory and
review

Instrument

Sample

PVQ
Neal

1,072 managers selected from a national directory


320 staff and 16 executive directors in 16 health and welfare
organizations
Sturdivant & 130 policy managers at 23 companies
Ginter
Blau &
Principal leader in 77 large architectural firms
McKinley
RVS
132 managers from 4 organizations
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Major U.S. firms
NA
NA
NA
NA
Aupperle
241 CEOs
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Enz
414 survey respondents (2 firms), 81 interview respondents
ECQ
NA

872 employees from 4 firms


NA

R. Miller
Sankar
Freeman, Gilbert, & Hartman
Enz
Enz

1988 IJVBM
1988 IJVBM
1988 JBE
1989a IJVBM
1989b IJVBM

Liedtka

1989a RCSPP

Liedtka

1989b JBE

Enz & Schwenk


1989 Working paper
Hofstede, Neuijen, Ohayv, & 1990 ASQ
Sanders
Nystrom
1990b IJVBM

Theory
Theory
Theory
Survey
Survey and
interviews
Survey and
interviews
Survey and
Interviews
Survey
Survey and
interviews
Survey

NA
NA
NA
Enz
Enz

NA
NA
NA
162 employees of food-processing company
447 corporate employees

PVQ

18 managers at 2 firms

PVQ

18 managers at 2 firms

Enz
Hofstede

135 operating units with 2 or more surveys returned; 27 managers


1,295 employees (nonmanagers and managers)

PVQ;
Kilmann &
Saxton
Enz
PVQ
OCP

72 managers from 18 firms

1,746 employees from 2 firms


97 employees from 8 companies
224 MBAs, 405 accountants, 730 middle managers

343

Fryxell & Enz


Nystrom
OReilly, Chatman, &
Caldwell
Liedtka

1990 IJVBM
1990a JBE
1991 AMJ

Survey
Survey
Survey

1991 JBE

PVQ

18 managers at two firms

Dougherty & Kunda

1991 Book chapter

NA

McDonald & Gandz

1992 Organizational
Dynamics
1994 AMJ
1994 JBE

Survey and
interviews
Content
analysis
Interviews

425 photographs of customers from annual reports of 5 computer


firms between 1975 and 1984
45 executives

Survey
Survey

OCP
1,157 managers in 15 firms in 4 industries
Scott; PVQ 407 marketing managers

Chatman & Jehn


Akaah & Lund

NA

(continued)

344

Table 2 Continued
Author(s)

Citation

Method

Nohria & Ghoshal

1994 SMJ

Survey

Kabanoff, Waldersee, &


Cohen
L. Ryan & Gist

1995 AMJ

Wartick
Pinder, Stackman, & Connor
Wimbush, Shepard, &
Markham

1995 Conference Paper


1997 AOM Paper
1997 JBE

Content
Analysis
Survey and
Method
Survey
Theory
Survey

1995 Conference Paper

Instrument

Sample

Nohria &
Ghoshal
NA

54 companies with a minimum of 5 subsidiaries reporting

RVS
NA
ECQ

147 senior managers from 25 countries


NA
643 employees in a nationwide retail chain

More than 1,000 public documents on 88 large Australian


organizations
Ryan & Gist 185 shareholders and 37 executives

Note. AMJ = Academy of Management Journal; PVQ = Personal Values Questionnaire; ASQ = Administrative Science Quarterly; CMR = California Management Review;ASQ = Administrative Science Quarterly; RVS = Rokeach Values Survey; HRM = Human Resource Management; AMR = Academy of Management Review; IJVBM = International Journal of Values-Based Management; JBE = Journal of Business Ethics; OCP = Chatman & Caldwells Organizational
Culture Profile; SMJ = Strategic Management Journal; AOM = Academy of Management.

Agle, Caldwell / RESEARCH ON VALUES IN BUSINESS

345

Although organizational values have been studied for decades, this literature blossomed with the introduction of the term organizational culture (Pettigrew, 1979). In this body of literature, organizational culture is
recognized as being highly related to values. Broms and Gahmberg (1983)
articulated a definition of organizational culture as the collection of central values hidden in the shared myths and symbols of that domain
(p. 482). Deal and Kennedy (1982) and Schein (1985) discussed culture as
the existence of shared meanings, beliefs, and values, with values at the
core, and Liedtka (1989a, 1989b) and Tichy (1982) defined organizational
culture as shared values. Although definitions of culture vary as to the
importance placed on values, most mention culture and values in the same
breath.
Values at the organizational level have been operationalized in myriad
ways. Attempts at measurement include instruments by England (1967b),
Enz (1988), and OReilly, Chatman, and Caldwell (1991). In addition to
these explicit attempts to measure organizational values, others have
looked at similar theoretical constructs, including work motifs (Blau &
McKinley, 1979), organizational ethical climate (Victor & Cullen, 1988),
and philosophy toward corporate social responsibility (Aupperle, Carroll, &
Hatfield, 1985). These measures are based on different theories but appear
to tap into a similar theme. It would be interesting to see how these different measures correlate within and among organizations. Would they have
a high level of correlation, or could one discriminate between them?
Research at the organizational level primarily has been concerned with
developing theory (Quinn & McGrath, 1985) and valid measures of the
construct (Enz, 1988), determining whether organizations truly have values that can be deciphered (Kabanoff, Waldersee, & Cohen, 1995;
OReilly et al., 1991), determining the sources (Chatman & Jehn, 1994;
Hambrick & Mason, 1984) and changes (Wiener, 1988) of those values,
and determining whether such values produce economic returns for the
firm (Enz & Schwenk, 1989). Some of this research has noted that excellent organizational performance is a function of shared values (Deal &
Kennedy, 1982; Peters & Waterman, 1982). This has spurred an active and
still open debate as to whether shared values can be empirically linked to
organizational performance (Hambrick & Brandon, 1988). One final
example of organization level research is Nohria and Ghoshals (1994)
attempt to relate shared values to governance structures.
Institutional Values (No. 3)
(text continues on p. 349)

346

Table 3
Institutional Values (3)
Author(s)

Citation

Method

Instrument

Sample

Tagiuri
Guth & Tagiuri
England
England, Agarwal, & Trerise
Pennings
DeSalvia & Gemmill
Lodahl & Gordon

1965 ASQ
Survey
1965 HBR
Survey
1967a, 1967b AMJ
Survey
1971 Industrial Relations Survey
1970 ASQ
Survey
1971 AMJ
Survey
1972 ASR
Survey

Sikula

1973 PPM

Survey

AVL
AVL
PVQ
PVQ
Pennings
PVQ
Lodahl &
Gordon
RVS

Lusk & Oliver

1974 AMJ

Survey

PVQ

Feather
Cavanagh
Blau & McKinley

1975 Book
1976 1998 Book
1979 ASQ

Posner & Munson

1981a Psychological
Reports
1983 CMR

Survey
Theory
Content
analysis
Survey

RVS
NA
NA
NA
PVQ

148 business students, 31 business faculty, 102 corporate recruiters

Content
analysis
Content
analysis
Survey

NA

119 corporate Codes of Conduct

NA

882 business speeches given from 1950 to 1975

PVQ

1,460 managers from American Management Association

Cressey & Moore


Sussman, Ricchio, &
Belohlav
Posner & Schmidt

1983 SMJ
1984 CMR

236 research managers, 204 scientists, 555 businessmen


178 research managers, 157 scientists, 653 businessmen
1,072 managers selected from a national directory
136 union leaders, 1,072 managers
314 white-collar managers
1,068 managers, 225 business students
1,161 university faculty members in 80 departments: 20 each in
physics, chemistry, sociology, and political science
54 governmental executives, contrasted with 11 other occupational
and career groups
Englands (1966) 1,072 managers and an unstated number of
managers in 1972
969 undergraduates in various majors
NA
Interviews of principal leaders of 77 large architectural firms

