Journal of Business Ethics

, 103:127

First online:

Business and Government Ethics in the “New” and “Old” EU: An Empirical Account of Public–Private Value Congruence in Slovenia and the Netherlands

  • Dejan JelovacAffiliated withDepartment of Business Ethics and Organizational Culture and Development, Gea College of Entrepreneurship Email author 
  • , Zeger van der WalAffiliated withDepartment of Governance Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, VU University
  • , Ana JelovacAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin & St. Patrick’s University Hospital

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This study reports on the hierarchy of organizational values in public and private sector organizations in Slovenia and the Netherlands. We surveyed 400 managers in Slovenia and 382 in the Netherlands using an identical questionnaire on the importance of a selection of values in everyday decision making. In Slovenia, impartiality, incorruptibility, and transparency were rated significantly higher in the public sector, while profitability, obedience, and reliability were rated more important in business organizations. In contrast, in the Netherlands, 11 values differed significantly between the sectors. Thus, a greater value congruence exists between the sectors in Slovenia than in the Netherlands, with a larger “common core” of values in Slovenia (14) compared with the Netherlands (9), just as we hypothesized. Historical and cultural developments, such as the communist rule in Slovenia and the different influences of the Protestant work ethic in both countries, led to more similarities between business and government organizations in the “new” EU member state, Slovenia.


organizational values public sector private sector EU business ethics