Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 90, Issue 4, pp 473–501 | Cite as

Applying a Universal Content and Structure of Values in Construction Management

  • Grant R. Mills
  • Simon A. Austin
  • Derek S. Thomson
  • Hannah Devine-Wright


There has recently been a reappraisal of value in UK construction and calls from a wide range of influential individuals, professional institutions and government bodies for the industry to exceed stakeholders’ expectations and develop integrated teams that can deliver world class products and services. As such value is certainly topical, but the importance of values as a separate but related concept is less well understood. Most construction firms have well-defined and well-articulated values, expressed in annual reports and on websites; however, the lack of rigorous and structured approaches published within construction management research and the practical, unsupported advice on construction institution websites may indicate a shortfall in the approaches used. This article reviews and compares the content and␣structure of some of the most widely used values approaches, and discusses their application within the construction sector. One of the most advanced and empirically tested theories of human values is appraised, and subsequently adopted as a suitable approach to eliciting and defining shared organisational values. Three studies within six construction organisations demonstrate the potential application of this individually grounded approach to reveal and align the relative values priorities of individuals and organisations to understand the strength of their similarity and difference. The results of these case studies show that this new universal values structure can be used along with more qualitative elicitation techniques to understand organisational cultures.


business construction management project value values 


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This research was undertaken by the Managing Value Delivery in Design study at Loughborough University and is part of the outcome of VALiD ( The VALiD approach to values delivery and value demonstration is currently being deployed by construction organisations within both the private and public sectors, and experiences are expected to provide further insights and developments. The work was conducted in the Innovative Manufacturing and Construction Research Centre (IMCRC) and was funded by the EPSRC and the DTI under grant numbers GR/R64490/01 and 39/12/16 cc2323 respectively. The authors acknowledge the extensive support of the Department of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University, AMEC, Arup, BAA, Be, Broadgate Estates Limited, CIBSE; Davis Langdon LLP; Sheppard Robson, RIBA and the RICS Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grant R. Mills
    • 1
  • Simon A. Austin
    • 1
  • Derek S. Thomson
    • 1
  • Hannah Devine-Wright
    • 1
  1. 1.Loughborough UniversityLoughboroughU.K.

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