Erez

1986 Journal of
Management
Schmidt & Posner
1987 PAR
Frederick & Weber
1987 RCSPP
Scott & Hart
1989 Book
McCabe, Dukerich, & Dutton 1991 JBE
Frederick
1992 BEQ
Posner & Schmidt
1992b CMR

Author
assertion
Survey
Survey
Theory
Survey
Theory
Survey

H. Miller & Engemann

1992 IJVBM

Experiment

Maher & Ford


Robb
Vinten
Posner, Randolph, & Schmidt
Singhapakdi & Vitell

1993 IJVBM
1993 IJVBM
1993 IJVBM
1993 IJVBM
1993 JBE

Theory
Theory
Theory
Survey
Survey

Chatman & Jehn


Vinten
L. Ryan & Gist

1994 AMJ
1994 IJVBM
1995 Conference
paper
Naumes, Boshoff, & Naumes 1995 IJVBM

Survey
Theory
Survey and
method
Survey

NA

3 Israeli industrial sectors: private, public-Histadrut, Kibbutz

PVQ
RVS
NA
RVS
NA
PVQ

238 California city managers


220 managers, 146 union members, 234 community activists
NA
318 MBA students and 481 law students
NA
More than 1,000 managers selected from American Management
Association
25 bank executives

Miller &
Engemann
NA
NA
NA
PVQ
Singhapakdi
& Vitell
OCP
NA
Ryan &
Gist
AVL

NA
NA
NA
1,060 managers from the American Management Association
492 U.S. marketing practitioners
1,157 managers in 15 firms in 4 industries
NA
185 shareholders and 37 executives
126 South African managers, 412 U.S. entrepreneurs
(continued)

347

Table 3 Continued
348

Author(s)

Aquino

Citation

1995 IJVBM

Method

Survey

Instrument

Aquino;
KilmannSaxton

Sample

429 correctional facility employees

Administrative Science Quarterly; AVL = Allport, Vernon, and Lindzey (1960) values measure; HBR = Harvard Business Review; AMJ = Academy of Management Journal; PVQ = Personal Values Questionnaire; ASR = American Sociological Review; PPM = Public Personnel Management; RVS = Rokeach Values Survey; CMR = California Management Review; SMJ = Strategic Management Journal; PAR = Public Administration Review; JBE = Journal of Business
Ethics; BEQ = Business Ethics Quarterly; IJVBM = International Journal of Values-Based Management; OCP = Chatman & Caldwells Organizational Culture Profile.

Agle, Caldwell / RESEARCH ON VALUES IN BUSINESS

349

Unlike individual and organizational values, the literature on institutional values is not easily categorized. The literature is diverse and lacks
integration and specificity. Many authors work with institutional values
but do not specify that they are operating at the institutional level.
Scholars working at this level of analysis generally have provided
descriptive studies examining the values of institutions such as labor
(England, Agarwal, & Trerise, 1971; Frederick & Weber, 1987), management (England et al., 1971; DeSalvia & Gemmill, 1971; Frederick &
Weber, 1987; Lusk & Oliver, 1974; Pennings, 1970; Posner & Schmidt,
1984, 1992b; Sotto & Kohls, 1990), science (Guth & Tagiuri, 1965), education (Posner & Munson, 1981a; Robb, 1993), shareholders (L. Ryan &
Gist, 1995), not-for-profits (Vinten, 1994), industrial sectors (Erez, 1986),
the public sector (Vinten, 1993), health care (Maher & Ford, 1993), architecture (Blau & McKinley, 1979), and correctional facilities (Aquino,
1995).
Societal Values (No. 4)

A particularly popular level at which to study values is the societal


level. This type of research, both empirical and theoretical, has taken on
added importance as local economies move toward globalization. What is
particularly interesting about this level of analysis is the general paucity of
theoretical work in the management literature and the contradictions
found in the empirical research.
Although many scholars have measured societal values, few have suggested systematic explanations for their findings. Much of the research
takes the form of hypothesizing either values similarity or values differences and measuring the results. The results suggested in this research
range widely from values convergence to values divergence. In his recent
attempt to measure the values of managers in two societies, Wartick
(1995) noted that despite all of the cultural differences, there was a surprising similarity of values. On the other hand, England and Lee (1974)
found substantial differences in the values of managers from the United
States, Japan, India, and Australia. Our analysis of the literature suggests
that one explanation for these contradictory findings is the variance in
specificity at which the values in the study are articulated. Additional theory discussing values specificity may help to resolve these contradictory
findings. Because initial theory barely goes beyond defining a societal
value, it is difficult for any scholar to ascribe meaning, beyond conjecture,
to cross-societal values research. However, some promising research in this
(text continues on p. 353)

350

Table 4
Societal Values (No. 4)
Author(s)

Citation

Williams
F. R. Kluckhohn &
Strodtbeck
Steele & Redding

1962 Western Speech

England & Lee

Instrument

Sample

NA
NA
Kluckhohn & 5 diverse communities in the Southwestern U.S.
Strodtbeck
NA
Campaign speeches of Roosevelt, Stevenson, and Dewey

1971 AMJ

Theory
Survey and
field study
Content
analysis
Survey

England & Lee

1974 JAP

Survey

PVQ

Rokeach
Feather
Hofstede

1974 POQ
1975 Book
1976 JAP

Survey
Survey
Survey

Cavanagh
Whitely & England

1976/1998 Book
1977 AMJ

Theory
Survey

RVS
RVS
Gordon
SPV &
SIV
NA
PVQ

Hofstede

1980 Book

Survey

Whitely & England

1980 Personnel
Psychology
1981 APSR
1982 MIR

Survey

Gordon
SPV &
SIV
PVQ

Survey
Survey

Inglehart
AVL

Inglehart
Badr, Gray, & Kedia

1960 Book
1961 Book

Method

PVQ

Managers from 3 countries, similar-sized organizations: 1,071 U.S.,


394 Japan, 223 Korea
Managers from 4 countries, similar-sized organizations: 878 U.S.,
301 Australia, 500 India, 312 Japan
U.S. adults: 1,409 in 1968, 1,430 in 1971
Samples from the U.S., Australia, and Papua New Guinea
372 middle-level managers from 40 nationalities

NA
Managers: 862 U.S., 301 Japan, 161 Korea, 484 India,
282 Australia
372 middle level managers from 40 nationalities

Managers: 833 U.S., 301 Japan, 161 Korea, 282 Australia,


485 India
Multiple studies in multiple nations
46 Egyptian business students, 60 American business students

Howard, Shudo, &


Umeshima
Inglehart

1983 Personnel
Psychology
1985 APSR

Survey and
method
Survey

Picken
Schwartz & Bilsky
DeMaria
Kahle, Poulos, & Sukhdial
Rokeach & Ball-Rokeach

1987 JBE
1987 JPSP
1988 IJVBM
1988 JAR
1989 American
Pyschology
1989 Book
1989 IJVBM
1989 IJVBM

Theory
Survey
Theory
Survey
Survey

Scott & Hart


Kemper & Bradley
Yasin, Zimmerer, & Green

1990 ASQ

Theory
Theory
Survey

Hofstede, Neuijen,
Ohayv, & Sanders
Francesco & Taylor

1990 IJVBM

Survey and
interviews
Survey

Sotto & Kohls

1990 IJVBM

Survey

Schwartz & Bilsky

1990 JPSP

Survey

Korukonda
Schwartz
Yavas & Yasin

1991 IJVBM
1992 Book chapter
1992 IJVBM

Survey
Survey
Survey

RVS

100 Japanese managers, unspecified number of U.S. managers

Inglehart &
RVS
NA
RVS
NA
LOV
RVS

Multiple studies in multiple nations


NA
455 Israeli teachers and 2,331 German college students
NA
2,264 U.S. adults in 1976 and 997 U.S. adults in 1986
U.S. adults: 1,409 in 1968, 1,430 in 1971, 933 in 1974, and
933 in 1981
NA
NA
40 U.S. textile executives, 29 Arab textile executives

