Values are the enduring perspectives that an individual strongly holds to judge between right and wrong. In addition, with the help of such values an individual is able to perceive and interpret the surroundings on the basis of which, an individual is able to make correct decisions. Since values play such crucial role in an individual’s life. It has been indicated that values have significant role in influencing the attitude of an individual i.e. commitment and job satisfaction along with other factors. On the other hand, it has also been indicated that conflicting values systems can negatively influence the individual’s performance and are the core reason for individual’s stress and burnout. Some of the other negative impact of such conflicting values systems includes lower commitment level, low job satisfaction, increased turnover and absenteeism rates.
Values are individuals’ perspective through which an individual allows him/herself to judge what is fundamentally right or wrong. As indicated by Ravlin and Meglino (1987) values are the beliefs that an individual strongly holds regarding how one should behave in the society, which eventually directly or indirectly influences change in behavior and attitudes (Schwartz, 1994). It has been indicated and identified that individuals are more comfortable in organizations that share same values and beliefs which eventually leads to increased communication between the individual and organization. Furthermore, such comfortable environment improves work relations along with reduced uncertainty in the work environment (Kalliath, Bluedorn and Strube, 1999). Values Systems are assumed to be composed of beliefs, norms and values shared between variety of individuals and the organization. Schein (1992) indicated regarding the values systems that employees who behave in ways identified by the organization are provided with rewards and the types of rewards that are presented to the employees vary due to the importance given by the organization.
The purpose of this study would be to evaluate and indentify the nature of conflicting values systems along with work attitudes. This would significantly help to understand the relationship between both the values systems and the work attitudes. This assignment would also focus on the fact that how the values systems could drive change in the work attitude of an employee working in an organization. Furthermore, the important factors that lead to such change in the work attitudes of the individual would also be indentified along with the reason for such change in individual’s attitude towards work.
As indicated by Ravlin and Meglino (1987), Values are the sets of beliefs that individuals strongly hold regarding how people should behave in the society, which eventually impacts the attitudes and work behavior of individuals in the organization (Schwartz, 1994).
It has been indicated that for an organization to enhance its performance in the marketplace to reap impressive profits along with accomplishment of desired goals and objectives. Furthermore, researchers such as Cameron and Quinn (1999) along with Schwartz (1992, 1994) assumed that values systems are combination of beliefs that are mutually exclusive in nature. Similarly, Kristof (1996) indicated that most of the organizations in the marketplace possesses values systems, which eventually provides the organization with norms and traditions that identifies the employees regarding the behavior required in the organization (Cable and Edwards, 2004). To make such values systems more attractive and lucrative to employees, organization provides such employees with rewards that successfully follow the identified behavior (i.e. norm-consistent ways) in the organization. In addition, the level of rewards is affected by the level of importance given by the organization (Schein, 1992).
On the other hand, Cameron and Quinn (1999) indicated that organizational values also include competing or conflicting values. Furthermore, a framework was introduced for these particular conflicting values. In this framework, the conflicting values were placed on two dimensions. The first dimension consisted of individuals’ attitude towards the internal or external focus whereas; the second dimension was regarding the preference for organizational structure. On the other hand, researchers such as Priester and Petty (1996) focus highly to explain the impact of values on the attitude and behavior of individuals towards work.
In addition, researchers such as Flangan and Lee (2003) identified that the authoritarian model is a cluster of values that focuses highly on high level of respect for authority, loyalty and dutifulness along with obedience and patriotism. On the other hand, the libertarian model places high stress on values including interdependence and self-determination, equality and freedom and participation in challenging activities.
Value and Values Plurality
Individual values as indicated by Bandura (1991) have significant impact on the way an individual interpret things around them. Such interpretation on the basis of individual values and norms influences the employee’s behavior and attitude towards work (Ravlin and Meglino, 1987). In addition, it has been assumed by several researchers that certain values that an individual strongly holds are competitive by nature and cannot exist within an individual simultaneously.
Necessary evils as defined by Molinsky and Margolis (2005) indicates the tasks in which an individual for personal benefits perform an act that causes emotional or physical harm to others in the society to gain greater good or purpose. Such definition proposed by Molinsky and Morgolis (2005) relies heavily of three distinguishing characteristics:
- for the attainment of valued goals and objectives, the task has to be done;
- Such acts harm others in the society i.e. physical or emotional which makes such tasks evil;
- Being a part of the job, the task has to be done to gain greater good or purpose.
