Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 114, Issue 3, pp 393–408

For All Good Reasons: Role of Values in Organizational Sustainability

Article

Abstract

Management practices are at the heart of most organizations’ sustainability efforts. Despite the importance of values for the design and implementation of such practices, few researchers have analyzed how human values, particularly ethical values, relate to human resource management practices in organizations. The purpose of this conceptual paper is to integrate scholarship on organizational sustainability, human resource practices, and values in delineating how four specific values—altruism, empathy, positive norm of reciprocity, and private self-effacement—support effective human resource practices in organizations. This set of distinct values has sustainability implications, global relevance, and ethical significance. Propositions that indicate relationships among these values, human resource practices, and organizational sustainability, as well as the effects of the resource-based view to potentiate these relationships, are developed. This analysis suggests that ethical and multicultural values are important for planning and implementing effective management practices and organizational sustainability.

Keywords

Altruism Culture-free personal values Empathy High-performance human resource management practices Organizational sustainability Positive norm of reciprocity Private self-effacement Resource-based view 

References

  1. Agle, B. R., & Caldwell, C. B. (1999). Understanding research on values in business. Business and Society, 38, 326–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Akaah, I. P., & Lund, D. (1994). The influence of personal and organizational values on marketing professionals’ ethical behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 13, 417–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allen, T. D. (2003). Mentoring others: A dispositional and motivational approach. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 62, 134–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Antonioni, D. (1994). The effects of feedback accountability on upward appraisal ratings. Personnel Psychology, 47, 349–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Argyris, C. (1960). Understanding organizational behavior. Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press.Google Scholar
  6. Arjoon, S. (2006). Striking a balance between rules and principles-based approaches for effective governance: A risks-based approach. Journal of Business Ethics, 68, 53–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Arthur, J. B. (1994). Effects of human resource systems on manufacturing performance and turnover. Academy of Management Journal, 37, 670–687.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Aryee, S., Chay, Y. W., & Chew, J. (1996). The motivation to mentor among managerial employees. Group & Organization Management, 21(3), 261–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Asendorpf, J. B., & Ostendorf, F. (1998). Is self-enhancement healthy? Conceptual, psychometric, and empirical analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 955–966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Avolio, B. J. (1994). The alliance of total quality and the full range of leadership. In B. M. Bass & B. J. Avolio (Eds.), Improving organizational effectiveness through transformational leadership (pp. 121–145). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Baltes, B. B., Briggs, T. E., Huff, J. W., Wright, J. A., & Neuman, G. A. (1999). Flexible and compressed workweek schedules: A meta-analysis of their effects on work-related criteria. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, 496–513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bamberger, P., & Meshoulam, I. (2000). Human resource strategy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  13. Barney, J. B. (1986). Strategic factor markets: Expectations, luck, and business strategy. Management Science, 32, 1231–1241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Barney, J. B. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17, 99–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Barney, J. B., & Wright, P. M. (1998). On becoming a strategic partner: The role of human resources in gaining competitive advantage. Human Resource Management, 37, 31–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Batson, C. D., Sager, K., Garst, E., Gank, M., Rubchinsky, K., & Dawson, K. (1997). Is empathy-induced helping due to self-other merging? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 495–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Becker, B. E., & Huselid, M. A. (1998). High performance work systems and firm performance: A synthesis of research and managerial implications. In G. R. Ferris (Ed.), Research in personnel and human resource management (Vol. 16, pp. 53–101). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  18. Becker, T., & Klimoski, R. (1989). A field study of the relationship between the organizational feedback environment and performance. Personnel Psychology, 42, 343–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Blau, P. M. (1964). Exchange and power in social life. New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
  20. Blau, P. M. (1977). Inequality and heterogeneity: A primitive theory of social structure. New York, NY: Free Press.Google Scholar
  21. Bowen, D. E., & Ostroff, C. (2004). Understanding HRM-firm performance linkages: The role of the ‘strength’ of the HRM system. Academy of Management Review, 29, 203–221.Google Scholar