NA
NA
Yasin,
Zimmerer,
Green
Hofstede
1,295 employees (nonmanagers and managers)

351

Francesco & 71 Hong Kong business managers and 21 U.S. MBA students
Taylor
Yankelovitch White-collar employees: 156 Filipino and 105 U.S.
et al.
RVS
Various groups from Germany, Israel, US, Finland, Australia,
Hong Kong, and Spain
Buchholz
65 U.S. firms, 30 Indian firms
Schwartz
Approximately 200 individuals in each of 20 diverse countries
Flowers,
145 professional managers in Saudi Arabia
Hughes,
Myers, &
(continued)

352

Table 4 Continued
Author(s)

Connor, Becker,
Kakuyama, & Moore
Sokoya
Strong & Weber
Naumes & Naumes
Wartick
Naumes, Boshoff, & Naumes

Citation

Method

Instrument

Sample

1993 AICM

Survey

Myers
RVS

Managers: 99 U.S., 101 Japan, 212 Canada

1993 IJVBM
1994 IJVBM
1994 IJVBM
1995 Conference paper
1995 IJVBM

Survey
Theory
Survey
Survey
Survey

PVQ
NA
AVL
RVS
AVL

329 Nigerian managers


NA
381 U.S. entrepreneurs, 17 Greek entrepreneurs
147 senior managers from 25 countries
126 South African managers, 412 U.S. entrepreneurs

Note. AMJ = Academy of Management Journal; PVQ = Personal Values Questionnaire; JAP = Journal of Applied Psychology; POQ = Public Opinion Quarterly; RVS = Rokeach Values Survey; APSR = American Political Science Review; MIR = Management International Review; AVL = Allport, Vernon, and
Lindzey (1960) values measure; JBE = Journal of Business Ethics; JPSP = Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; IJVBM = International Journal of
Values-Based Management; JAR = Journal of Advertising Research; LOV = Kahles List of Values; ASQ = Administrative Science Quarterly; AICM = Advances in International Comparative Management.

Agle, Caldwell / RESEARCH ON VALUES IN BUSINESS

353

area is being performed by Schwartz and Bilsky (1987, 1990) and


Schwartz (1992), who have identified values profiles for various areas in
the world.
Global Values (No. 5)

Global values are the most understudied of all the levels. This literature
offers one of the better opportunities for future research but will require
more creative techniques than the study of values at other levels of analysis. Perhaps because of the globalization of economies, or because of the
development of such standards as the CERES Principles and Caux Round
Table Principles, theoretical banter about the existence of global values is
beginning to occur with regularity (Getz, 1995; Washbourn, 1992). There
is a long history of conjecture regarding the fact that at an abstract level,
values exist that are common to the entire globe. For example, Trevino and
Nelson (1995) suggested that the prescriptions Thou shalt not kill and
Thou shalt not steal are universal. They further argued that the golden
ruleDo unto others as you would have them do unto youappears in
the teachings of every major religion in the world. Donaldson (1989)
argued the existence of hypernorms, which are similar to universal values. By interviewing influential people around the globe, Kidder (1994)
identified global values such as love, truthfulness, fairness, freedom,
unity, tolerance, responsibility, and respect for life. Schwartzs (1992)
results demonstrated certain value similarities across the globe.
Another recent example of global values is offered in Fredericks
(1995) book Values, Nature and Culture in the American Corporation.
Although oriented toward a discussion of values in business, the book suggested that one source of business values is natural phenomena. Certain
values are revealed in biological processes, and these values are reflected
in business. Because the source of the values is nature, it is fair to claim
that they are global.
Either because of a lack of theory or the difficulty in measuring global
values, empiricists have yet to take up the challenge of testing the existence of global values. Warticks (1995) study demonstrating little difference in societal values suggested that there may indeed be commonly held
global values. However, because the design was not intended to measure
global values, Warticks results only provide empirical results upon which
to build further research.
Personal and Organizational Values (No. 6)

354

Table 5
Global Values (No. 5)
Author(s)

Citation

Method

Instrument

Sample

Schwartz & Bilsky


Donaldson
Schwartz & Bilsky

1987 JPSP
1989 Book
1990 JPSP

Survey
Theory
Survey

RVS
NA
RVS

Frederick

1991 JBE

NA

Schwartz
Frederick
Washbourn
Kidder
Frederick
Getz

1992 Book Chapter


1992 BEQ
1992 IJVBM
1994 Book
1995 Book
1995 IJVBM

Content
Analysis
Survey
Theory
Theory
Interviews
Theory
Theory

455 Israeli teachers and 2,331 German college students


NA
Various groups from Germany, Israel, U.S., Finland, Australia,
Hong Kong, and Spain
6 intergovernmental compacts

Schwartz
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA

Approximately 200 individuals in each of 20 diverse countries


NA
NA
24 influential leaders from around the globe
NA
NA

Note. JPSP = Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; RVS = Rokeach Values Survey; JBE = Journal of Business Ethics; BEQ = Business Ethics Quarterly; IJVBM = International Journal of Values-Based Management.

Agle, Caldwell / RESEARCH ON VALUES IN BUSINESS

355

The intersection and relation between personal values and organizational values is the most popular of all the interlevel categories. The majority of the studies in this area examine the causal relation between personal
values and organizational values. These researchers have been particularly interested in understanding the relation between executive values
and organizational decision making. It is theorized that organizational
values will be created or reinforced through these decisions (Schein,
1985). One of the first such examinations was by Guth and Tagiuri (1965),
who noted that the values held by management have profound influence
on the strategic decisions of the organization. Other examples of the
analysis of values and decision making abound (Brunson, 1985; Clare &
Sanford, 1979; England 1967a, 1967b, 1975; Sikula, 1971; Sturdivant &
Ginter, 1977).
Despite the prevalence of this literature in the early and middle 1970s
(e.g. Andrews, 1971), the addition of Hambrick and Masons (1984) work
stressing the importance of values in executive decision making was pivotal in bringing this topic into mainstream management literature. The
addition of Hambrick and Brandon (1988) further solidified the role of
managerial values in organizational decision making and outcomes.
Some studies have examined the role organizations play in modifying
personal values. Such studies in organizational socialization (Hinrichs,
1972; Van Mannen & Schein, 1979) have demonstrated that organizations
do modify the values of their members. In either case, measures of both
organizational values and individual values are important. Regardless of
the causal direction, creative research solutions are needed to examine the
interaction between the individual and the organization.
In response to this requirement, scholars such as Enz (1988) have used
more qualitative methods to reveal the interaction. In her discussion of
value congruity and intraorganizational power, Enz (1988) conducted 81
interviews and administered 356 surveys. This triangulation of methods
helped Enz discover that perceived values similarity led to greater intraorganizational power, whereas actual values similarity did not. Liedtka
(1989b) also used a combination of instruments in her discussion of individual and organizational value systems. Although the sample was small,
the addition of interviews to her survey data was critical in elucidating that
organizational values have both process and content elements.
A comparison of articles using a combination of instruments (qualitative and quantitative) suggests that such a combination is likely to yield
results that are more sensitive to levels of analysis issues.
(text continues on p. 359)

356

Table 6
Individual and Organizational Values (No. 6)
Author(s)

Citation

Method

Instrument

Barnard
Selznick
Clark
White & Ruh
Connor & Becker
Pettigrew
Posner & Munson
Van Mannen & Schein
Beyer
Hambrick & Mason
Posner, Kouzes, & Schmidt

1938 Book
1957 Book
1970 Book
1973 ASQ
1975 AMJ
1979 ASQ
1979 HRM
1979 ROB
1981 Book chapter
1984 AMR
1985 HRM

Theory
Theory
Case Study
Survey
Theory
Theory
Review
Theory
Theory
Theory
Survey

NA
NA
NA
RVS
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Posner,
Kouzes, &
Schmidt

Miles

1987 Book

Enz

1988 ASQ

Hambrick & Brandon

1988 Book chapter

R. Miller
Sankar
Freeman, Gilbert, & Hartman
Enz

1988 IJVBM
1988 IJVBM
1988 JBE
1989a IJVBM

Grounded
theory
Survey and
interviews
Theory and
review
Theory
Theory
Theory
Survey

Sample
NA
NA
Antioch, Reed, and Swarthmore Colleges
2,755 employees of six Midwest firms
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
1,498 managers from the American Management Association

25 Insurance companies
Enz

356 survey respondents (2 firms), 81 interview respondents

NA

NA

NA
NA
NA
Enz

NA
NA
NA
162 employees of food-processing company

Enz

1989b IJVBM

Liedtka

1989a RCSPP

Liedtka

1989b JBE

Enz & Schwenk


Fryxell & Enz
Harris

1989 Working paper


1990 IJVBM
1990 JBE

OReilly, Chatman, &


Caldwell
Fritzsche
Liedtka
Posner & Schmidt

1991 AMJ

Isaac, Cahoon, & Zerbe


McDonald & Gandz
Posner & Schmidt

Adkins, Russell, & Werbel


Macy

Survey and
interviews
Survey and
interviews
Survey and
interviews
Survey
Survey
Survey w/
vignettes
Survey

1991 JBE
1991 JBE
1992a IJVBM

Theory
Survey and
interviews
Survey

1992 IJVBM
1992 Organizational
Dynamics
1993 JBE

Survey
Interviews

1994 Personnel
Psychology
1995 IJVBM

Survey

Enz

447 corporate employees

PVQ

18 managers at 2 firms

PVQ

18 managers at 2 firms

Enz
Enz
Harris

135 operating units with 2 or more surveys returned, 27 managers


1,746 employees from two firms
72 managers (various levels) and 40 sales/service personnel in
1 firm
224 MBAs, 405 accountants, 730 middle managers

OCP
NA
PVQ
Posner &
Schmidt;
OReilly
RVS
NA

NA
18 managers at two firms
1,060 members of American Management Association

92 employees and 23 of their supervisors


45 executives

Survey

Posner,
1,059 members of American Management Association
Kouzes, &
Schmidt
CES
171 job applicants and 44 recruiters

Theory

NA

NA

357

(continued)

358

Table 6 Continued
Author(s)

Fairholm

Citation

1995 IJVBM

Method

Theory

Instrument

NA

Sample

NA

Note. ASQ = Administrative Science Quarterly; RVS = Rokeach Values Survey; AMJ = Academy of Management Journal; HRM = Human Resource Management; ROB = Research in Organizational Behavior; AMR = Academy of Management Review; IJVBM = International Journal of Values-Based Management;
JBE = Journal of Business Ethics; PVQ = Personal Values Questionnaire; OCP = Chatman & Caldwells Organizational Culture Profile; CES = Comparative
Emphasis Scale.

Agle, Caldwell / RESEARCH ON VALUES IN BUSINESS

359

Other Categories of Values Interaction (Nos. 7-15)

The remaining categories (personal and institutional, personal and societal, personal and global, organizational and institutional, organizational
and societal, organizational and global, institutional and societal, institutional and global, and societal and global) are discussed together. This
combination is due to the fact that there are few articles in these categories.
In fact, the total number of articles in the management literature that fall
into these nine categories is fewer than the number of articles written on
the interaction between individual and organizational values. Not only are
there fewer articles, but, in some categories, there are no empirical
articles.
The scarcity of articles dealing with the interaction of the higher levels
of analysis is due to the fact that little work has been directed at developing
methods of measuring values at these levels. Thus, we are left with articles
that are either experimental or are initial attempts at developing theory.
However, the interaction discussions in some of these articles are quite
useful. One example is Getzs (1995) examination of the relation between
ideologies and international codes of conduct.

CURRENT STATE OF VALUES RESEARCH


Values Definition

One of the crucial advances in any research field is to clearly define its
central construct. With the proliferation of research on values across the
social sciences involving hundreds of research efforts, it is not surprising
to find multiple definitions of the construct. Thus, many argue (e.g., Brunson,
1985; Clare & Sanford, 1979) that the values construct is still not well
defined. Nevertheless, given our review of the literature, we agree with
Connor and Becker (1994) and Schwartz and Bilsky (1987) in stating that
the values construct is fairly well defined. A listing of some of the more
well accepted definitions is found in Table 8.
Included in these definitions is a crucial distinction made by Rokeach
(1973) between instrumental values and terminal values. Terminal values
are ends unto themselves, whereas instrumental values are means to an
end. Although acknowledging the various definitions, Schwartz and Bilsky
(1987) suggest that these definitions have the following threads in common: According to the literature, values are (a) concepts or beliefs, (b)
about desirable end states or behaviors, (c) that transcend specific

360

Table 7
Framework Elements (Nos. 7-15)
Author(s)

Citation

Method

Instrument

Sample

Individual and Institutional (7)


Van Mannen & Barley
1984 ROB
Robb
1993 IJVBM

Theory
Theory

NA
NA

NA
NA

Individual and Societal (8)


Hofstede

1976 JAP

Survey

372 middle-level managers from 40 nationalities

1988 IJVBM

Theory

Gordon
SPV &
SIV
NA

Individual and Global (9)


Frederick

1992 BEQ

Theory

NA

NA

Organizational and
Institutional (10)
Stinchcombe
Dibble
Meyer, Rowan & Associates
Kimberly & Miles

1965 Book chapter


1973 AJS
1977 AJS
1980 Book

Theory
Theory
Theory
Theory and
review
Theory
Theory
Survey

NA
NA
NA
NA

NA
NA
NA
NA

NA
NA
OCP

NA
NA
1,157 managers in 15 firms in 4 industries

DeMaria

Beyer
Gordon
Chatman & Jehn

1981 Book chapter


1991 AMR
1994 AMJ

NA

Organizational and
Societal (11)
Bendix
Sutton, Harris, Kaysen, &
Tobin
Crozier
Chatov
Beyer
Picken
Scott & Hart
Hofstede, Neuijen,
Ohayv, & Sanders
Hofstede

1956 Book
1956 Book

Theory
Theory

NA
NA

NA
NA

1964 Book
1973 Book chapter
1981 Book chapter
1987 JBE
1989 Book
1990 ASQ

NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Hofstede

NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
1,295 employees (nonmanagers and managers)

1997 Book

Theory
Theory
Theory
Theory
Theory
Survey and
interviews
Multiple

Organizational and
Global (12)
Frederick

1992 BEQ

Theory

NA

NA

Institutional and
Global (14)
Frederick

1992 BEQ

Theory

NA

NA

Societal and Global (15)


Schwartz & Bilsky
Schwartz & Bilsky

1987 JPSP
1990 JPSP

Survey
Survey

RVS
RVS

1992 Book chapter

Survey

Schwartz

455 Israeli teachers and 2,331 German college students


Various groups from Germany, Israel, U.S., Finland, Australia,
Hong Kong, and Spain
Approximately 200 individuals in each of 20 diverse countries

Schwartz

Multiple studies of countries and organizations

361

Note. ROB = Research in Organizational Behavior; IJVBM = International Journal of Values-Based Management; JAP = Journal of Applied Psychology;
BEQ = Business Ethics Quarterly; AJS = American Journal of Sociology; AMR = Academy of Management Review; AMJ = Academy of Management Journal; OCP = Chatman & Caldwells Organizational Culture Profile; JBE = Journal of Business Ethics; ASQ = Administrative Science Quarterly; JPSP = Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; RVS = Rokeach Values Survey.

