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Core Values Research Papers



When it comes to organizations, “core values are the organization’s essential and enduring tenets–a small set of timeless guiding principles that require no external justification; they have intrinsic value and importance to those inside the organization.”[1]  When it comes to individuals, the same importance of Core Values holds true.  Core Values define who we are, who and what we care for, and what we strive to achieve.


Our parents are the ones who first instilled values into us. As we grew up, where we were living, our friends, and life experiences, helped us refine our own values. These Core Values are the drivers of my personality, the reason I get along with my best friends, and a big reason why Boston College is a good fit for me. 


We all have many values, but in order to narrow down these values to those that were core, I had a discussion with my parents.  They both gave me interesting views on the merit of Core Values, but most importantly, I was able to obtain an outside independent view of my values.  I was able to identify my two greatest values that define who I am and where I want to be.




As an Argentinean, Family plays a huge role in my life.  In Argentina, children live with their parents until they get married, and even then, they come back every weekend for a traditional asado (BBQ). During New Years Eve, the entire family spends the evening together, and only after the clock has struck midnight, do the children go out to clubs with their friends.  If my family were in trouble, I would do everything in my power to help them. 


Americans spend more time at work than ever before.[2]  Because of this fact, we tend to form a second family at our place of work.  I myself formed a second family at both State Street Corporation as well as Deloitte & Touche, LLP.  Only Deloitte recognized this as a value.  Their four shared values include “Commitment to each other”[3].  State Street Corporation didn’t have any Core Values however the people I worked with did share this value.  I enjoyed going to work with individuals I considered my second family, and I still am in contact with many ex-coworkers today.




Part of being a great volunteer is to love what you're doing. Find something that you're passionate about or something that inspires you, and then find a need in your community. There are dozens of reasons why you should volunteer - you just need to find the one that feels right.”[4]


One of the values instilled by my parents was the act of giving back to my community.  I feel very fortunate to have a life that is better than most, and I am lucky to have had parents who instilled in me the importance of giving back to my community.  I spent this past weekend organizing a bike ride for the second year in a row (but my fifth year fundraising) for Neurofibromatosis, Inc.  I also am a member of the Argentine Jewish Relief Committee of Greater Boston and am a trustee of my condominium association.


I very much enjoy giving back to my community for a cause that is greater than myself.  Amazingly, most corporations don’t value volunteering very much. Of the two organizations in which I worked prior to entering BC, only Deloitte had a program that valued volunteerism.  One day every year, every employee of Deloitte in the United States participates in IMPACT Day: “a day Deloitte member firms dedicate to proactively supporting the development of the communities in which they work and their people live.”[5] Boston College was one of the few MBA programs that had a Community Service requirement, and another reason why BC is a good fit for me.




Everyone’s parents has said “Do as I say, not as I do,” but if your boss said the same thing, one would be very annoyed. Kouzes & Posner write “To earn and sustain personal credibility, you must be able to clearly articulate your deeply held beliefs.”[7]  Many students including myself, were not convinced about the value of Core Values until we heard Ralph Folz, CEO of Molecular’s presentation.


Now I truly agree that “values can set a company apart from the competition by clarifying its identity and serving as a rallying point for employees.”[8]  State Street Corporation didn’t have any Core Values, and Deloitte’s Core Values were somewhere between vanilla and substance.  What Deloitte did have was a big alignment with my two important values of Family and Community Service and it showed with my increased overall happiness.


Now that I completed this exercise and believe in the importance in Core Values, I hope to find an organization that shares my same values after graduation.  Not only will it benefit me, but it will also benefit the organization for which I chose to work. Kouzes and Posner researched the correlation between the clarity of both ones personal and an organizations values and its impact on employee commitment.  What resulted was not surprising: employees who had the greatest clarity in both their own personal values and their organizations values, held the highest commitment to their organization.[9]


Perhaps I will work for a non-profit organization, or perhaps I will attempt to find an organization where I can contribute intellectually that also values work/life balance.  This will allow me to spend more time with my family and continue volunteering.  Now that I better recognize the value of aligned Core Values, I will put it to use when starting to look for internships and job placements.


[1]  Collins, Jim. (2004). Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. 10th edn. New York: HarperCollins.

[2]Is America Overworked? At:http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/july-dec99/overwork_9-6.html (Accessed: September 24).

[3]Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct. At:http://www.deloitte.com/dtt/cda/doc/content/dttllp_ext_1%282%29.pdf (Accessed: September 23).

[4]20 Reasons to Volunteer. http://www.volunteermatch.org/volunteers/resources/tipstricks.jsp (Accessed: September 24).

[5]Deloitte member firms celebrate community involvement worldwide on annual Impact Day At: http://www.deloitte.com/dtt/press_release/0,1014,sid%253D1017%2526cid%253D121292,00.html (accessed: September 24).

[6] Kouzes, James M. & Posner, Barry Z. (2003) The Leadership Challenge. 3rd edn. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

[8] Lencioni, Patrick M., “Make Your Values Mean Something.” HBR. 2002.

[9] Kouzes, James M. & Posner, Barry Z. (2003) The Leadership Challenge. 3rd edn. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.



Health, safety, and well-being (HSW) at work represent important values in themselves. It seems, however, that other values can contribute to HSW. This is to some extent reflected in the scientific literature in the attention paid to values like trust or justice. However, an overview of what values are important for HSW was not available. Our central research question was: what organizational values are supportive of health, safety, and well-being at work?


The literature was explored via the snowball approach to identify values and value-laden factors that support HSW. Twenty-nine factors were identified as relevant, including synonyms. In the next step, these were clustered around seven core values. Finally, these core values were structured into three main clusters.


The first value cluster is characterized by a positive attitude toward people and their “being”; it comprises the core values of interconnectedness, participation, and trust. The second value cluster is relevant for the organizational and individual “doing”, for actions planned or undertaken, and comprises justice and responsibility. The third value cluster is relevant for “becoming” and is characterized by the alignment of personal and organizational development; it comprises the values of growth and resilience.


The three clusters of core values identified can be regarded as “basic value assumptions” that underlie both organizational culture and prevention culture. The core values identified form a natural and perhaps necessary aspect of a prevention culture, complementary to the focus on rational and informed behavior when dealing with HSW risks.

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