  22. Brett, J. M., Shapiro, D. L., & Lytle, A. L. (1998). Breaking the bonds of reciprocity in negotiations. Academy of Management Journal, 41, 410–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Brislin, R. W. (1983). Cross-cultural research in psychology. Annual Review of Psychology, 34, 363–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Cai, H., Sedikides, C., Gaertner, L., Wang, C., Carvallo, M., Xu, Y., et al. (2011). Tactical self-enhancement in China: Is modesty at the service of self-enhancement in East Asian culture? Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 59–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Choi, S., & Ng, A. (2011). Environmental and economic dimensions of sustainability and price effects on consumer responses. Journal of Business Ethics, 104(2), 269–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Cialdini, R. B., Brown, S. L., Lewis, B. P., Luce, C., & Neuberg, S. L. (1997). Reinterpreting the empathy-altruism relationship: When one into one equals oneness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 481–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Cohen, E. (2010). CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices. Sheffield, UK: Greenleaf Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
  28. Collins, C. J., & Clark, K. D. (2003). Strategic human resource management practices, top management team social networks, and firm performance: The role of human resource practices in creating organizational competitive advantage. Academy of Management Journal, 46, 740–751.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Combs, J., Liu, Y., Hall, A., & Ketchen, D. (2006). How much do high-performance work practices matter? A meta-analysis of their effects on organizational performance. Personnel Psychology, 59, 501–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Connor, P. E., & Becker, B. W. (1975). Values and the organization: Suggestions for research. Academy of Management Journal, 18, 550–561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Coyle-Shaprio, J., & Kessler, I. (2000). Consequences of the psychological contract for the employment relationship: A large scale survey. Journal of Management Studies, 37, 903–930.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. de Tocqueville, A. (1969). Democracy in America (J. P. Mayer Ed., G. Lawrence, Trans.). Garden City, NY: Anchor Books. (original work published 1835).Google Scholar
  33. Deckop, J. R., Cirka, C. C., & Andersson, L. M. (2003). Doing unto others: The reciprocity of helping behavior in organizations. Journal of Business Ethics, 47(2), 101–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Delery, J. E., & Doty, D. H. (1996). Modes of theorizing in strategic human resource management: Tests of universalistic, contingency, and configurational performance predictions. Academy of Management Journal, 39, 802–835.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Dillard, J., Dujon, V., & King, M. C. (2009). Understanding the social dimension of sustainability. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Dougherty, T. W., Cheung, Y. H., & Florea, L. (2008). The role of personality in employee developmental networks. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23, 653–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Eby, L. T., Casper, W. J., Lockwood, A., Bordeaux, C., & Brinley, A. (2005). Work and family research in IO/OB: Content analysis and review of the literature (1980–2002). Journal of Vocational Behavior, 66, 124–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Eisenberger, R., Armeli, S., Rexwinkel, B., Lynch, P. D., & Rhoades, L. (2001). Reciprocation of perceived organizational support. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 42–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Falk, A., & Fischbacher, U. (2006). A theory of reciprocity. Games and Economic Behavior, 54(2), 293–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Fritzsche, D., & Oz, E. (2007). Personal values’ influence on the ethical dimension of decision making. Journal of Business Ethics, 75, 335–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Godshalk, V. M., & Sosik, J. J. (2000). Does mentor-protégé agreement on mentor leadership behavior influence the quality of a mentoring relationship? Group & Organization Management, 25(3), 291–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Gong, Y., Law, K. S., Chang, S., & Xin, K. R. (2009). Human resource management and firm performance: The differential role of managerial affective and continuance commitment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(1), 263–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Goodman, S. A., & Svyantek, D. J. (1999). Person-organization fit and contextual performance: Do shared values matter? Journal of Vocational Behavior, 55, 254–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Gouldner, A. W. (1960). The norm of reciprocity: A preliminary statement. American Sociological Review, 25(2), 161–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Greenfield, W. (2004). Attention to people and principles is key to corporate governance and ethics. Employment Relations Today, 30(4), 6–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Gregg, A. P., Hart, C. M., Sedikides, C., & Kumashiro, M. (2008). Everyday conceptions of modesty: A prototype analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 