28 April 2014

Do staff values match up to corporate ideals? Research partnership set to find out

Staff values will be analysed through new tool being developed by partnership between University of Essex and Glowinkowski International

How can business leaders find out if staff really do share the values of their companies?

What is the best way of fostering a company ethos into which colleagues truly buy-in?

The University of Essex and Glowinkowski International are working together to develop and test a new tool which will analyse staff attitudes to see how closely their values match the overall corporate view.

The 30-month project is part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). KTPs help businesses to improve their competitiveness by working with universities to obtain knowledge, technology or skills which they consider to be of strategic competitive importance. The UK-wide programme is overseen by the Technology Strategy Board.

Kali Demes, who has just completed her PhD in the Department of Psychology at Essex, is now working at Glowinkowski International as a KTP Associate overseen by Todd Landman, Professor of Government and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Essex.

Others within the project team are Dr Dorothea Farquhar, who received her PhD in Government at the University of Essex and now works at Glowinkowski International, and Steffen Boehm, Professor of Management and Director of Essex Sustainability Institute.

Professor Landman said: “We want to develop a tool which can measure value commitments of staff at an individual level and at group level across different teams while also looking at whether staff feel certain values are important to their company.

“There is increasing global demand for greater accountability of multinationals and other private sector organisations in everything from their supply chain management to their human rights obligations and environmental responsibility.

“Our tool will be able to measure the gap between personal values of employees and the values espoused by the company.

“This will be academically grounded, scientifically rigorous, piloted and then made available to companies in the UK and other countries. I am very optimistic about what we can achieve.”

Initial research will concentrate on the concepts of individual and corporate values and the best ways to analyse and measure them using psychometric testing. The project will also look at FTSE 100 companies, how they describe themselves and the value claims they make to customers and stakeholders and their positions on issues such as the environment and Corporate Social Responsibility.

The tool will then be tested on up to 1,500 employees at a national company, with tests being carried out both before and after staff workshops.

Eventually the team will aim to train and accredit consultants who can then work with companies around the world.

Glowinkowski International has more than 20 years of experience in using carefully researched tools to enhance business performance through leadership development and behaviour coaching.

Professor Landman added: “There is a natural business model and potential for growth built into the product. This is a really good example of how you can commercialise academic research in the social sciences and psychology around norms and values. It is an interesting and progressive concept, but one that is grounded in well-established social scientific and psychological methods of measurement.”

Ends

Notes to editors

For more information contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 874377 or email: comms@essex.ac.uk

The University of Essex is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014 and has established a global reputation for pioneering research which helps change lives. Ranked ninth among UK universities for research quality, and top for social science, we are an international community for original thinkers. Rated second in the UK for student satisfaction, we provide a research-led education which equips our students with the curiosity and capability for personal and professional success.

KTP or Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is Europe's leading programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness by enabling companies to work with higher education or research and technology organisations to obtain knowledge, technology or skills which they consider to be of strategic competitive importance. The UK-wide programme is overseen by the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency, and supported by 16 other public sector funding organisations.

KTPs at Essex - For further information about KTPs with the University of Essex please email: partners@essex.ac.uk.

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