362

BUSINESS & SOCIETY / September 1999

Table 8
Common Definitions of Values and Value Systems
Author(s)

Definition

C. Kluckhohn,
1951, p.395

A conception, explicit or implicit . . . of the desirable which


influences the selection from among available modes, means,
and ends of action.

Guth & Tagiuri,


1965, pp. 124-125

A value can be viewed as a conception, explicit or implicit, of


what an individual or a group regards as desirable, and in terms
of which he or they select, from among alternative available
modes, the means and ends of action.

Senger,
1971, p. 416

A personal value structure is a hierarchy of competing, fundamental life directions which act as criteria for psychological
behavior.

Sikula,
1971, p. 281

Personal value system as a set of individual values that exist in a


scale of hierarchy that reveals their degree of importance.
Individuals may all possess the same set of values but attach
different priorities or degree of importance to them.

Rokeach,
1973, p. 5

A value is an enduring belief 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.

Conner & Becker,


1975, p. 551

Values may be thought of as global beliefs about desirable endstates underlying attitudinal and behavioral processes.

Hofstede,
1980, p. 19

A broad tendency to prefer certain states of affairs over others

Ravlin & Meglino,


1987a, p. 667

Social values . . . represent general modes of behavior individuals


should or ought to exhibit.

Enz,
1988, p. 287

Organizational values are defined as the beliefs held by an


individual or group regarding means and ends organizations
ought to or should identify in the running of the enterprise, in
choosing what business actions or objectives are preferable to
alternative actions, or in establishing organizational objectives.

Hambrick & Brandon, A broad and relatively enduring preference for some state of
1988, p. 5
affairs.

situations, (d) guide selection or evaluation of behavior and events, and (e)
are ordered by relative importance (p. 551).
However, although we argue that the definition of values is fairly well
articulated, confusion persists at macro levels of analysis.

Agle, Caldwell / RESEARCH ON VALUES IN BUSINESS

363

Levels of Analysis Issues


There is as yet little consensus about how to conceptualize and measure values and especially about how to do so in a manner that will be conceptually
meaningful across levels of analysis, from the individual at the micro level
to societal and cultural institutions a the macro level. (Rokeach & BallRokeach, 1989, p. 775)

Despite frequent entreaties to address levels issues, it still remains a


frequently omitted quality of research in many fields (Klein, Dansereau, &
Hall, 1994). Attention to levels of analysis issues has been suggested in
the study of power (Pfeffer, 1982), climate (Glick, 1985, 1988), leadership
(Nachman, Dansereau, & Naughton, 1985), and pay (Markham, 1988).
Just as levels issues are being encouraged for other fields, this article
responds to Rokeach and Ball-Rokeachs (1989) challenge to examine
levels issues in the study of values.
Much of the existing literature on business values does not articulate a
level of analysis except in the most casual terms. Ravlin and Meglino
(1987b) noted that the level of analysis most common in the values literature is that of the individual. However, the level of analysis is often
assumed to be self evident by the author or authors and is left unstated.
Concerning group (the generic term for macro) values, Williams
(1960) wrote the following:
It should be noted at this point that group value is an ambiguous term that
may refer either to (a) a shared goal, as when getting ahead (as individuals) represents a value-complex held in common throughout a group, or (b)
a desired state for the group taken collectively (as military security may be
so regarded). A group goal we may define as a future state of affairs intended to be reached by group (collective) action. (Intended means either
explicitly stated, or inferred by an observer.) Thus, a group goal is not necessarily identical, or even congruent, with the values, motives or goals of individual members considered distributively. (p. 409)

This ambiguity in macro-level values is reaffirmed by Rokeach and


Ball-Rokeachs (1989) discussion of five ways in which macro-level values can be measured:
The terminal and instrumental values of a society, institution or organization may be uncovered (a) through a content analysis of the values contained in societal, institutional, or organizational documents, (b) through an
assessment of the values espoused by societal, institutional, or organizational gatekeepers (e.g., priests, educators, or military leaders), (c) by assessing the values of persons aspiring to membership in a society, organization,

364

BUSINESS & SOCIETY / September 1999

or institution (e.g. seminary students, military cadets, or graduate students


in physics), (d) through gatekeepers perceptions of societal, institutional,
or organizational values, and (e) through the clienteles (or members) perceptions of societal, institutional, or organizational values. (p. 777)

We agree that this ambiguity exists. However, we can mitigate some of


the confusion by integrating Williamss (1960) conceptualizations with
Rokeach and Ball-Rokeachs (1989) measurement techniques. However,
before proceeding with this analysis, it is necessary to supplement Williamss (1960) two conceptualizations with a third. Thus, to Williamss
two group values termsthe aggregate of personal values of members of
a group and actual group valueswe add the aggregate of group members espoused group values. These three phrases form what we believe
are three ways of conceptualizing group values.
When comparing the conceptualizations with the measurement techniques, Rokeach and Ball-Rokeachs (1989) methods (a, d, and e in the
previous quotation) clearly attempt to measure group values. Thus, this
measurement is particularly appropriate to the second conceptualization listed previouslyactual group values. Measurement methods (b
and c from the quotation by Rokeach and Ball-Rokeach, 1989) could
either be attempts at measuring the shared personal values of the members of the institutionsimilar to the first conceptualizationor at
measuring the group memberspreferred group valuessimilar to the third
conceptualization.
Although likely to have relation to one another, individual values such
as mature love, inner harmony, true friendship, and family security are different than group values such as profit maximization, employee wellbeing, customer satisfaction, and societal change. Thus, at the macro level
it is important to identify what type of value is being identified. All three
types are potentially interesting, and the relations between the three different types are also interesting. However, these can only be discovered when
they are kept conceptually distinct.
For example, Frederick and Webers (1987) study of managers, union
employees, and activists provides a good example of the first type of group
value. In their research, they administered the RVS (a personal values
scale) to members of each group and aggregated the individual responses.
Although this is useful information and a valid measure of the shared personal values of the members of these institutions, it is not the same as the
actual institutional values, nor the members espoused institutional values. To their credit, Frederick and Weber recognized this distinction and
made it clear that The studys concentration on the personal values of