Hackman and Oldham (1980) proposed a job characteristics model that included jobs with certain characteristics i.e. variety in skills, identity of the task, significance of the task, autonomy and feedback after completion). Such characteristics give rise to higher motivation in employees and leads to better work attitude. In addition, Hackman and Oldham (1980) also indicated that when an employee consider or perceive his/her job meaningful, this leads to better work performance and accomplishment of one of the psychological states. Furthermore, Spreitzer (1995) provided with significant information that employees should be provided with meaningful tasks as with the help of such tasks, employees would consider their job significant and would work harder for the accomplishment of goals and objectives. This can create better job performance and would lead to employee’s job satisfaction along with commitment towards the job.
Job Stress and Burnout
As indicated by Maslach (1982) job stress in an organization arises due to emotional exhaustion, depersonalization of others and loss of personal accomplishment. Similarly, Lee and Ashforth (1996) indicated that burnout occurs due to lack of individual’s resources to meet the job demand. As the demands are higher and has to be accomplished within limited resources provided, it depletes the employees’ potential to work towards the completion of the task which eventually leads to exhaustion and reduced motivation (Bakker, Demerouti, De Boer and Schaufeli, 2003; Bakker, Demerouti, & Euwema, 2005).
Mowday, Porter and Steers (1982) defined organizational commitment as the acceptance of organizational goals and objectives and willingness of the individual to work towards the accomplishment of such desired goals and objectives along with maintaining long-term relationship and membership in the organization. Similarly, Allen and Meyer (1990) identified affective commitment leads to personal attachment to an organization which eventually creates higher opportunities for the individual. In addition, such higher and affective commitment allows the employee to enjoy his/her membership with the organization.
Identity and Ambivalence
Priester, Petty, and Park, (2007) indicated that social identity theory proposes that social identification is a perception that individual is similar. On the other hand, Ashforth (2001) evaluated that people often compare themselves with others in the group and with the help of such comparison are able to categorize themselves and others in membership similarity on the basis of factors such as gender, social status etc.
Role theory states that each role and position specified to an individual within an organization have clear set of responsibilities due to which the management and employees remain aware that what is expected from them (Bacon, and Blyton, 2006). On the other hand, Gimenez (2002) proposed that unclear expectation causes fear of doing the wrong/incorrect thing in employees. On the basis of such definition, role conflict could be regarded as the incompatibility between the parties regarding the roles and responsibilities of employees within an organization (Robinson, 2012).
EMPLOYEE’S WORK ATTITUDE
Employee’s attitude towards work as identified by several researchers is a combination of several factors that provide individual with positive job experience. In addition, it has also been indicated that for organizations to enhance its worker’s performance, employee’s attitude towards work should be given priority. Employee’s attitude involves feeling of involvement in the organization, trust, sense of commitment etc (Schuman, 1972).
Furthermore, it has been indicated that institutions play a major role in setting employee’s attitude (Alas, Ennulo, & Türnpuu, 2006). The term institution includes both structural and social component that works together to shape the attitude of an employee towards work (Clark and Soulsby, 1999). Moreover, it has been indicated that a person’s attitude influences a person to act differently as compared to others in the society. A positive attitude towards one’s job could be evaluated with the help of job satisfaction (Daft, 2006) along with commitment that a person has towards his work and the organization (Holton and Russell, 1999; Randall et al., 1990).
CONFLICTING VALUES SYSTEMS & ITS EFFECT ON WORK ATTITUDES
Values systems play an integral part in developing the attitude of an employee which eventually leads to enhanced productivity and performance of the employee. In addition, such positive attitude towards work has been the core reason for increase in job satisfaction and commitment towards the work and organization.
Some of the most prominent effects of values system on work attitudes are as follows:
Values and Values Plurality
Bandura (1991) indicated that individual values has significant role in individual’s information seeking along with the interpretation of such information. Such interpretation of information on the basis of individual’s values give rise to attitude (Ravlin and Meglino, 1987).
It has been indicated that conflicting values give rise to negative attitude which eventually impacts the performance of the individual in the organization. As indicated in the value pluralism model, when an individual faces a conflicting values situation, he/she tends to rely on tactics i.e. denial of less important value while focusing strongly on more important values (Myyry, 2002; Tetlock, 1986). On the other hand, when both the values are of same importance individuals use complex reasoning which eventually leads to the combination of conflicting values on super ordinate level (Tetlock, 1986). Such conflicting values are the core reason for the negative attitude towards work as holding simultaneous conflicting values affects the job attitudes (Lefkowitz, 2003).
As indicated earlier, Molinsky and Margolis (2005) defines necessary evils as tasks that an individual must perform which eventually has negative impact on others as it causes physical and emotional harm to another human being in the society for the purpose of accomplishing something greater in terms of good or purpose.
