Friday, July 25, 2014

Understanding Values for Insightfully Aware Leadership

Read the working paper
INSEAD Working Paper 2014/46/OBH

Values are widely labelled as “principles” as well as “motivators”’ that influence our lives. Given their importance in everything we do, including our work, we advocate recognizing and understanding values as part of deepening one’s self-awareness – a key element in leadership development – especially where this emphasizes authenticity or emotional intelligence. While there is a substantial consensus about the link between understanding one’s values and self-awareness, research explicitly relating this to leadership development is more limited. By reviewing an extensive range of classic and contemporary academic literature on: values, values hierarchy, work values, organizational values; as well as values sources, change, conflict, congruence and communication; we provide a holistic view of the concept of values. Next, we use this review to derive an integrated definition and a framework for understanding values (personal, work and organizational). These act as a constructive contribution for deeper self-awareness in leadership – a part of leadership development that is ‘insightfully aware’. Finally, we identify a number of suggestions to guide future research seeking to explore and apply the role and understanding of values in leadership and organizational dynamics.