University of Southampton OCS (beta), School of Management PhD Conference 2011

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Holding the line? Exploring managers' responses to value conflicts at work
Sarah Lee

Building: Building 2
Room: Room 3043
Date: 2011-05-11 09:35 AM – 09:55 AM
Last modified: 2011-05-10


As agents of the organisation, managers are expected to embrace its values and foster them in others. The behaviour of line managers is increasingly recognised as crucial to the delivery of human resource management practices and sustained organisational performance. However, managers operate at the centre of a web of accountabilities and allegiances, and must reconcile the demands of the organization and others with personal values and priorities.

The presentation introduces qualitative case study research that explores managers’ responses to the tensions and dilemmas that arise in the course of their day to day work. Developing strategies to deal with these is an essential, often neglected facet of the management role. Moreover, a number of strands of literature indicate that the strategies adopted will have differing implications for the manager and the organisation. Drawing on the researcher’s theoretical framework and illustrative data from field interviews conducted in two private sector organisations, the presentation will suggest the potential impact of the research in relation to academic theory and management practice.


values; managers; conflict; cognitive dissonance; self-determination theory

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