Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 97, Issue 3, pp 443–460 | Cite as

Influence of Personal Values and Value Congruence on Unethical Practices and Work Behavior

  • Damodar Suar
  • Rooplekha Khuntia


The study examines whether (a) personal and organizational values differ in private and public sectors, and (b) personal values and value congruence – the extent of matching between personal and organizational values – influence unethical practices and work behavior. Three hundred and forty middle-level managers from four manufacturing organizations rated 22 values as guiding principles to them to identify their personal values. In order to index organizational values, 56 top-level managers of the same organizations rated how important such values were to the organization. Results revealed that the important shared values among managers of private and public sectors are product quality and customer service. Congruence between personal and organizational values is found to be higher in the private sector compared to the public sector. Middle-level managers in the private sector shared the organizational values more than the managers in the public sector. Irrespective of the type of organizations and age of managers, personal values more potently and consistently decreased unethical practices and increased work behavior compared to value congruence. Hiring managers emphasizing personal values can demote unethical practices and promote work behavior.


organizational values personal values value congruence unethical practices work behavior 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abrainis, D. J.: 1985, ‘Job Stressors, Strain, Job Performance, Social Support and Social Conflict: Causal Relationship in a Four-wave Longitudinal Panel Study’, Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  2. Abrams, D., K. Ando and S. Hinkle: 1998,’ Psychological Attachment to the Group: Cross-cultural Differences in Organizational Identification and Subjective Norms as predictors of Workers’ Turnover Intentions, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 24 (1), 1027-1029.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Adkins, C. L., C. J. Russell and J. D. Werbel: 1994, ‘Judgments of Fit in the Selection Process: The Role of Work Value Congruence’, Personnel Psychology 47(3), 605-623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Akaah, I. P. and D. Lund: 1994, ‘The Influence of Personal and Organizational Values on Marketing Professionals’ Ethical Behavior’, Journal of Business Ethics 13(6), 417-430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Allen, J. N. and J. P. Meyers: 1990, ‘The Measurement and Antecedents of Affective, Continuance and Normative Commitment to the Organization’, Journal of Occupational Psychology 63 (1), 1-18.Google Scholar
  6. Arbuckle, J. L. and W. Wothke: 1999, Amos 4.0 User’s Guide (SmallWaters Corporation, Chicago, IL).Google Scholar
  7. Becker, H. and D. Fritzche: 1987, ‘Business Ethics: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Managers’ Attitudes’, Journal of Business Ethics 6(3), 289-295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bentler, P. M.: 1990, ‘Comparative Fit Indexes in Structural Models’, Psychological Bulletin 107 (2), 238-246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bollen, K. A.:1989, Structural Equations with Latent Variables (John Wiley & Sons, New York).Google Scholar
  10. Brenner, O. C.: 1988, ‘Relations of Age and Education to Managers’ Work Values’, Psychological Reports 63 (2), 639-642.Google Scholar
  11. Bretz, R. D. and T. A. Judge: 1994, ‘Person-Organization Fit and the Theory of Work Adjustment: Implications for Satisfaction, Tenure, and Career Success’, Journal of Vocational Behavior 44 (1), 32-54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chatman, J. A.: 1989, ‘Improving Interactional Organizational Research: A Model of Person-Organization Fit’, Academy of Management Review 14(3), 333-349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chatman, J. A.: 1991, ‘Matching People and Organizations: Selection and Socialization in Public Accounting Firms’, Administrative Science Quarterly 36 (3), 459-484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Clare, D. A. and D. G. Sanford: 1979, ‘Mapping Personal Value Space: A Study of Managers in Four Organizations’, Human Relations 32 (8), 659-666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dawis, S. and L. H. Lofquist: 1984, A Psychological Theory of Work Adjustment (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis).Google Scholar
  16. Deshpande, S. P.: 1997, ‘Managers’ Perception of Proper Ethical Conduct: The Effects of Sex, Age, and Level of Education’, Journal of Business Ethics 16 (1), 79-85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Drucker, P. F.: 1988, ‘Management and the World’s Work’, Harvard Business Review 66 (5), 65-76.Google Scholar
  18. Edwards, J. R.: 1991, ‘Person-Job Fit: A Conceptual Integration, Literature Review, and Methodological Critique’, in C. L. Cooper and I. T. Robertson (eds.), International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 6 (Wiley, New York), pp. 283–357.Google Scholar
  19. Festinger, L. A.: 1957, A theory of Cognitive Dissonance (Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA).Google Scholar
  20. Finegan, J. E.: 2000, ‘The Impact of Person and Organizational Values on Organizational Commitment’, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 73 (2), 149-169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ford, R. C. and W. D. Richardson: 1994, ‘Ethical Decision Making: A Review of the Empirical Literature’, Journal of Business Ethics 13 (4), 205-221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hofstede, G.: 1980, Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-related Values (Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, California).Google Scholar
  23. Howard, M.: 1990, ‘Values Make the Company: An Interview with Robert Haas’, Harvard Business Review 68 (5), 132-144.Google Scholar
