What are values?

Brad C. Anderson

Values describe the ends (i.e., the goals) we wish to achieve and the means (i.e., the methods) we are willing to use to achieve them.[1][2][3] Values, in short, guide the actions of individuals.

When individuals come together to create organizations, they do so with the intent that the organization will implement a set of values. People create an organization to pursue a goal and define the means it will use towards that end.

Key Takeaways

  • Values describe the ends we pursue and the means we find appropriate to achieve those ends.
  • Values guide the actions of individuals and organizations.

  1. Kalberg, S. (1980). Max Weber’s Types of Rationality: Cornerstones for the Analysis of Rationalization Processes in History. American Journal of Sociology, 85(5), 1145–1179.
  2. Townley, B. (2008). Reason’s Neglect: Rationality and Organizing. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.
  3. Weber, M. (1978). Economy and Society. (G. Roth & C. Wittich, Eds.). Berkley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.


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What are values? Copyright © 2020 by Brad C. Anderson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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