It has been indicated that such tasks leads the employee to distance themselves mentally due to which they act callously. On the other hand, such tasks give rise to conflicts due to which their emotions prohibits them to complete the task at hand. As these tasks are entailed to hurt other peoples in the society, the employee’s attitude towards work significantly changes over time and leads to employee stress and burnout.
When an employee finds tasks and responsibilities allocated to him/her as meaningful, it boosts the employee’s attitude towards work. As such meaningfulness in their tasks are the within their personal values system (Hackman and Oldham, 1980). It has been indicated that when employees find their task as significant and important, they perceive that they are working for a cause i.e. to find deeper meaning for their work. When such a situation is created or presented in front of an employee, the employee creates a positive attitude towards his work. Spreitzer (1995) indicates that such positive attitude leads to increased job performance as well as superior job satisfaction. In addition, it has also been indicated that such meaningful tasks and responsibilities significantly increases employee’s commitment towards job.
On the other hand, it has been indicated that conflicting values systems may give rise to negative attitude towards work to some extent as the employees might form different purpose of their job as compared to the real purpose. For example, a correction officer may believe that their purpose of job is to catch thieves and send them to prison as punishment which may give such employees with a sense of purpose and meaning for their job. However, some of such officers may value rehabilitation which would lead them to focus on the potential offender-societal reintegration. Due to such varying values and conflicts, an employee might manifest different job attitudes which will eventually lead to decrease in performance and job satisfaction.
Job Stress and Burnout
Job stress and Burnout are arranged in two situation as indicated by model’s proposed by Ganster and Schaubroeck (1991) and Karasek (1979). The situations are:
- when job demands are the same as individual’s resources and skills, which gives rise to positive outcomes
- when demands are too high and employee’s resources and skills are insufficient to meet the job’s demand resulting in negative outcomes (Edwards, 1992; Ganster and Schaubroeck (1991) and Karasek (1979).
It has been indicated that conflicting values systems give rise to negative work attitude as the demands regarding the job are too high and the employee must accomplish such demands with inadequate resources and skills. Due to such conflicting values systems, it has been indicated that such combination depletes employee’s mental and physical resources which leads to negative outcome and poor performance (Flaskerud, 2010). In addition, it has also been indicated that such situation gives rise to exhaustion and reduced motivation level of employees (Bakker, Demerouti, De Boer and Schaufeli, 2003).
Organizational commitment could be witnessed when an individual or employee willingly accepts the organizational values and beliefs as his/her own (Caldwell, Chatman and O’Reilley, 1990; Meyer and Allen, 1991). Such high organizational commitment is due to similar organizational values and beliefs. On the other hand, it has been indicated that conflicting values systems give rise to negative attitude of an employee. Due to such attitude, an employee tends to reduce his/her commitment towards the organization and eventually the organization faces high turnover and absenteeism rates (Twenge, 2010). Moreover, such conflicting values influences the employee working in the organization to reduce their job satisfaction along with their performance and productivity.
Identity and Ambivalence
As identified by Ashforth and Mael (1989), Dutton, Dukerich, and Harquail (1994) organizational identification occurs when an individual tends to define and identify his/her worth in the organization with the help of his/her membership in the organization. As with the help of such identification, employees are able to define who they are.
In addition, it has been indicated that organizational identification help an individual to find their place in the organization due to which such concept has been found to be positively related to performance and have negative relationship with turnover and absenteeism (Kreiner & Ashforth, 2002; Mael & Ashforth, 1995; Pratt, 1998). On the other hand, it has been evaluated that employees working in the organization could hold multiple, seemingly opposing attitudes in the organization (Preister and Petty, 1996). Due to such opposing attitudes, the individual may have positive as well as negative attitude towards specific object or individual in the organization (Preister and Petty, 1996). In addition, such conflicting values systems create dissonance which evidently leads to decreased performance and burnout (Kreiner and Ashforth, 2002; Preister and Petty, 1996).
Role conflict is defined as the unclear set of responsibilities which give rise to uncertainty of expectation between both the parties i.e. management and employees. It has been recently indicated that role conflicts, uncertainty and ambiguity are the major causes of employees’ stress which eventually leads to decline in resources in order to reduce and resolve stress (Fried, Ben-David, Tiegs, Avital and Yeverechyahu, 1998).
It has also been indicated that such negative attitude towards work due to role conflicts lead to decrease job attitudes and performance and are the major reason for the organization’s inability to attain its desired goals and objectives. On the other hand, Rothbard (2001) indicated that multiple roles help an individual to increase rather than decrease resources which eventually helps to reduce work-related stress and burnout.
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