Impact of Values and Attitudes on Behavior

Growth and Performance

Values are guiding principles for conduct and behavior, concept of what we identify with and stand for. If principles of behavior and conduct, then surely a causal relationship exists between values and behavior. But what exactly is the impact of values and attitudes on behavior?

Values Defined

basic convictions that, “a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or societally preferable.”

Robbins, S & Judge, T (2013) p 144

They further assert that values

“contain a judgmental element in that they carry an individual’s ideas of what is wrong, good or desirable.”

Robbins, S & Judge, T (2013) p 144

Values are established early in life through socialization from family and society. Values color perception and interpretation of the world, as well as the attitudes and behavioral responses.


Attitudes, on the other hand, are:

“evaluative statements, either favorable or unfavorable, about objects, people or events. They reflect how we feel about something.”

(Robbins, S & Judge, T 2013)

. Examples of personal and organizational values include, strong work ethic, responsibility, dependability, adaptability, honesty, integrity, professionalism, loyalty, ethical etc. Study findings that confirm similarity in values across employees in same occupations, same generational cohort and cultures. The similarities in values tended towards a strong correlation with behavioral patterns. (Robbins, S & Judge, T 2013). For example, baby boomer have attitudes of job commitment, job satisfaction, achievement, ambition, loyalty to career. These correspond with behavior of long tenure with one job or employer. The millennials on the other hand value, confidence, financial success, fame, and entrepreneurial. Their values correspond with attitudes of low job commitment, loyalty and behavior averse to long job or employer tenures.

Values, Attitudes and Behavior Examined

Stangor, C (2011) identifies the ABC of attitudes attributes as affect, cognition and behavior. Examining attitudes attributes helps show the causal link. For example, the attitude, “my job is dull” (cognitive) leads to “I don’t like my job because it is dull” (affective) leads to “I am going to look for a more interesting job” (behavioral). Further example, “Managers make us work harder for no extra pay” (cognition) leads to “I hate them for making us work harder for no extra pay” (affect) leads to “I will work commensurate with the pay I get and no more” (behavior). Thus, values influence attitudes which lead to negative or positive workplace behavior.

Values, Attitudes and Behavior: The Essential Link

McLeod, S (2018) suggests that attitudes leading to behavior occurs where attitude are strong and consistency principle present. The causal relationship model suggests cognition-attitude-behavior causation. Leon Festinger is cited by Robbins, S & Judge, T (2013) as arguing that people maintain congruence between attitude and behavior. When a mismatch happens (cognitive dissonance) either attitudes shifts to match behavior or behavior shift to match attitude.

The case of the impact of values, attitudes on behavior is worth exploring further. Especially in light of the connection of employee behavior on organizational growth and performance. Learn more with a business courses from our over 150 short courses and full certificate courses. Download brochure here

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