Value system in management

Value system in management

"Decisions, which bring benefit to the self and others can only be taken when mediated by a clear conscience and by a consciousness imbued with self-respect and spiritual energy." - Brahma Kumaris

The main concern facing policymakers in the present century is the management of the planet. Until now, policies have focused on local and regional interests. For the first time, the turbulent and dramatic changes sweeping the world are forcing new decision-making structures to be introduced at a global level.

This article aims to shed some light on the relevance of the value system, and in particular the values of self-respect and respect for others, in shaping the process of change. Many decisions and actions concerning planet management result from the value systems of individuals and societies. Changes in these value systems sometimes even the lack of change–are the root cause of so many problems facing the world community today.

Value: A help or a hindrance in development?

What forms an individual or society values systems? A combination of thought processes, attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, motives, and conscience, what does a value system represent? It represents a statement of what an individual or society holds to be right and wrong.

From the perspective of psychological anthropology, the main difference between the social life of animals and that of human social order is also a moral order. Every society has standards of right. The moral order not only exists external to the individual in the form of socially sanctioned rules and regulations, but it also lies within the individual.

The internal moral order is mediated by individual conscience, which arises out of human capacity for self-judgement. Thus, a value-based judgement is self-awareness of internal thought processes, self-awareness implies self-respect and self-esteem.

When awareness is not internalised, or when it is misdirected self-respect manifests negativity as pride or ego. That is to say self-awareness is consciousness.

Strategists failed to consider the psychological consequences such a programme would have. Perhaps they also did not realise how difficult it is to change deep-rooted values, which espouse the importance of large families and a cultural bias towards male children. In many societies, creating a large progeny guarantees a good standing in the community and helps to safeguard one’s self-respect.

In a global scale, one can perceive the enormous repercussions of decisions taken by policymakers who ignore the role of value systems in influencing or hampering change. Plans, which do not include insight into their possible effect on the psychology of people are rendered ineffective.

Policymakers must also be clear about their own motives in making decisions that change people’s lives. What are the guidelines for taking decisions which on the one hand promote development, and on the other hand, serve to erode cultural values? Maybe values now have to change radically so that all the world’s people can be accommodated within the emerging global order.

Self-respect: A key value for the future

Self-respect or self-esteem, as was discussed previously, arises out of a state of self-awareness. It is in fact, a pure expression of human consciousness when there is total contentment and feeling of fullness or fulfilment within.

In such a state, the internal self-called human psyche or ‘soul’ is infused with a high level of spiritual power or energy. This energy upholds an elevated thinking process, keeping the conscience clear so that actions are motivated in the right way.

When awareness of the internal self is forgotten, or when consciousness is misdirected, self-respect turns to pride, ego, or anger, spiritual energy drains away, and changes from positive to negative. To make up for the deficiency, the internal self seeks to replenish itself through external means, which may not always lead to the overall well-being of the individual or society.

The wide range of social pathologies afflicting society, such as crime, drugs, violence, etc. are considered deviations from normative behaviour. They contravene the accepted standards of the social and moral order.

Some of the latest research reveals the root cause of these problems to be a lack of self-esteem and an inability to take responsibility. People also lose confidence and a belief in themselves when they live in a society that no longer accords true respect to the individual. Society often ignores peoples’ mental and spiritual needs in favour of their physical ones.

Human beings will always act in ways to preserve their self-respect, even if it means using ego defence mechanisms.

Low self-esteem leads to low motivation and inhibits the capacity of people to care for themselves. Hence, a growing number of people in society no longer have sufficient energy, power, or means to be self-reliant (mentally or physically), and have come to rely on state provision.

By the same token, a social order, which does not accord proper respect to the dignity of all people leads to the marginalisation of the poor within the development world and the marginalisation of the poor nations within the global order. Discrimination and poverty go hand in hand. So does a lack of self-respect and lack of respect for others.

Human beings will always act in ways to preserve their self-respect, even if it means using ego defence mechanisms. When self-respect is intact, there is no need to guard it; this positive state of awareness exists naturally.

Self-respect/ self-esteem is the next motivating force. Meeting physical needs could then be viewed as part and parcel of meeting self-esteem needs. A person who is without food and shelter will find it difficult to maintain self-respect. However, even, if physical needs are met, something more is required to satisfy self-esteem needs.

Ultimately, when the individual is satisfied in mind, self-respect exists naturally. When there is dissatisfaction or disturbance in the mind, due to lack of self-realisation, self-respect is lost. The ego defence mechanism preserves the loss of self-respect. Actions are then motivated not by self-esteem, but by negative personality traits such as greed aggression and ego.

When one’s own self-respect is intact, it possible to maintain respect for others. Infringements on the rights of others come about when human beings use ego to guard their own respect and make themselves feel better by dominating others and suppressing their opinions.

These behaviours patterns are also transferable onto the macro-level. Weapons are the ultimate symbol of the ego defence mechanism. Wars are waged in the name of national security, but are often aggressive attempts, to dominate or suppress others because of political, religious, or ideological beliefs.


We have attempted to demonstrate the impact of negative and positive value systems in shaping change. Value systems propelled by greed, or fear, or insecurity, promote consumer-oriented and aggressive societies which exploit the environment and sanction, poverty and war.

Some traditional value systems encourage, albeit unwittingly, population growth and prohibit modernisation. At the heart of a positive value system lies the individual capacity for self-awareness and self-judgement. Decisions, which bring benefit to the self and others can only be taken when mediated by a clear conscience and by a consciousness imbued with self-respect and spiritual energy.

The ultimate goal of development is to enhance the quality of peoples’ lives within the framework of sustainable development. This will only be achieved when the inner development and well-being of an individual are accorded its proper place alongside meeting the material needs of all the world’s people.




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