What evidence is there that values work?

One of the aims of the UK Values Alliance is to make more widely available any existing evidence as to the effectiveness of individuals, organisations or nations adopting a values-driven approach.  We have so far discovered the following, but are open to receiving more submissions from members and others who are aware of such research.

  • Organisational Values: Are They Worth the Bother?  This research paper by Great Place to Work®  shows that a strong values-driven culture is critical to the success of high performance organisations. Organisations with a culture of strong values are more likely to have better financial results than their peers. Download the report here.
  • Values Based Education Click on this link to see compelling evidence of the impact of a values based approach to education.  The link is to the website of the Values based Education movement, which has had outstanding success in engaging schools and universities in the UK and round the world in the issue of values. www.valuesbasededucation.com/impact.html
  • Corporate Culture and The Bottom Line In 2001, Eric Flamholtz from the University of California at Los Angeles discovered a strong positive correlation between cultural agreement (a proxy for values alignment) and the company’s EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Taxes) – Flamholtz, Eric. “Corporate Culture and the Bottom Line.” European Management Journal Vol. 19, No. 3 (2001): 268-275.
  • Best Employer Study Richard Barrett’s report on the findings of the 2008 Best Employer study in Australia/New Zealand and the link between engagement and Culture. Download the report here.
  • The Values Driven Organisation In his presentation of the same name, Richard Barrett presents some compelling evidence that companies adopting a values-driven approach are more successful long term than average.  He compares the performance of the top 40 companies to work for and the 18 “Firms of Endearment” with the S&P 500. Download “The Values Driven Organisation” presentation (PDF)
  • The Case for Working with Our Cultural Values Values are powerful forces in our decision making processes. In 2010 five significant third sector bodies – WWF-UK, Oxfam, Friends of the Earth, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, and the Climate Outreach and Information Network – published ‘Common Cause – The Case for Working with our Cultural Values’. They sought to understand why decades of campaigning intended to drive the behaviour of both individuals and organisations into more sustainable practices had essentially fallen short. Their report makes the case that ‘civil society organisations can find common cause in working to activate and strengthen a set of helpful ‘intrinsic’ values, while working to diminish the importance of unhelpful ‘extrinsic’ values’. A fascinating read with excellent literature review and plenty to think about. Free to download here.
  • Fulfilling Lives Culture, and therefore values, is widely regarded as key to transforming health and social care into the compassionate service desired in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust review, amongst other scandals. In 2013, UK Values Alliance member Jackie Le Fèvre worked with Merseyside Disability Federation under the supervision of the University of Liverpool to explore the service and culture of an apparently high performing social care provider. One strand of the research was a full scale values audit at every level of the organisation from governance through to support workers. Methods, results and conclusions are free to download here there is a short overview called ‘Fulfilling Lives’ and the full academic paper called ‘Valuing Support’.
  • Managers and Their MoralDNA is a report sponsored by the Chartered Management Institute and written primarily by Professor Roger Steare, Corporate Philosopher in Residence at Cass Business School and psychologist Pavlos Stamboulides of Psycholate, with contributions from independent consultant Peter Neville Lewis, and Lysbeth Plas, Petra Wilton and Patrick Woodman at CMI.  Managers and their MoralDNA — 24 March
  • How to Work Out What’s Right – and Find The Courage to Do It. Every manager has to make tough decisions. Working out the right thing to do isn’t always about crunching data – it’s also about the values that are important to us and how our decisions will affect people. Click to view this practical webinar given by Professor Roger Steare and in association with the CMI Ethics Research Advisory Group. (You will need to follow a short registration to view the webinar) How to work out what’s right – and find the courage to do it.
  • The MoralDNA of Performance – Better Values, Better Decisions, Better outcomes – Stronger management ethics are linked to better organisational performance. Strong ethics and high levels of organisational performance go hand in hand. Across all 11 performance indicators explored in our survey, high levels of performance were associated with higher ethical scores. Almost a third of managers rate their organisation as mediocre or worse on ethical behaviour. Despite vidence of links between good ethics and business performance, almost a third of managers (29%) say their organisation is mediocre or plain poor when it comes to standards of ethical behaviour. This equates to nearly one million (928,000) managers across the UK. Read more by reading the full research report.  The MoralDNA of Performance – October 2014 and viewing the Inforgraphic The MoralDNA of Performance – Infographic – October 2014  Latest research completed by Professor Roger Steare, Pavlos Stamboulides, Peter Neville Lewis,Lysbeth Plas, Petra Wilton and Patrick Woodman.
  • Performance Management for an Ethical Culture This Good Practice Guide considers how organisations develop performance management processes which measure how business is done as well as what is achieved. You can purcahse Performance Management for an Ethical Culture from the Ibe website for £22.50, or £18.50 if you’re a subscriber.
  • The Knightly Virtues Programme There is a growing consensus in Britain on the importance of character, and on the belief that the virtues that contribute to good character are part of the solution to many of the challenges facing modern society. Parents, teachers and schools understand the need to teach basic moral virtues to pupils, such as honesty, self-control, fairness and respect, while fostering behaviour associated with such virtues today. However, until recently, the materials required to help deliver this ambition have been missing in Britain. The Knightly Virtues Programme, devised by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, aims to help solve this challenge. The programme, designed for 9 to 11 year olds, draws on selected classic stories to help teach moral character in schools.So far, over 7,000 primary school pupils have taken part in the programme, making it one of the largest projects of its kind. The research project has now concluded, and the full report is available, along with links to the resources and trial data. See more at: http://www.jubileecentre.ac.uk/1545/projects/development-projects/knightly-virtues#sthash.pcfGsT7T.dpuf
  • Public Values and Financial Success There is no correlation between an organisation’s “publicised values” and business performance, new research has revealed. However, there is a strong link between values perceived by employees and financial results. See article in Personnel.
  • Corporate Citizen Magazine An online magazine from Boston College, The Corporate Citizen gives examples of companies that are leading with values. Click here to read Issue 11.