Culture Change. The WeValue approach offers a novel, effective, efficient and most importantly, an engaging and inclusive way to support culture change in organisations through the articulation and conceptualisation of values. The approach can also be applied to organisational change, where a values-framework is developed as a mechanism to encourage and evaluate change from a values perspective.
Why change culture? Globalisation has led to the shrinking of the world through greater interconnectivity. In an ever changing, fast-paced world, organisations are faced with a range of external complexities which are often coupled with internal complexities, such as the varying beliefs, attitudes, customs and values of an organisation’s staff. Aligning these intrinsic components, from the staff and organisational perspectives, whilst adapting to the complex external challenges usually involves some form of behavior change, resulting in a shift in culture.
What is different about the WeValue approach? There are a number of people who facilitate discussions about values, missions and visions in organisations. However, much of these tend to leave discussions about values at the conceptual level, and when people talk about values in an abstract way, they often hold different detailed meanings in their head. This may lead to confusion, apparent hypocrisy or misalignment later on.
The WeValue approach helps participants to connect values to specific practices and behaviours within your organization. In doing so, you can develop a more detailed understanding of your shared values, identify where there are perhaps differences in perceptions (i.e. misalignment), and how you might be able to change current practices towards your desired ones.
The benefits of WeValue. Our research has highlighted that applying a WeValue values-based approach in an organisational setting can lead to several distinct benefits. Those relevant to culture change include values conceptualization, esteem-related outcomes, and values mainstreaming.
- Values conceptualization involves group members being able to clearly identify and state their values through the identification of values-based indicators; these specify what those values would look like when enacted. This can then help with the articulation of the organisation’s vision and mission statements. Groups often go forward with enhanced values literacy and a general understanding and acceptance of their organisational values.
- Increasing esteem among participants: The WeValue approach is participatory, engaging group members in co-creating shared visions of what they want to achieve. This can have a number of advantages, both in terms of the `product’ – the indicator set – and the transformative nature of the process itself. Our research has shown that the process can lead to increased self-esteem and self- awareness among those involved: participants develop an increased understanding of others and of the organisation as a whole.
- Values mainstreaming refers to internal transformation within the organisation, where values become explicitly used in different management contexts. By using the WeValue approach, we have observed that people are able to see things through a common ‘values’ lens, and thus use values more explicitly to guide strategic planning processes, training and internal communications, individual, or organizational performance assessment.
The WeValue approach is a tool that can be used, to help organisations navigate through the complex and challenging landscape of culture change.