Agle, Caldwell / RESEARCH ON VALUES IN BUSINESS

365

organizational members, in contrast to institutionalized organizational


values, limits the explanatory power of the findings to only one dimension
of the overall value structure of the groups studied (p. 132).
Other examples illustrating the various ways of measuring macro-level
values include Liedtkas (1989b) survey research measuring the first type
(aggregate of personal values of members of a group) and second type
(actual group values) of group values; Nystrom (1990a) and Akaah and
Lunds (1994) survey research and Kabanoff et al.s (1995) content analysis measuring the second type of group values (actual group values); and
Enzs (1988) survey research measuring the third type (aggregate of group
members espoused group values).
In the following passage from his most recent book, Geert Hofstede
(1997) also illustrated the multiple ways one can think about macro-level
values: Contrary to national cultures, corporate cultures are not a matter
of shared values as some authors want it. They are rooted in the values of
the founders and significant leaders (p. xiii).
To illustrate the differences, one might observe using different methods, we offer an example. Consider a small town in which all of the people
belong to the church, the civic club, and work at the same company. If one
were to view the values of the organization as equivalent to the average of
the personal values of the members, and were to measure them in that way,
in this small town one would come to the conclusion that the values of the
church, the civic organization, and the business are all the same. However,
were one to measure the group values of these organizations using the second and third methods, identified previously, one is likely to find that the
values of these organizations are very different.
In addition to the possibility for confusion noted previously, Rousseau
(1985) showed that a lack of attention to levels issues causes four potential
problems: misspecification, aggregation bias, cross-level fallacies, and
contextual fallacies.
The first level of analysis problem is misspecification. This occurs
when the phenomenon of interest is studied at the wrong level. Otherwise
referred to as fallacy of the wrong level, it often occurs when
individual-level data are used to represent organizational constructs.
Although Enz (1988) established organization-level construct validity in
her Administrative Science Quarterly article, her later work (Enz, 1989a,
1989b) suffers from misspecification problems. In the first study (Enz,
1989b), theory concerning the organization-level construct of culture is
measured by nonaggregated individual responses. Similarly, in the second
study (Enz, 1989a), a relation between departments sharing values with
the corporation and influence over strategic decisions is hypothesized, yet

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BUSINESS & SOCIETY / September 1999

instead of aggregating responses in the department, as is done in her 1988


work, the data are left at the individual level. Thus, although the level of
measurement in all three studies is at the individual level, only in the 1988
study is the level of analysis at the same level as the focal unit, the level at
which generalizations are made.
Another example of misspecification is found in Aquinos (1995)
work. His statements indicated that he was cognizant of the fact that he
was working at the institutional level. In referring to his focal unit, he used
words and phrases like institution, system, certain class of organizations, members of the same profession, and occupational identification. Using jail administrators in multiple facilities in different parts of
the United States, he developed an understanding of the values of jails.
Then Aquino made generalizations about organization-level cultures and
phenomena, despite never aggregating values at the jail level. This is
unfortunate given Aquinos (1995) own earlier acknowledgment that his
procedure only provides a measure of a class of organizations but not a
measure within a single organization (p. 105).
Aquinos (1995) work on correctional facilities helps to underscore the
importance of the organizing framework developed in this article. By
understanding the levels issues presented in the framework, future authors
can better locate their work within the field. This has interesting implications for future research. For example, by correctly viewing Aquinos
(1995) work at the institutional level, future research can compare the values of specific correctional facilities to the values of the institution of jails,
which he so nicely illuminates.
Another problem resulting from a failure to attend to levels issues is
aggregation bias. This problem often is encountered when individually
obtained data are aggregated to form the construct of a higher level of
analysis. Although individual data are more readily accessible, nonaggregated data are preferred. Aggregation bias deals with the actual data combination method. Without the ability to examine the data, it is not possible
to illustrate instances of aggregation bias in the literature. Nevertheless,
this is a potential problem in all studies using aggregated data. Therefore,
when using aggregated data, statistical techniques enumerated by Rousseau (1985) should be used.
Cross-level fallacies result when a construct is inappropriately
assumed to have the same relation at different levels of analysis. In this circumstance, relations or qualities present at a lower level of analysis are
assumed to be present at higher levels of analysis. With regard to values
research, suggesting that an organization or society learns new values in
the same manner as do individuals is a likely candidate for a condition

Agle, Caldwell / RESEARCH ON VALUES IN BUSINESS

367

exhibiting a cross-level fallacy. Pinder et al. (1997) were critical of


researchers using the values construct at any macro level and suggested
that it not be done. They noted that anthropomorphizing (i.e., attributing
human characteristics to collectives) values is a logical error. Although we
agree that cross-level fallacies are a danger, because of the theoretical
progress to date, we suggest that the values construct continue to be used
at higher levels of analysis, noting that the term organizational behavior
also has this problem (Rousseau, 1985, p. 7).
The final problem that arises from ignoring levels issues is contextual
fallacies. These fallacies result when hypothesized relations are not studied within the context of higher levels of analysis. The result is that a more
global variable that may affect the direction or magnitude of the relation is
omitted from consideration. The possibility of this fallacy exists in virtually all research. A prime example of the potential for this type of fallacy in
values literature is ascribing certain behavioral outcomes to individual
values. Although this may be appropriate, the organizations value system
is a likely moderator of an individuals behavior (Trevino, 1986). Similarly, managerial discretion also might be a strong determinant of the
strength and direction of the relation between executive values and decision making (Hambrick & Finkelstein, 1987).
Values Measures

As described by Hambrick and Brandon (1988), the four major values


instruments prominently used in values research are the AVL measure
(Allport et al., 1960), the RVS, Englands (1967b) PVQ, and Hofstedes
measure of cultural values. Each of these measures relies on a solid theoretical framework and has been at least partially validated (see Hambrick
& Brandon, 1988, for greater detail). To these four, we add Ravlin,
Meglino, and Adkins CES; OReilly et al.s (1991) Organizational Culture Profile (OCP); Kahle et al.s List of Values (LOV); and Schwartzs
cultural values instrument, all of which have been validated. Each of
these values instruments has a certain purpose. The AVL and RVS were
designed to measure general individual values; the PVQ, managerial
values; the OCP, organizational values; the CES, work values, the LOV,
consumer values; and the Hofstede and Schwartz instruments, societal
values.
We argue that reliable, valid instruments exist for the study of values.
However, one major issue remainsranking versus rating. There is a
long-standing and ardent debate over whether it is better to have

368

BUSINESS & SOCIETY / September 1999

participants rank or rate values. For an in-depth discussion of this debate,


see Hicks (1970), Feather (1973), Moore (1975), Reynolds and Jolly
(1980), Alwin and Krosnick (1985), Beatty et al. (1985), Ravlin and
Meglino (1987a, 1987b), Rokeach and Ball-Rokeach (1989), Weber
(1990), and Singhapakdi and Vitell (1993).
Although Rokeach (1979) and Hofstede (1980) both argue for the primacy of values rankings, Hambrick and Brandon (1988) argued that the
absolute importance of a value to an individual is as important as, and conceptually distinct from, the relative difference between two values (p. 5).
In choosing which instrument to use and whether to have participants rank
or rate values, we suggest that researchers review the works previously set
out, particularly those by Alwin and Krosnick (1985), Ravlin and Meglino
(1987a, 1987b), and Weber (1990). In short, we agree with Alwin and
Krosnick (1985) that the choice is not clear-cut. There are obvious theoretical advantages to using rankings, but there are also clear theoretical
and methodological advantages to using ratings. Thus, the choice should
be a function of the theoretical inquiry. Recently, L. Ryan and Gist (1995)
developed a measure that combines rankings and ratings into one instrument. This measure deserves further investigation. We also believe it possible to have participants rank and rate values simultaneously on the RVS,
and we suggest such an effort.
In sum, we believe that adequate measures of values exist at the individual level. Although greater theoretical clarity is still needed and methodological advances are possible and desirable, values can be reliably
measured at the individual level. At the macro levels, values measures are
not as well developed. Although England (1967b) and OReilly et al.
(1991) provide fairly nice measures of organizational values, and
Hofstede (1980) and Schwartz (1992) provide good measures of societal
values, theoretical clarity is still lacking concerning the definition of
macro values. Thus, more work is required.

