Topic: Organizational Values and Employee Performance

Author(s), Title and Publication

Fitzgerald, G. A., & Desjardins, N. M. (2004). Organizational Values and Their Relation to Organizational Performance Outcomes. Atlantic Journal of Communication, 12(3), 121-145.


Research has shown that many “best companies” adhere to core organizational values, and performance improves when the values are shared with employees. Today, most organizations possess value statements, but changing peoples’ behaviors requires more than producing lists of values. This research examined how an organization should communicate its values and incorporate them into its system. This case study analyzed the communication of organizational values and their relation to employee outcomes in the Respiratory Care Department (Group A) and the Radiology Department (Group B) within a health care organization. Group A discussed values regularly, identified behaviors supporting values, and used those behaviors in performance reviews. Group B simply distributed the values to employees without further clarification or discussion.

The 29 employees in Group A and 45 employees in Group B were then surveyed regarding nine organizational values (patient-centered care, continuous learning, community, communication, collaborative relationships, diversity, human resources, organizational ethics, and superior performance), and six employee outcomes (employee satisfaction, turnover rate, absenteeism, employee morale, involvement in decision making, and employee performance evaluations).

The study produced mixed findings. Employees who worked in a department (Group A) that had clearly defined and communicated the values perceive they are more involved in the organization and in the decision making process. However, the department that did not clearly communicate the values (Group B) was found to have a lower turnover rate and a higher percentage of employees with exemplary performance ratings. No significant differences were found between Group A and Group B in employee satisfaction, morale, or absenteeism. Though intriguing, the number of employees involved was small, and larger studies are needed.

Implications for Practice

An organization can benefit from: 1) integrating organizational values into every employee-related process, including hiring, performance reviews, and promotions and rewards; 2) frequently reminding employees that the values form the basis for decision-making, and 3) regularly promoting the values by maintaining actions that are consistent with them.

Location of Article

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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