Conference article

Achieving Shared Values

Maria Eriksson
Mid Sweden University

Pernilla Ingelsson
Mid Sweden University

Johan Lilja
Mid Sweden University

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Published in: 10th QMOD Conference. Quality Management and Organiqatinal Development. Our Dreams of Excellence; 18-20 June; 2007 in Helsingborg; Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 26:83, p.

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Published: 2008-02-15


ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


The need to achieve a strong corporate culture is one of the key questions within Total Quality Management (TQM). TQM is generally considered to be based on a number of core values; such as customer focus; decisions based on facts; process orientation; continuous improvement; everybody’s commitment and leadership; (Hellsten& Klefsjö; 2000). The core values should ideally be conformed to by all employees within a TQM organization; (ibid). Achieving these core values seems to be rewarding. Many companies that have succeeded in adapting their core values have received quality awards; e.g. Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award and EFQM Excellence Model. These quality awards are based on values that are widely considered to be the building blocks of effective TQM implementation (Hendricks& Singhal; 1999). There are a lot of descriptions in literature about the importance of working with the ideas of TQM such as putting focus on the customer; establishing processes and also about educating the employees in using tools of improvement; but very little focus on discussing how shared values really are achieved.

A common set of values within an organization is often referred to as the company or corporate culture. A strong culture implies that there is uniformity among the employees regarding; for example values (Pinder 1998). In our literature studies we came across two interesting strategies that combined together provide a tactic for working with shared values to attain a strong corporate culture. According to Chatman (1989) the best way is an integration of the strategies of selection and socialization. That implies both considering values at the selection when the organization chooses its members; by recruiting an individual with the right values and later on by maintaining or reinforcing values by socialization which can be done by training; orientation and other methods. As regards working with achieving TQM values we mostly encountered the use of socialization and feel that there is a need for broader thinking by putting greater emphasis on the selection process when recruiting new members into the organization.

The purpose of this paper is to raise the discussion about how to achieve homogeneity of values; such as TQM values in order to be a successful organization. The presented theories are accompanied by an observation from the renowned Walt Disney World in Florida; providing an example of how they are working with the selection strategy.


Values; Total Quality Management; Socialization and Selection; Organizational Culture; Recruitment


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