Do the practices we adopt reflect the values we espouse?

Knowledge for action: A guide to overcoming barriers to organizational change

Knowledge for action: A guide to overcoming barriers to organizational change

Practice and Values

Our practices should reflect our values, but they are not, themselves, our values. The way we do things can change, indeed, they often have to change. Values, on the other hand, are closer to the head and heart and are less likely (but not impossible) to change.

“That’s just the way we do things here…”

If you’re going to hang on to something, hang on to a value over a practice. Your values guide how you approach a changing world and new ideas. The practices you adopt should embody the values you espouse. Appreciating the difference between values and practices can alleviate some of the fears associated with change; we are not giving up who we are, nor what is important to us when we shift our practice. Rather, we are exercising our values in a different, possibly more effective way.

 

Argyris, C. (1993). Knowledge for action: A guide to overcoming barriers to organizational change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

 

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