  24. Jones, W. A., Jr.: 1990, ‘Student Views of “Ethical” Issues: A Situational Analysis’, Journal of Business Ethics 9 (3), 201-205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kanungo, R. N., S. Misra and I. Dayal: 1975, ‘Relationship of Job Involvement to Perceived Importance of Satisfaction of Employee Needs’, International Review of Applied Psychology 24 (1), 49-59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kelly, R. and J. Caplan: 1991, ‘How Bell Labs Creates Star Performers’, Harvard Business Review 69 (4), 128-139.Google Scholar
  27. Kraimer, M. L.: 1997, ‘Organizational Goals and Values: A Socialization Model’, Human Resource Management Review 7(4), 425-447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kristof, A. L.: 1996, ‘Person-Organization Fit: An Investigative Review of its Conceptualizations, Measurement, and Implications’, Personnel Psychology 49(1), 1-49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lerner, M.: 1980, The Belief in a Just World (Plenum, NY).Google Scholar
  30. Liedtka, J.: 1991, ‘Organizational Value Contention and Managerial Mindsets’, Journal of Business Ethics 10 (7), 543-557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Meglino, B. M., E. C. Ravlin and C. Adkins: 1989, ‘A Work Value Approach to Corporate Culture: A Field Test of the Value Congruence Process and Its Relationship to Individual Outcomes’, Journal of Applied Psychology 74 (3), 424-432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mowday, R. T., R. M. Steers and L. W. Porter: 1979, ‘The Measure of Organizational Commitment’, Journal of Vocational Behavior 14 (2), 224-247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mudrack, P. E.: 1989, ‘Age-related Differences in Machiavellianism in Adult Sample’, Psychological Report 64 (3), 1047-1050.Google Scholar
  34. Newstorm, J. W. and W. A. Ruch: 1975, ‘The Ethics of Management and the Management of Ethics’, MSU Business Topics, 23 (2), 29-37.Google Scholar
  35. O’Reilly, C. A., J. Chatman and D. F. Caldwell: 1991, ‘People and Organizational Culture: A Profile Comparison Approach to Assessing Person-Organization Fit’, Academy of Management Journal 34(3), 487-516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Petrick, J. A. and J. F. Quinn: 1997, Management Ethics: Integrity at Work (Sage, New Delhi).Google Scholar
  37. Pitts, R. E. and A. G. Woodside: 1991, ‘Special Issue: Examining the Structure of Personal Values and Consumer Decision Making’, Journal of Business Research 22 (4), 91-93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Podsakoff, P. M., S. B. MacKenzie, J. Y. Lee and N. P. Podsakoff: 2003, ‘Common Method Biases in Behavioral Research: A Critical Review of the Literature and Recommended Remedies’, Journal of Applied Psychology 88(5), 879-903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Posner, B. Z. and W. H. Schmidt: 1993, ‘Values Congruence and Difference Between the Interplay of Personal and Organizational Value Systems’, Journal of Business Ethics 12 (5), 341-347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Raynor, M.E. (1998). That Vision Thing: Do We Need It? Long Range Planning, 31 (3), 368-376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Reagan, J. P., M. Rokeach and J. W. Grube: 1982, ‘Personal and Corporate Values and Corporate Identification of Managers from Several Levels of an Organization’, Academic Psychology Bulletin 4, 345–355.Google Scholar
  42. Rokeach, M.: 1973, The Nature of Human Values (Free Press, NY).Google Scholar
  43. Sayeed, O. B.: 2001, Organisational Commitment and Conflict: Studies in Healthy Organizational Processes (Sage, New Delhi).Google Scholar
  44. Schein, E. H.: 1985, Organizational Culture and Leadership (Jossey-Bass, San Francisco).Google Scholar
  45. Schwartz, S. H.: 1992, ‘Universals in the Content and Structure of Values: Theoretical Advances and Empirical Tests in 20 Countries’, in M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 25, pp. 1-65) (Academic Press, Orlando, FL).Google Scholar
  46. Serwinek, P. J.: 1992, ‘Demographic and Related Differences in Ethical Views among Small Businesses’, Journal of Business Ethics 11 (7), 555-566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sharma, P. and K. Bhal: 2001, ‘Ethical Decision Making by Managers in Public and Private Sector Organizations’, Psychological Studies 46 (3), 222-232.Google Scholar
  48. Sinha, J. B. P.: 1990, Work Culture in the Indian Context (Sage, New Delhi).Google Scholar
  49. Sinha, H and D. Suar: 2003, ‘Values and People’s Participation in Community Based Forest Management’, Journal of Human Values 9 (2), 141-151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Spencer, L. M. Jr. and S. M. Spencer: 1993, Competence at Work: Model for Superior Performance (Wiley, John and Sons, NY).Google Scholar
  51. Suar, D., B. Panda and M. B. Sharan: 1989, ‘Value Comparison, Organizational Identification and Job Satisfaction among Hospital Employees’, The Creative Psychologist 1(2), 69-80.Google Scholar
  52. Super, R.: 1970, Work Values Inventory (Houghton Mufflin Company, Boston).Google Scholar
  53. Triandis, H.C.: 1998, ‘Vertical and Horizontal Individualism and Collectivism: Theory and Research Implications for International Comparative Management’, in J.L.C. Cheng and R. B. Peterson (Eds.), Advances in International Comparative Management (Vol. 12, pp. 7-35) (JAI Press Inc, Stamford, CT)Google Scholar
  54. Velasquez, M. G.: 2002, Business Ethics: Concepts and Cases (Prentice-Hall of India, New Delhi).Google Scholar
  55. Verquer, M. L., T.A. Beehr and S. H. Wagner: 2003, ‘A Meta-analysis of Relations between Person-Organization Fit and Work Attitudes’, Journal of Vocational Behavior 63(4), 473-489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Waldman, D. A. and B. J. Avolio: 1986, ‘A Meta-Analysis of Age Difference in Job Performance’, Journal of Applied Psychology 71 (1), 33-38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. White, A. T. and P. E. Spector: 1987, ‘An Investigation of Age-related Factors in the Age/Job Satisfaction Relationship’, Psychology and Aging 2 (3), 261-265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Humanities and Social SciencesIndian Institute of Technology KharagpurKharagpurIndia
  2. 2.Amrita Vishwa VidyapeethamCoimbatoreIndia

Personalised recommendations