Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 97, Issue 3, pp 461–472 | Cite as

Values in Professional Practice: Towards a Critical Reflective Methodology

  • Einar Aadland


A prevailing conceptualization of values in organizations regards values as preferable modes of conduct or end-states of existence. Accordingly, values are pursued through prescriptions, actions of implementation and evaluation, based on the presumption that values inform actions. Thus, holding the ‘right’ values leads to desired practice. However, this is a problematic stance, suppressing the fact that correlation between value and action is highly questioned. The article claims that proliferation of values in organizations is more plausible and influential turning the process around, utilizing the ideas of sensemaking, tacit knowledge and virtue in a critical reflection-upon-action model, engaging organizational members as co-researchers of their own value constructions in context.


values critical reflection virtue tacit knowledge values-in-practice 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alvesson, M & K. Sköldberg (2000): Reflexive Methodology. New Vistas for Qualitative Research. London: Sage PublicationsGoogle Scholar
  2. Anscombe, G.E.M. (1957): Intention. Oxford: BlacwellGoogle Scholar
  3. Argyris, C., and D. Schön (1978) Organizational learning. A theory of action perspective. Reading, MA: Addison WesleyGoogle Scholar
  4. Aristotle: 1985, The Nicomakean Ethics. Indianapolis: Hackett PublishingGoogle Scholar
  5. Beadle, R. & G. Moore (2006): ‘MacIntyre on Virtue and Organization’. Organization Studies 27(3): 323-340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. D’Eredita, M.A. & C. Barreto (2006): ‘How does Tacit Knowledge Proliferate? An Episode Based Perspective’. Organization Studies 27(12): 1821-1841CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dennett, D.C. & J. Haugeland (1987): ‘Intentionality’, in R. L. Gregory, ed., The Oxford Companion to the Mind, Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  8. Derrida, J (1978): Writing and difference. London: RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  9. Dose, J. J. (1997): ‘Work Values: An integrative framework and illustrative application to organizational socialization’. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. 70, 219-240Google Scholar
  10. Furnham, A. (1997): The Psychology of behaviour at work. The Individual in the organization. London: Psychology PressGoogle Scholar
  11. Gilliland, S.W., D.D. Steiner & D.P. Skarlicki (ed.) (2003): Emerging perspectives on values in organizations. Greenwich, Connecticut: Information Age PublishingGoogle Scholar
  12. Hofstede, G. (1980): Culture’s consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage PublicationsGoogle Scholar
  13. Inglehart, R. (1997): Modernization and Postmodernization. Princeton University PressGoogle Scholar
  14. Jacob, P.: 2003, ‘Intentionality’, in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,
  15. Korsgaard (1996): The sources of normativity. Cambridge University PressCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. MacIntyre, A. (1985): After virtue. 2nd edn. London: DuckworthGoogle Scholar
  17. Meglino, B.M. & E.C. Ravlin (1998): ‘Individual Values in Organizations: Concepts, Controversies, and Research’. Journal of Management 24/3: 351-389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mejlby, P (2003): ‘Escaping the Iron Cage – A Mission Impossible?’, in: Corporate Values and ResponsibilityThe Case of Denmark. Morsing, M. & C.Thyssen (eds.) Frederiksberg: SamfundslitteraturGoogle Scholar
  19. Peters, T.J. & R.H. Waterman Jr. (1982): In search of excellence. New York: Warner Books EditionGoogle Scholar
  20. Pirsig, R.M. (1991): Lila: An Inquiry into Morals. Bantam BooksGoogle Scholar
  21. Polanyi, M (1958): Personal Knowledge. London: RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  22. Polanyi, M. (1966): The tacit dimension. Gloucester, Mass.: DoubledayGoogle Scholar
  23. Rocheach, M. (1973): The nature of human values. New York: Free PressGoogle Scholar
  24. Rocheach, M. & S.J. Ball-Rocheach (1989): ‘Stability and change in American values, 1969 1981’. American Psychologist. 44: 775-784CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Schein, E. H. (1985). Organizational Culture and Leadership. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CAGoogle Scholar
  26. Scherer, A.G. (2003): ‘Modes of Explanation in Organizational Theory’. In: The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Theory. H Tsoukas & C. Knudsen (eds.) 310-344. Oxford: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  27. Taylor, C. (1989): Sources of the self. Cambridge: Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  28. Tsoukas, H. (2005a). Forms of Knowledge and Forms of Life in Organized Contexts. In: H. Tsoukas (ed.), Complex Knowledge, Studies in Organizational Epistemology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 69–93Google Scholar
  29. Tsoukas, H. (2005b): ‘Do We Really Undertsand Tacit Knowledge?’ In.: Complex Knowledge. Studies in Organizational Epistemology. H. Tsoukas 141-161. Oxford: Oxford University Press Oxford: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  30. Tsoukas, H. & E. Vladimirou (2005): ‘What is Organizational Knowledge?’. In: Complex Knowledge. Studies in Organizational Epistemology. H. Tsoukas 117-140. Oxford: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  31. Weick, K. E. (1995): Sensemaking in organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage PublicationsGoogle Scholar
  32. Weick, K. E. (2001): Making sense of the organization. Oxford: Blackwell PublishingGoogle Scholar
  33. Weick, K.E. (2006): ‘Faith, Evidence, and Action: Better Guesses in an Unknowable World’. Organization Studies 27(11): 1723-1736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Willmott, H. (2003): ‘Organization Theory as a Critical Science? Forms and Analysis and ‘New Organizational Forms’’. In: The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Theory. H Tsoukas & C. Knudsen (eds.) 88-112. Oxford: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Diakonhjemmet University CollegeOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations