The Impact of Personal Values on Innovativeness of Management: Starting Points for Empirical Research

The Impact of Personal Values on Innovativeness of Management: Starting Points for Empirical Research

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3250-7.ch005


The main purpose of this chapter is to outline methodological and contextual issues in empirical researching of personal values. This chapter addresses methodological and contextual issues, most relevant for researching the association between personal values and innovativeness. In the framework of methodological issues, those related to the utilization of different available theories and corresponding typologies of personal values to examine personal values and issues related with field research of individual's values are at the forefront. In the framework of contextual issues, the interpretation and comparison of results from different value studies, changing relative importance of personal values, and examination of personal values in various cultural contexts and specific circumstances, which may have implications on the results are outlined. The central focus of the chapter is on Slovenia as a representative of Central European Economy, having historically been a transitional economy, which moved from a specific centrally planned system to a free market economy.
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The number of examinations of the phenomena of personal values in the literature has been rising steadily in the last decades. Primarily, personal values are examined in frame of psychology, which is among others, interested in empirical examinations of values (Rokeach, 1973; Schwartz, 1994). Due to the high importance of personal values for individual’s behavior, also significant proportion of management and organization literature deals with personal values, which have been recognized as an important driver of management behavior (Hambrick & Mason, 1984), driver of ethical working and behavior in organizations (Kakabadse et al., 2003; Fisher & Lovell, 2006; Trevino et al., 2014; Wynder & Dunbar, 2016), as well as a driver of individual’s innovativeness (Miron et al., 2004; Potocan & Nedelko, 2014b).

Regardless of what is (or are) the other phenomena in the study, besides personal values, there are several methodological and contextual issues, which researchers are faced with, when empirically examine personal values in various contexts. The first and most obvious start for the discussion of the methodological issues in empirical researching of the values are related to the different theories of personal values and their corresponding typologies (Rokeach, 1973; Schwartz, 1992; Hofstede, 2001a). Another inevitable challenge in the first phases of preparation for empirical researching of values is also selection of the approach and the methodology for researching the importance of values, like decisions about sample, the level of study, selection of methods to obtain participants and determination of the way how values will be assessed. Among possible alternatives, for assessing importance of individual’s personal values is most effective and commonly used self-assessment approach (Egri et al., 2000; Furrer et al., 2010; Nedelko & Potocan, 2014; Ralston et al., 2014).

Besides outlined key methodological issues, a several contextual issues emerge, after the researchers have collected the answers, analyzed them and when researchers try to compare their findings with other’s findings. For instance, researchers are facing problems with understanding values due to the specific context in which values are examined. Last but certainly not least, for instance when implications are done on the basis of current state of values, often researchers emphasize the need to change relative importance of personal values in order to ensure more favorable influence and/or perception toward considered phenomena. This emphasizes the endurance nature of values, which relative importance is hard to change and a lot of time is needed, also for a small change in relative importance of values.

Coupled to all above outlined methodological and contextual issues, an important contextual issue is related to the understanding of the cultural and environment specific circumstances, which may have significant influence on individual’s behavior, their perception of values or specific behavior, which may be the result of synergy between importance of values and specific circumstances (Kornai, 1992; Dyck & Mulej, 1998; Newman & Nollen, 1998). In order to provide comprehensive discussion about state of personal values and manager’s innovativeness in Slovenia, we will provide a detailed explanation of basic characteristics of Slovenia’s transformation process and emphasis the part, which will help us to understand current level of innovativeness and the rationales behind manager’s behavior and perceived importance of values of managers.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Self-Assessment Approach: Is in the forefront for obtaining individual’s answers, regarding importance of values and triggers the dilemma about actual and honest assessment of personal values, by the individuals.

Interpretation of Values: This issue has its roots in different empirical studies of personal values, containing different list of values, methods of surveying and scales for measuring, which makes results, using different value theories, difficult to compare.

Importance of Personal Values: Emphasizes relative importance of individual’s personal values, which are different in frame of different cultural and organizational settings. This requires additional attention, since relative importance of values should be considered in the appropriate context.

Contextual Issues: Are related to the “context” in which values are examined and studied, like different cultures, different organizational settings, different state of countries transformation toward free-market economy, etc.

Methodological Issues: Issues related to those which are related to the empirical examination of personal values, like selection from different theories and corresponding classifications of personal values when researching values and issues related with actual field researching of personal values among individuals.

Endurance of Personal Values: This contextual issue emphasizes stability of personal values and long-lasting process of changing the importance of values. This issue comes into the forefront when there is a need for changing the relative importance of individual’s values.

Value Theories: Several theories of values and their adjacent typologies of values are available to the researcher for empirical researching of personal values of individuals. Different theories differ between themselves especial regarding list of values, scales for their measurement and classifications of values.

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