HRINZ Conference 2005 Working Through Values Working Through Values  

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Day One – Wednesday 14 September


F6 Corporate Values

Russell McMurray Dave George    

When Values Clash

Russell McMurray, Dave George, Cerno Limited

Modern HRM strategy – such as focusing on employee engagement and high involvement work practices – often assumes that building a commitment to the organisation is the key to maximising performance. While such strategies have had some success, they can fail when confronted with the headstrong professional – a person who often believes they have the right and the responsibility to make choices about what is done and how. In their passion for their work professionals can disregard the organisation's rules, over–emphasise personal standards, ignore budgets, and annoy managers and customers alike.

The issue is that, while choosing to work for your organisation, most professionals feel that their professional values and standards are more important than the goals and values of the organisation.

This session will explore research into professional values, highlighting case–studies from NZ organisations that show the extent to which employees have bought–in to their organisation's desired values and discuss whether strategies to work–with, rather than attempt to modify, the values of professionals have been more successful.

Participants will have the opportunity to evaluate the level of value–clash that exists in their own organisation and discuss potential strategies for creating alignment.

We conclude that managing professionals probably requires a particular management philosophy – one with a clear distinction in roles, where managers respect professional autonomy and professionals are kept from interfering in management.

In parallel, business planning processes need to enable professionals to ranslate company strategy into shared ambition, and performance management needs to focus on output steering – that is, agreeing that the results should meet certain conditions and giving professionals control over achievement.

Russell McMurray has more than 17 years experience in Human Resource consulting, first with KPMG – where he worked for 9 years in their management consulting division – and most recently with Cerno Limited, a Wellington–based organisational psychology consultancy.

His areas of expertise include management and retention of professionals, career and succession planning, employee engagement, organisation culture, competencies and performance management.

Some of his recent assignments include a sector–wide survey for Crown Research Institutes that targets the work issues important to scientists; a leadership/career development framework for the public–sector's Executive Leadership Programme; and examining the drivers of retention for mid–career professionals.

Dr Dave George, is an organisational psychologist and a Director of Cerno Limited, a Wellington-based organisational psychology consultancy. He has worked in Human Resource consulting for the last 21 years, first with OPRA, then as a partner with KPMG and most recently with Cerno.

His areas of expertise include the design and implementation of assessment centre-based programmes, management and retention of professionals, employee engagement, organisation culture and the management of organisational change.

Some of his recent assignments include the identification of the factors driving satisfaction and feelings of being valued for staff in a large service organisation, implementation of a leadership career development assessment programme for the public-sector's Executive Leadership Programme, and the design and implementation of assessment centres to assess short-listed applicants for a number of Chief Executive and senior manager roles.

F6 Session Indicator    more info


Corporate Values



Grunt Factor:





Presentation 60%; Q&A 10%; group work 20%; reporting 10%




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