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Personal and Organizational Values: Making The Best Ethical Choices

           A strong sense of character grows out of your personal standards of behavior. It is based on your internal values and your judgment of what is right and what is wrong. Your values are the personal worth or importance you assign to an object or idea. People's values systems serve as the foundation for their attitudes, preferences, opinions, and behaviors.

            Personal values are largely formed early in life and are influenced by family religious upbringing, schools, the media, and changes in society's values. Simon, Howe, and Kirschenbaum suggests you can learn a valuing process to help clarify your values. This process includes five dimensions: thinking, feeling, communicating, choosing, and acting. Milton Rokeach has written that values can be categorized as terminal or instrumental. Most people's value systems are oriented toward ideas, people, or things.

            Internal value conflicts involve choices between strongly held values. Value conflicts with others, often based on age, racial, religious, gender, or ethnic differences, require skilled intervention before they can be resolved.

            Corporate values act as standards for behavior, goal setting, and strategic decision making. They also have an impact on human relations within the organization. They are strongly influenced by top management, which plays a significant role in setting the corporate climate by exemplifying and communicating it to others. By establishing strong corporate values, however, organizations may risk obsolescence, resistance to change, and inconsistencies among various departments.

            Shared values unify employees in an organization by providing guidelines for behavior and decisions. Employees can choose the career and the organization that best suit their needs by ensuring that their personal values are compatible with the values of the organization in which they work. 

            Corporate values and ethics on both the domestic and international levels are receiving increasing attention. As multinational organizations increase in number, the individuals involved will need to consciously examine their values and ethical standards to deal effectively with the differing value structures in each country. Top management, governments, and the public are holding organizations more accountable for their actions than in the past.