978–992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Grover, S. L., & Crooker, K. J. (1995). Who appreciates family responsive human resource policies: The impact of family-friendly policies on the organizational attachment of parents and non-parents. Personnel Psychology, 48, 271–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Guest, D. E. (2011). Human resource management and performance: Still searching for some answers. Human Resource Management Journal, 21, 3–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Harris, J. R. (1990). Ethical values of individuals at different levels in the organizational hierarchy of a single firm. Journal of Business Ethics, 9, 741–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Hart, S. L., & London, T. (2005). Developing native capability: What multinational corporations can learn from the base of the pyramid. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 3, 28–33.Google Scholar
  51. Hart, S. L., & Milstein, M. B. (2003). Creating sustainable value. Academy of Management Executive, 17, 56–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Hemingway, C. A., & Maclagan, P. W. (2004). Managers’ personal values as drivers of corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 50, 33–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Higgins, M. C., & Kram, K. E. (2001). Reconceptualizing mentoring at work: A developmental network perspective. Academy of Management Review, 26, 264–288.Google Scholar
  54. Hill, E. J., Hawkins, A. J., Ferris, M., & Weltzman, M. (2001). Finding an extra day a week: The positive influence of perceived job flexibility on work and family life balance. Family Relations, 50, 49–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Hofstede, G. (1984). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  56. Huselid, M. A. (1995). The impact of human resource management practices on turnover, productivity, and corporate financial performance. Academy of Management Journal, 38, 635–672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Lado, A. A., & Wilson, M. C. (1994). Human resource systems and sustained competitive advantage: A competency-based perspective. Academy of Management Review, 19, 699–727.Google Scholar
  58. Lambrechts, F. J., Bouwen, R., Grieten, S., Hybrechts, J., & Schein, E. H. (2011). Learning to help through humble inquiry and implications for management research, practice, and education: An interview with Edgar H. Schein. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 10, 131–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Lawler, E. E. (2004). The journey to authenticity. Leader to Leader, 32, 29–35.Google Scholar
  60. Lawler, E. E., Mohrman, S. A., & Ledford, G. E. (1995). Creating high performance organizations: Practices and results of employee involvement and quality management in Fortune 1000 companies. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  61. Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Emotion and adaptation. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  62. Lepak, D. P., Taylor, M. S., Tekleab, A., Marrone, J. A., & Cohen, D. J. (2007). An examination of the use of high-investment human resource systems for core and support employees. Human Resource Management, 46, 223–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Levinson, H., Price, C. R., Munden, K. J., Mandl, H. J., & Solley, C. M. (1962). Men, management, and mental health. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Miller, D. T. (1999). The norm of self-interest. American Psychologist, 54, 1053–1060.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ng, E. S., & Burke, R. J. (2010). Predictor of business students’ attitudes toward sustainable business practices. Journal of Business Ethics, 95, 603–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Noe, R. A. (1986). Trainees’ attributes and attitudes: Neglected influences on training effectiveness. Academy of Management Review, 11, 736–749.Google Scholar
  67. O’Neill, O. A., Feldman, D. C., Vendenberg, R. J., Dejoy, D. M., & Wilson, M. G. (2011). Organizational achievement values, high-involvement work practices, and business unit performance. Human Resource Management, 50, 541–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Organ, D. W. (1988). Organizational citizenship behavior: The good soldier syndrome. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  69. Payne, S. C., & Huffman, A. H. (2005). A longitudinal examination of the influence of mentoring on organizational commitment and turnover. Journal of Management, 48, 158–168.Google Scholar
  70. Perry-Smith, J. E., & Blum, T. C. (2000). Work-family human resource bundles and perceived organizational performance. Academy of Management Journal, 43(6), 1107–1117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Perugini, M., Gallucci, M., Presaghi, F., & Ercolani, A. P. (2003). The personal norm of reciprocity. European Journal of Personality, 17, 251–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Pfeffer, J. (2010). Building sustainable organizations: The human factor. Academy of Management Perspectives, 24(1), 34–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Pfeffer, J., & Veiga, J. F. (1999). Putting people first for organizational success. Academy of Management Executive, 13(2), 37–48.Google Scholar
