The relationship between personal values, organizational formalization and employee work outcomes of compliance and innovation

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PurposeThis paper examines the interaction between personal values and the organizational context in influencing work behaviors. Specifically, it examines the relationships between two dimensions of personal values based on Schwartz’s value theory: self-direction and conformity, and two work behaviors: innovation and compliance.Design/methodology/approachSurvey data was collected from 187 employees in Australia. Multiple regression was used to test the hypotheses.FindingsThe results showed that organizational formalization moderated the relationship between self-direction values and innovative behaviors. As hypothesized, the positive effect of self-direction values on innovative behavior was strongest in less formalized organizations. We also found that conformity values predicted compliance behaviors, but no evidence of moderation by organizational formalization.Practical implicationsIt is important for organizations seeking particular work behaviors to ensure they are hiring employees with corresponding values and structuring the degree of formalization in the organization accordingly.Originality/valueThis research contributes to the interactionist perspective, demonstrating that formalization interacts with employee values to influence work behaviors. Further, we extend previous studies on self-direction values and creative behaviors by understanding how personal values impact innovative behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-287
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Manpower
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Compliance
  • Conformity
  • Creativity
  • Formalization
  • Innovation

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