Once values have been established, they can be transmitted by narrative. In this area, conventional management techniques are useless, if not counterproductive:

  • Giving people instructions to be ethical or putting up posters with lists of values just doesn't register.

  • Talking about sanctions for wrongdoing gets people's backs up.

  • Issuing corporate value statements that require ethical behavior from employees and loyalty to the firm but offer no reciprocal commitment from the firm to the employees typically elicits cynicism.

In fact, transmitting values is one of the trickier management challenges. That's because it's easy to slip into moralizing and dictating behavior. We've all had the experience of a ...

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