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Title: Dealing with the tensions and dilemmas of management : a value conflicts perspective
Author: Lee, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 4926
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2015
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Dealing with competing demands and expectations is an essential feature of management work. Positioned between reportees and senior leaders, managers hold multiple accountabilities and allegiances; responding to day-to-day dilemmas is likely to call personal values and priorities into question. This thesis conceives such dilemmas as value conflicts, arising when managers’ values and priorities are at odds with the values and expectations of the organisation and others. The research explores four key questions: What types of value conflict do managers encounter? How do they respond? How do personal values, role-related factors and the organisational context shape their responses? What are the implications of the conflicts and responses for managers and the organisation? Adopting a critical realist paradigm and a multiple case study methodology, the research seeks to understand and explain interpreted events within the socio-structural context of the organisation and the management role. Critical incident technique was used to gather value conflict accounts from managers in four private-sector organisations. Empirically-based findings derive explanatory support from theory on personal values (Schwartz, 1992), cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957) and self-determination of behaviour (Deci and Ryan, 1995). The thesis presents four main findings. First, it identifies the sources of value conflict and a values-based typology of responses. Second, it demonstrates managers’ use of multiple, different bases of legitimacy to justify their responses: self, others, role, and censure/sanction avoidance. Third, it relates personal and organisational outcomes to response-justification patterns. Finally, through analysis of personal values, role expectations and the organisational context, it uncovers the complex interplay of factors underlying managers’ responses. The research contributes new, explanatory insights by applying a value conflicts perspective to management tensions and dilemmas, with implications for leadership and management practice. Furthermore, it uncovers a neglected aspect of management work in values-led organisations: dealing with mismatches between espoused and enacted organisational values. The thesis contributes a viable analytic approach to qualitative values scholarship, and suggests fruitful avenues for future research.
Supervisor: Higgs, Malcolm Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD28 Management. Industrial Management