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Stories, Games and Articles for EL, Issue -- Value Clarification
March 16, 2009

Value Clarification - An Exercise To Understand Organisational Values

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Value Clarification - An Exercise To Understand Organisational Values

Value Clarification Exercise

Most companies adhere to a set of values. Often only the top management has an understanding of these values and what they mean to the organisation.

Most employees are peremptorily told when they have compromised a value and are meted out the consequence of such an infraction. However, the same diligence is not applied to the top management. This results in manipulation and lack of transparency in the organisation.

Here's an exercise to ease this problem a little.

Form groups of five to eight members each. List down a set of values that are important for your organisation. Compare lists and come to an agreement on which values should be part of this list.

You'll probably come up with a list of 10 - 12 values. Now by itself this list is meaningless. It becomes meaningful for all the members of the organisation, if they can understand how the value manifests in the organisation, what does it look like when it is adhered to and what it looks like when it is not adhered to.

The aim of this activity is to develop a collection of values and its manifestations.

Give each group a value from THE list. The task for the group is to detail the following:

  • How does the value manifest itself in the organisation?
  • How does it look like when it is not adhered to?
  • What are the consequences of not adhering to the value?

One example is explained below as a sample. Use this sample to know what the outcome of this activity should look like.

Value: Punctuality/Timeliness


  • Punctuality in arriving and leaving the workplace
  • Planning and executing according to plan
  • Dialoguing ahead of time about deadlines that might have to be modified due to change in circumstance
  • Adhering to deadlines

When is the value compromised?:

  • When one is consistently late to office
  • When one is consistently late for meetings
  • When one does not plan and works to fill time, rather than finishing work and getting on with other aspects
  • When one turns in work late
  • When one turns in work which is ineffective

Consequence of not adhering to the value: This section has to be developed by the group in a consensus mode. A sample set of consequences are given below:

Calling Time Out and stepping aside to dialogue about the behaviour that does not meet the norms. The dialogue needs to end in:

  • Specifying the initiatives that will be taken to be punctual
  • Specifying the support that the organisation can provide to ensure that the employee is punctual
  • Specifying any structures/resources (both in-house and external) that will help the employee build skills needed for effectiveness / efficiency / planning / executing

Something similar needs to be developed for each of the values on the list. Having done that, the work can be neatly transcribed and distributed to the employees of the organisation

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Thank you

Thank you all for the enthusiastic response to the last issue. I hope you like this issue as much as I liked writing it.
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