RECOMMENDATIONS
Our review of the values literature prompts us to make the following
seven recommendations.
Be Knowledgeable of and Build on Prior Research

Too much of the values research ignores what has been done in the past.
This includes research employing new scales without pointing out the

Agle, Caldwell / RESEARCH ON VALUES IN BUSINESS

369

deficiencies in old scales. Research without recognition of the past leads


to definitional and operational confusion, as well as an unnecessary proliferation of research instruments. We suggest that more effort be reserved
for validating existing instruments or, in the case of new instruments,
establishing the inadequacy of existing instruments and benefits of the
new one. The framework and literature review presented in this article
should facilitate this effort. It should be noted that this is not a new problem. Zytowski (1970) wrote, The outstanding impression gained from
this review is that the concept of work values has been employed in significant ways by many investigators in the field of vocational behavior but
with little interchange or recognition of each others work (p. 183).
In this regard, it is interesting to note that the personal values literature
from Rokeach (1968, 1973, 1979), Allport et al. (1960), and England
(1967a, 1967b) grew up basically independent of research on work values
(Elizur, 1984; Ravlin & Meglino, 1987a, 1987b). These two are different
domains that do not appear to intersect. It would be interesting to see how
these values correlate with one another.
Investigate the Role Values and Values Research
Are Playing in Organizations

Although the business press notes a large increase in values statements


in organizations, reading the academic literature, one finds very little
information about the role that values play in todays business organizations. There are very few studies investigating whether actual business
organizations are using the knowledge on values developed over the past
50 years. Are organizations using value instruments in employee screening, team building, premerger compatibility studies, and so forth? How
effective are values statements? Do they actually drive behavior or do they
cause cynicism? When, and under what circumstances?
Posner, Kouzes, and Schmidt (1985) discussed some of the implications of value-based management for human resource practices, including
programs to clarify and communicate values, recruitment, selection, orientation, training, reward systems, and counseling support. They also provided anecdotes for each of these areas. Nevertheless, we have very little
systematic research providing information on the extensiveness of such
practices in todays businesses. Twenty-five years ago, Mankoff (1974)
described what happened in one organization when it went through a values clarification exercise:

370

BUSINESS & SOCIETY / September 1999

Results of the [values] survey were fed back and discussed, and on the basis
of these results the company initiated a number of programs involving
awareness training and career planning. Wives were involved more closely
in their husbands career/life discussions and plans. Perhaps the most significant development resulting directly from the application of the value
survey was the participantsclarification of just what their own values were.
As this particular firm discovered, if an organizations management decides
to work from a value-conscious strategy, some good people may be lost as a
consequence of the change and of their own new awareness. Some of the
participants in the program began to question why they were in accounting;
a few became teachers and one left to go fishing by a lake. But those who
remained and took part in a series of life planning laboratories not only
clarified their life goals and career objectives, but developed a heightened
commitment to the firm and to the profession. They also understood each
othersmotivations better, and thus communications improved. (pp.28-29)

This account provides interesting insights into the advantages and dangers
of discussing values in the workplace. To what extent is this type of activity occurring in todays business organizations?
Use Greater Imagination in Research Methods

Although this suggestion might be seen to conflict with the first one, it
does not. Innovative research develops new instruments, methods, or
knowledge based on an understanding and explication of the weaknesses
in former methods. Imagination requires that we ask important questions,
such as, who are the keepers of macro values? Is it management, employees, boards of directors, owners, or someone else? Perhaps the answer to
this question suggests moderators of values, such as power, age, or
industry.
Once we have determined the locus of macro values, how do we study
them? Imagination is required here as well. We suggest that studying values at different levels requires different methodologies. At the organizational level, some have attempted to study mission statements (David,
1989). In addition, it has been suggested that an organizations true identity or values can only be examined when that organization has difficult
times: Only when operations need to be cut will the leopard reveal its true
spots. This suggests research examining the actions of organizations
experiencing rough periods. Such a theoretical perspective also could be
tested at other levels of analysis. Perhaps this also could be said of individuals or societiestheir true values are manifest during difficult times.
Although Americans consistently rank honesty as their top value
(Rokeach, 1973), the argument could be made that the latest presidential

Agle, Caldwell / RESEARCH ON VALUES IN BUSINESS

371

crisis reveals that Americans value a comfortable life and privacy over
honesty.
One innovative piece of research using this technique was performed
by H. Miller and Engemann (1992), who simulated a bank crisis to learn
the true values of the institution. They noted that Crisis situations do not
lend themselves to explicit discussions about values. However, they do
illustrate how the core values of institutions and decision-makers manifest
themselves in decisions made under pressure (p. 41).
Imagination also can be seen in a recent study done by L. Ryan and Gist
(1995) at the institutional level. Their study assessed the values of shareholders by surveying the individual shareowners. Although this technique may seem obvious, it was unique in that shareholders are often
ascribed opinions and values derived from experts who do not own any
stock. Instead of finding the stereotypical, short-term oriented, profitmaximizing shareholders, they found that shareholders valued not only
short-term financial performance, but also long-term financial health, and
the firms performance with regard to other stakeholders.
We also find it interesting that in spite of Rokeachs (1985) declaration
that Most people do not know, and are unable to articulate, their value priorities (p. 166), the vast majority of research on values uses self-report
data. We suggest that more research use other peoples evaluations of participants values. In a recent study, Agle, Hayibor, and Roman (1998)
found that evaluations of CEO values by members of the top management
team are predictive of organizational phenomena, whereas the CEOs
evaluation of her or his own values is not. This suggests that having other
people evaluate participants values may be fruitful.
Nevertheless, having other people rate participants values also carries
with it its own problems. For example, evaluators view participants values through their own values lens. Thus, such an evaluation is not completely objective. Also, in many circumstances, self-selection already has
occurredwe tend to surround ourselves with people whose values are
similar to ours. Therefore, the variance of values may be restricted. How
does this skew the results? It would be interesting to have very different
groups (with different values) rate the values of corporate managers. In
this respect, it is instructive to look at Rokeach (1973), Kilmann (1981),
and Ravlin & Meglino (1987b), all of whom used projective techniques in
their research.
Use Multiple Methods in the Measurement of Values

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There appears to be very little research in which multiple methods are


used to determine values. Other than the methods articles elaborated on
previously, we found no articles using multiple methods or instruments
simultaneously. This is surprising, given that Rokeach (1979) outlined
five different ways of measuring organizational valuesmost of which
have been used multiple times in single studies. Indeed, Rokeach (1979),
after outlining the weaknesses of each of the five approaches, stated the
following:
Thus, there is little reason to anticipate in advance that any one of the five
methods will be superior to the others. A multimethod approach that allows
for triangulation and cross-validation is therefore preferable to reliance on
any one method (Campbell & Fiske, 1959). (p. 54)

It would be very interesting to see if multiple methods would provide similar measures or if we would find patterns of differences.
Develop Theory For, and Do, Longitudinal Studies

Although this is a fairly standard admonition at the end of research articles in almost all fields of study, it is particularly important for the understanding of values in that Rokeach (1973, 1974) and Hambrick and Brandon
(1988) argued that values are enduring. The following discussion illustrates the conflicting evidence of the enduring quality of values and makes
specific recommendations for future research.
In their recent commentary on the values literature, Connor and Becker
(1994) concluded that values are relatively stable over time. This conclusion echos the findings of Rokeach and Ball-Rokeach (1989) and Posner
and Schmidt (1992b), who found that the values of American adults and
managers, respectively, are fairly stable over many years. Feather (1975)
also found that the values of students remained relatively stable through
college. Concerning his study of American values over a 13-year period,
Inglehart (1985) remarked that The stability we observe is absolutely
phenomenal (p. 110). However, Inglehart (1985) explicitly noted level of
analysis considerations in observing that this stability is at the societal
level, whereas much greater fluctuation is found at the individual level.
Indeed, the findings on value stability are very mixed.
A great deal of research has documented changes in values. Such data
come from a few longitudinal studies, historical studies, and experimental
studies. In historical studies (looking at values data collected in various

