1st Edition

Giving Voice to Values-based Leadership How to Develop Good Organizations Through Work on Values

By Gry Espedal, Frank Elter Copyright 2024
    174 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    174 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The complexity facing today’s organizations calls for a rethinking of leadership. The world is facing grand challenges for people and the planet. Leaders and employees bear the responsibility of formulating strategies grounded in strong values. These strategies aim to foster the growth of sustainable organizations and promote ethical work practices. This book gives voice to values-based leadership and provides a method for leaders to develop a values-based organizational culture.

    Values play a role on many levels in how we work as individual leaders, in teams, and in organizations and in how organizations approach societal challenges. Values can be a compass or orientation point, giving direction for decisions and actions. Awareness of values can make organizational responsibilities clearer and give a sense of meaning to work and help leaders to create organizations where corporate, moral, and social values are embedded at every level. This book gives insight into a Scandinavian values-based leadership model built on the institutional leadership tradition. It provides processes and practices that leaders can use to develop organizations where values are continuously nurtured. The book provides practical ideas of how leaders can work on becoming conscious of both the organization’s explicit and implicit values, as well as working on the direction of the organization and its broader organizational culture.

    This book will be an invaluable resource for both practitioners and graduate students interested in leadership and organizational development.

    1. Introduction—Giving voice to values-based leadership  2. What are values really?  3. Who are values-based leaders?  4. Values work in practice  5. Developing a values-based organizational culture  6. A values perspective on sustainability  7. Values and emotions  8. Crises and ethical dilemmas  9. Epilogue


    Gry Espedal is an associate professor at VID Specialized University, Norway. Espedal is the head of the Department of Values-Based Leadership and the Centre of Values-Based Innovation. Espedal has done extensive research on values and is an internationally published author, including articles in leading international journals and books with international publishers.

    Frank Elter is an adjunct associate professor at the Norwegian School of Economics, where he teaches at executive programs. He is a full-time director and researcher of strategy and organization in Telenor R&I and an advisor to executives.

    “As the need for values-based leadership grows more urgent, Espedal & Elter's book is a must-read for any leader looking to build an organization based on strong values. By connecting business and non-profit challenges, they demonstrate a compelling and practical way to implement value-conscious leadership. This book is a valuable contribution to the Scandinavian tradition of values-based leadership.”

    Professor and Director Harald Askeland, VID Specialized University & KA Church Employers Association, Norway

    “In their book, Espedal and Elter provide a compelling contribution to the Giving Voice to Values book series. They offer practical advice on how leaders can work on values related to sustainability issues, cultural change, and crises. The authors remind us that paying attention to values is essential in such situations.”

    Professor Mary C. Gentile, PhD, Creator/Director of Giving Voice to Values (GVV), and an independent consultant on management education and leadership development, United States

    “Espedal and Elter's book, Giving Voice to Values-Based Leadership, is a significant contribution to our understanding of values in practice. The authors remind us that working on people's values in organizations brings organizational identity closer to people and sets a direction for what we are and want to become.”

    Professor Arild Wæraas, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway

    “As organizations undergo radical transformation in response to an ever-shifting and turbulent world, values-based leadership is essential for long-term success. Espedal and Elter's text is a must-read for any leader looking to build an organizational culture that is based on strong values. By connecting business and non-profit challenges, they provide a clear and hands-on view of what values-based leadership means and a compelling and practical way to getting it to work in practice.”

    Professor Paul Gooderham, NHH Norwegian School of Economics, Norway & Middlesex University, United Kingdom

    “In this thoughtful and well-written book, Espedal and Elter raise important questions about how to develop and understand values in complex organizational settings. Their book challenges the notion that institutional leaders can promote and protect institutional values by engaging in a relational and dialogical process with their followers. The need to better understand how institutional leaders identify and interpret values in practice is of utmost importance in a context in which we assist, on a daily basis, to the apparent erosion of institutions. There is a growing need to better understand institutions, the values that underpin them and what constitutes institutional leadership. Espedal and Elter’s book is an important step forward in this discussion.”

    José Bento da Silva, Associate Professor at Warwick Business School, United Kingdom