Values and Decision Making

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Values and Decision Making

By | March 2006
Page 1 of 3
Stacy has been out of a job for 6 months, she is a divorced mother of three children, and times are tough. She has spent all her savings, and is now struggling to figure out where her next meal is coming from. She has no family to turn to, and is too embarrassed to go to her friends for help. While sitting on the bus stop bench on the way to the unemployment office, she notices a brown paper bag on the other end of the bench. She looks in and there are bundles of $100 bills; there must be $50,000 in there. That money would support her family for another year. What does she do? We may never face a decision this difficult in our lifetime. We do, however, face decisions every day that draw on the same set of values that one would use to make the decision described above. German general Guenther Blumentritt once said: Knowledge is important: efficiency even more so. But character and personality are the most important. Knowledge can easily fail and can, in fact, be the cause of failure. Not intelligence but character is the unfailing factor. Only character is reliable in tough situations, and . . . in combat (Roberts, 1994, 13). What this means to me is that one's character, the combination of one's core set of values and beliefs, is what he or she must rely on when making decisions. One can research a problem, consult past practices, and confer with experts, but the most important factor that goes into making decisions, both personally and professionally, is their core set of values. The three main sets of values that influence decision-making are personal, organizational, and cultural values. Your personal values are the ones that you have developed over the course of your life. Whether you value your commitment to hard work, dedication to your family, or your competitive nature, the values that you have shaped over your lifetime help make every important decision you make. When your boss asks for volunteers to work late to help finish a...