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ways at various points in time), and while noting the relative stability of
values, Rokeach and Ball-Rokeach (1989) and Posner and Schmidt (1992b)
noted value changes in their data. Rokeach (1985) also found that age has
a significant effect on valuesthe values of each successive generation
are somewhat more different than those of preceding generations. Inglehart (1981) also found intergenerational change, although he could only
speculate as to whether this change is based on aging or cohort effects.
Longitudinal studies of socialization processes also have produced evidence of value change. Studies often have shown that job experience can
change work values. Rosenberg (1957) and Hinrichs (1972) found that
work values of college graduates (undergraduate and Ph.D. respectively)
change to become more consistent with their initial occupations or institutional type. Several studies also have demonstrated that values change to
resolve conflicts between professional and bureaucratic values (Kramer,
1968; G. A. Miller & Wager, 1971).
In reporting his own experimental research demonstrating value
change through computer feedback, Rokeach (1975) outlined a number of
other experiments showing value changes based on experimental intervention. Furthermore, in what is arguably the most interesting study in the
area of values research, Ball-Rokeach, Rokeach, and Grube (1984)
manipulated the values of TV viewers in three cities in Washington state.
They were able to change peoples value hierarchies and subsequent
behavior (giving money to advocacy groups 2 to 3 months later) with a
30-minute TV program.
Thus, we see evidence of value stability and value change. Some of
these contradictory or complimentary findings (depending on ones interpretation) are attributable, as suggested by Inglehart (1985), to different
levels of analysis. They also can be seen in relative terms: Is the values
change considerable or slight? However, we argue that the different
results also are a result of a theoretical gap and present measurement techniques. It appears that neither current theory nor measures force respondents to decipher between their general, life-long values and their current
value priorities. These may be two very different things. For example, several studies show that student values and adult values are different. In one
study, adults ranked family security number one, whereas college students
ranked it number nine. Does this reflect a significant value change or simply a reordering of priorities based on life stage? We think ferreting out
this difference would be meaningful.

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In this context, one must ask, To what extent are values stable, or
developmental? Maslow (1954) argued for a developmental model of
values based on a hierarchy of needs. Indeed, Rokeach (1973) also noted
that, to a large extent, values are the cognitive representation of needs
(p. 48). Such an approach to values allows for reconciliation of the two
concepts enumerated previously. Values can be seen as relatively stable
throughout life, based on each individuals hierarchy of values. Nevertheless, these values will be prioritized at different life stages based on their
relative need. Inglehart (1981, 1985) suggested such an approach to values in theorizing two drivers of value changessocialization and deprivation. Deprivation, or scarcity as the economists refer to it, suggests that
humans place greater value on things in short supply. Thus, individuals
who have an abundance of something tend to undervalue it, although they
value it in absolute terms.
Two examples illustrate. First, in attempting to understand why city
managers had ranked ambition lower than other executives, and lower
than they had expected, Schmidt and Posner (1987) interviewed 20 of
them. These executives explained that to be ambitious in a personal sense
was no longer important to them because they had already become city
managers, thus achieving their major career goal. One could speculate
that these managers still valued ambition very highly in an absolute sense
(e.g., they would encourage their children to be ambitious and would promote ambitious workers) but found it to be less important for them given
their accomplishments. Second, in explaining some of the changes in
American values between the 1960s and 1980s, Rokeach and BallRokeach (1989) noted two significant changes. The first is a decrease in
the value of national defense. They attributed this to the end of the Vietnam War and suggested that Americans have devalued it because they do
not sense it as great a need. Interestingly, however, they seem blind to the
same phenomenon when applied to a large decrease in the value of equality. Although certainly not where it needs to be in society, it would be hard
to argue that equality was not greater in 1981 than in was the 1960s. Thus,
perhaps equality has been devalued because people see it as not being as
scarce as it once was. Therefore, we suggest greater theoretical and
empirical attention to value stability and change.
In addition, although we have some evidence of how values change
upon initial introduction into organizations, we have very little information about value change or stability throughout managerial careers. For
example, an interesting study might look at Hambrick and Fukutomis
(1991) theory on the seasons of a CEOs tenure and see how CEO values

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375

change over that time period. In light of recent statements about Mellon
Banks refusal to accept a buyout from Bank of New York, it appears that
Frank Cahouets (Mellon Bank CEO) values have changed over time from
pure profit maximization to a greater emphasis on employees and community. Perhaps this reflects Maslows (1954) hierarchy. At the outset, CEOs
have to value performance because they have to show their worth. Then,
they are able to move up to more self-actualizing values that would probably include things like employee morale and helping the community.
Perform Cross-level Research

Tables 1 through 7 demonstrate that although a great deal of research


has been performed on values, relatively little of this research is performed at multiple levels of analysis. Even in the category showing the
greatest amount of multilevel research, that between the individual and the
organization, little of this research is truly cross-level, attempting to
empirically validate the effects of individual values on organizations or
organizational values on individuals.
Table 7 suggests multiple possibilities for further research. For example, although there is a fair amount of intercountry research looking at differences in individual values, one finds almost no research examining the
differences in organizational values between countries. Also, research on
the influence of institutional (e.g., industry, professional) values on
organizations and individuals is in its infancy (e.g., Chatman & Jehn,
1994). In fact, most of this research does not attempt to measure the values
of the institution. Rather, the research generally looks for differences
manifested in the various individuals and organizations in those
institutions.
Be Cognizant of and Explicit About Level of Analysis

Following Herbst (1957), J. G. Miller (1978), and Rousseau (1985), we


recommend that the level or levels of analysis at which researchers are
working be made explicit. J. G. Miller (1978) recommended the following
rule for organizational research: Every discussion should begin with an
identification of the level of reference and the discourse should not change
to another level without a specific statement that this is occurring (p. 25).
A recent example of values research explicitly noting level of analysis
is a study by Wimbush, Shepard, and Markham (1997). This study examined the relation between ethical climate and ethical behavior at two levels

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of analysis: individual and district, or, in our classification scheme, the


personal and organizational. The researchers were highly cognizant of
and controlled for levels issues. Although they found significant results at
the individual level of analysis, their lack of results at the district level
prompted them to conclude that choosing the appropriate level of aggregation is absolutely critical to obtaining meaningful results [and] . . . provide additional evidence that researchers must consider levels of analysis
(p. 1714).

CONCLUSION
Research on the role of values in organizations continues to expand at
an increasing pace. Because of this explosion, confusion often exists. To
add some order to this research, this article presents a framework that
allows researchers to place their work in a more specific area of this broad
field. Our attempt to clarify the values literature mirrors similar attempts
by Wood (1991) to clarify the Corporate Social Performance (CSP) literature, by Weber (1992) to clarify the literature involving ethics vignettes,
and by Walsh (1995) to clarify the literature on cognition. Wood (1991)
developed a CSP sorting framework using three levels of analysis: individual, organizational, and institutional. Walsh (1995) sorted the cognition literature into four levels of analysis: individual, group, organization,
and industry. In addition to contributing a framework, this article provides
a service for the extant literature by sorting it according to that framework.
Furthermore, the resulting tables allow researchers an opportunity to see
the trends in research methods, instruments used, samples, and preferred
publication outlets.
By removing some of the confusion that exists in the current literature,
it is hoped that this article will encourage greater efforts at understanding
the important role that values play in organizational life. Furthermore,
with greater attention to levels issues, the research being conducted at the
higher levels of analysis will soon be as prolific and rich as it is at the individual level of analysis.

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Bradley R. Agle (Ph.D., University of Washington) is an assistant professor of


management at the Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh.
His research interests include strategic and moral leadership, stakeholder theory,
religion and business, and corporate social performance. His work appears in the
Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, and Business Ethics Quarterly, among others.