Competing Values Leadership

Competing Values Leadership

Creating Value in Organizations

New Horizons in Management series

Kim S. Cameron, Robert E. Quinn, Jeff DeGraff and Anjan V. Thakor

Creating value in a firm is an enormously complex endeavor. Yet, despite its complexity, value creation is the objective of every enterprise, every worker, and every leader. The Competing Values Framework can help leaders understand more deeply and act more effectively. In the first book to comprehensively present this framework, the authors discuss its core elements and focus attention on rethinking the notion of value. They emphasize specific tools and techniques leaders can use to institute sustainable change.

Chapter 9: Conclusions About the Structure of Value

Kim S. Cameron, Robert E. Quinn, Jeff DeGraff and Anjan V. Thakor

Subjects: business and management, business leadership, international business


In this book we have explained the Competing Values Framework as a value creation tool. The framework was originally developed in the scholarly organizational studies literature as a way to evaluate organizational effectiveness, organization culture, and individual leadership behavior. We have significantly extended the implications of the framework, however, to encompass various forms of value creation in organizations. The key insight of the Competing Values Framework is that value creation requires recognizing the inherent tensions that exist in different forms of value creation, and that focusing too little or too much in a particular value creation quadrant will impede effective value creation. It is quite common, however, for organizations to fall into the trap of either focusing inadequately or excessively on one quadrant at the expense of other quadrants. As shown in Figure 9.1, this leads to predictable problems. Figure 9.1 suggests that an under-emphasis or ignoring any of the quadrants leads to disastrous consequences. On the other hand, an over-emphasis in any of the quadrants, especially at the exclusion of its opposite competing quadrant, also leads to negative outcomes. For example, ignoring relationships, human development, and teamwork in the Collaborate quadrant will lead, over time, to ‘slow death’(Quinn, 1996), or the loss of commitment, engagement, and energy in a system. Employees become unattached and uncaring, and the organization dwindles. However, it is also possible to go overboard in emphasizing the Collaborate quadrant by, for example, excessive discussion where no conclusions or actions result, unproductive...

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