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When Corporate Values Do Not Align with Personal Values

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When Corporate Values do not Align with Personal Values

When an individual accepts a position at a company, it is important that they should first check that their values match the companies’ values. Often, the companies’ values are readily available and should be researched before the position is accepted, but in some cases, an employee will find out too late that they feel a conflict between their own values and their employer’s values. Every person has certain ‘Benchmark Goals’ that dictate what is important to them in life (Pace, 6). Some people value family, money, and some value having a career in a certain field. Employees in positions where there are conflicting values can be unhappy in their position, and it can carry over into their personal life. When values align, it can give an employee a sense of purpose and connection with their position and coworkers. Sometimes though, if the values do not match up, it can cause internal conflict for the employee, or even conflict between employees. There are two main ways that an employee can have conflicts with the values, between them and their supervisors or coworkers, and between them and their company. Someone who has very strong values centered on faith will struggle with a company who requires weekend work which might cause them to miss a weekly service. Katherine Dean reminisces about a position she once held where her supervisor pushed them too hard, because he overly valued sales and financial gain, even above family time and a personal life. She felt that his drive towards profit caused competition between employees instead of a positive environment (Dean, 2011) When a supervisor is pushing their employees so hard for profits and time at the office, an employee who is more geared towards family will feel conflict. The employees felt that they were being pitted against each other, when they would have had healthy work relationships otherwise. In this case, the best way to deal with this conflict may have been to sit down and have an honest discussion with the supervisor who is causing the conflict. If an open honest conversation is not possible, it might be time to apply for a position change, although potentially in the same company. This environment will keep all the employees in a negative mindset, even if they have values that match the companies and their coworkers.
Another form of value-based conflict is when an individual’s values are not aligned with the company values. For example, Planned Parenthoods values states that they believe “That reproductive freedom is the foundation for true equality for women and men”. Someone who has religious or personal beliefs that disagree with that would feel uncomfortable working at an organization with those values (“Mission and Values,” 2012). Now, Planned Parenthood is a well-known organization with well-known values, but other companies might have similar values and employees who disagree with these statements may feel uncomfortable working for the companies that support them. In this case, if the employee feels very strongly against the organizational values, it will most likely be best to begin looking for companies that they will be able to feel comfortable at. Another example of this might be government, whose values and goals can potentially change every 4 years. Employees of the government might agree with the values for a position for a short period of time, but the structure may change when a new party Is elected. It is up to that employee to decide if they will support the government despite the differing values.
In the end, careers and jobs come and go, but a person’s integrity is forever. Pace refers to ‘Benchmark Goals’, staying true to these goals will give a sense of achievement (Pace 6). If an employee who’s most important goal is to have a strong family life chooses to leave a career to be with their family, they will not regret that decision, but if they stay and miss the chance to spend time with their family they will forever wish they had made a different choice. It is very important that positions and companies are researched before a job is accepted to make sure that everyone’s values are aligned. If they are though, it will be a mutually beneficial relationship. If not, the employee will be unhappy and regret accepting the position.

References
Mission and Values of Planned Parenthood. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.plannedparenthood.org/nyc/mission-values-14915.htm
Dean, K. (2011). Values-Based Leadership: How our Personal Values Impact the Workplace. Journal of Values Based Leadership, 1(1), retrieved from http://www.valuesbasedleadershipjournal.com/issues/vol1issue1/dean.php
Pace, J (2006). Personal Skills for Success. (p. 6). New York, NY: McGraw Hill

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