Understanding Values Diversity within the Organisation: A Case Study in UK Construction

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In recent years, the increasing diversity of the workforce necessitates a better understanding of individual and team differences in the organisation, as well as how such differences affect the organization’s functioning. Research examining diversity within the organization has frequently studied the surface-level, i.e. demographic diversity among workforce. However, the deep-level, i.e. values diversity, is claimed to have steadily stronger consequences for organisation, and is therefore of greater importance and requires more attention. However, understanding employees’ values difference within the organisation is not an easy task, exacerbated by the dearth of literature offering practical guidance. The case study presented has been conducted in a UK construction company using Schwartz’s theoretical framework of human values as a framing device. Employees’ values profiles were collected and analysed through an organisational-wide survey. The process helped identify shared organisational values, and highlighted the diversity between various sub-groups. Making the divergence of values explicit also facilitated the identification of areas of mutual understanding. It is argued that values diversity should be encouraged and respected on the basis that it does not conflict with the shared organisational values. Understanding values diversity within the organisation could enable the heterogeneous workforce to work together more harmoniously toward their common goals, maximise the contribution of each member, and ensure fair treatment for all irrespective of background. In addition, it has been made clear that Schwartz’s circumplex model of values and associated survey instrument are helpful framing devices to reveal values diversity and facilitate values communication within the organization.


Keywords: Case Study, Construction, Diversity, Organisation, Survey, Values
Stream: Organisations
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Understanding Values Diversity within the Organisation


Xiaoxing Zhang

Research Engineer, EngD Candidate, Currie & Brown, Loughborough University
Birmingham, West Midlands, UK


Prof. Simon Austin

Professor, Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University
Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK


Dr. Jacqueline Glass

Lecturer, Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University
Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK


Ref: D08P0426