  74. Rhoades, L., & Eisenberger, R. (2002). Perceived organizational support: A review of the literature. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(4), 698–714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Roehling, M. V. (1997). The origins and early development of the psychological contract construct. Journal of Management History, 3, 204–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Rokeach, M. (1973). The nature of human values. New York, NY: Free Press.Google Scholar
  77. Rokeach, M. (1979a). Introduction. In M. Rokeach (Ed.), Understanding human values (pp. 1–11). New York, NY: Free Press.Google Scholar
  78. Rokeach, M. (1979b). From individual to institutional values: With special reference to the values of science. In M. Rokeach (Ed.), Understanding human values (pp. 47–70). New York, NY: Free Press.Google Scholar
  79. Rothwell, W. J. (2010). Effective succession planning: Ensuring leadership continuity and building talent from within (4th ed.). New York, NY: AMACOM.Google Scholar
  80. Rousseau, D. M. (2001). Schema, promise and mutuality: The building blocks of the psychological contract. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 74, 511–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Rousseau, D. M., Ho, V. T., & Greenberg, J. (2006). I-Deals: Idiosyncratic terms in employment relationships. Academy of Management Review, 31, 977–994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Sagiv, L., & Schwartz, S. H. (2007). Cultural values in organizations: Insights for Europe. European Journal of Management, 1(3), 176–190.Google Scholar
  83. Schein, E. H. (1980). Organizational psychology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  84. Schein, E. H. (2009). Helping: How to offer, give, and receive help. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.Google Scholar
  85. Schramm, J. (2011). Promoting sustainability. HR Magazine, 56(3), 88.Google Scholar
  86. Schwartz, S. H. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 25, pp. 1–65). New York, NY: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  87. Seibert, S. E., Kraimer, M. L., & Liden, R. C. (2001). A social capital theory of career success. Academy of Management Journal, 44(2), 219–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Shafer, W. E., Fukukawa, K., & Lee, G. M. (2006). Values and the perceived importance of ethics and social responsibility: The U.S. versus China. Journal of Business Ethics, 70, 265–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Steurer, R., Langer, M. E., Konrad, A., & Martinuzzi, A. (2005). Corporations, stakeholders and sustainable development: A theoretical exploration of business-society relations. Journal of Business Ethics, 61(3), 263–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Stevens, B. (2008). Corporate ethical codes: Effective instruments for influencing behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 78, 601–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Stone, D. L., Stone-Romero, E. F., & Lukaszewski, K. M. (2007). The impact of cultural values on the acceptance and effectiveness of human resource management policies and practices. Human Resource Management Review, 17, 152–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Sun, L. Y., Aryee, S., & Law, K. S. (2007). High-performance human resource practices, citizenship behavior, and organizational performance: A relational perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 50(3), 558–577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Trevino, L., & Brown, M. (2004). Managing to be ethical: Debunking five business ethics myths. Academy of Management Executive, 18(2), 69–81.Google Scholar
  94. United Nations Documents. (1987). Report of the world commission on environment and development: Our common future. Retrieved April 22, 2012, from http://www.un-documents.net/ocf-02.htm#I.
  95. Valcour, M., Ollier-Malaterre, A., Matz-Costa, C., Pitt-Catsouphes, M., & Brown, M. (2011). Influence on employee perceptions of organizational work-life support: Signals and resources. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 79, 588–595.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. van Emmerik, I. J. H., Bakker, A. B., & Euwema, M. C. (2008). What happens after the developmental assessment center? Employees’ reactions to unfavorable performance feedback. Journal of Managerial Development, 27, 513–527.Google Scholar
  97. Way, S. A., & Johnson, D. E. (2005). Theorizing about the impact of strategic human resource management. Human Resource Management Review, 15(1), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Wilkinson, A., Hill, M., & Gollan, P. (2001). The sustainability debate. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 21(12), 1492–1502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Wright, P. M., Dunford, B. B., & Snell, S. A. (2001). Human resources and the resource-based view of the firm. Journal of Management, 27, 701–721.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Wright, P. M., Gardner, T. M., Moynihan, L. M., & Allen, M. R. (2005). The relationship between HR practices and firm performance: Examining causal order. Personnel Psychology, 58(2), 409–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Wright, P. M., & McMahan, G. C. (2011). Exploring human capital: Putting ‘Human’ back into strategic human resource management. Human Resource Management Journal, 21(2), 93–104.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Business, Washburn UniversityTopekaUSA
  2. 2.Department of ManagementSchool of Business, Hong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloonHong Kong
  3. 3.School of Business Administration, South China University of TechnologyGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations