ORIENTATION: Fully entrenched and internalised organisational values have proved a
competitive advantage for many leading organisations. The benefits range from higher
profit margins to the improvement of employees’ commitment and ethical performance.
Nevertheless, the process of value shaping is often no more than a management goal. It is
rarely truly internalised by the whole organisation.
RESEARCH PURPOSE: This article presents an effort to describe a value internalisation effort
within a South African public service organisation as well as the results of a subsequent
evaluation to ascertain to what extent those efforts actually led to internalisation throughout
the organisation. A set of actions and practices were implemented within the public service
organisation; the intent was that they should enhance value internalisation in the organisation.
A long-term strategy of value internalisation was followed that focussed mainly on the clear
articulation and communication of the values through different communication mediums
and platforms, such as road shows and branded value material hand-outs, as well as through
extensive value internalisation training.
MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Documentation of value internalisation processes and its evaluation,
especially in South African public service organisations is extremely rare. To ensure that
public service organisations do not repeat the same mistakes in their value internalisation
practices and implementation processes, proper documentation of these processes in the
public and research domains are needed. The need for the evaluation of value internalisation
programmes should also be propagated as in many instances, programmes are implemented,
but the subsequent success thereof is never evaluated.
RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: A survey questionnaire consisting of a 5-point rating
scale was developed to measure the extent of value internalisation after the implementation of
long-term internalisation strategies. Employees at different levels and in different units of the
organisation participated in the survey.
MAIN FINDINGS: Results (N = 941) reflected lower than expected mean scores for each value
component. In addition, differences in internalisation extent were found between two
demographic variables, namely population groupings and organisational units.
PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The results of this study confirmed certain shortcomings
in value internalisation processes, such as the way values are identified, communicated and
reinforced. Knowledge of the latter may help human resource (HR) practitioners to apply
more effective value shaping practices.
CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This study provides specific guidelines that may enable practitioners
to evaluate their own value internalisation practices. These guidelines include creating
institutional value parity through employee engagement and encouraging leaders to facilitate
both the emotional and cognitive interface of value internalisation efforts. Furthermore all
leaders in the organisation should be exposed to training and development programmes that
address the importance of leaders’ own credibility in efforts to institutionalise values within
the organisation. The measurement instrument developed for this study may also provide HR
practitioners with a means to evaluate the extent of value internalisation in an organisation.