[Part 2] Exploring the Meanings of Values


Vision and Values

A Vision is important for an organization, as it provides a conceptual framework for understanding organizational purpose. Vision expresses the guiding philosophy of an organization, while underlining its core values and principles. It might not be enforceable legally, but it does enjoy a moral appeal. Vision expresses the goal, to attain which, the organization comes into existence. Thus, a vision entails the foundational values of an organization. It also provides the legitimizing principle of the organization.

Through it, the people, who are the consumers of the services provided by the organization, become aware of what to expect, and the standards of excellence which the organization adheres to. A vision finds its significance in the wake of turbulent forces in the environment. It helps the organization to justify its existence, in the wake of protest.

Vision also has a value base, as the employees find meaning to their participation in the functioning of the organization. The Vision of an organization is necessarily derived from the foundational values of an organization. These values help in prioritizing the different goals that comes before the organization.

Value and Attitude

Values are generally intrinsic and hidden under our actions and behaviour. Thus, a value is manifested in terms of attitudes, to the external environment.

Generally, the governmental organizations try to become a microcosms of the larger society, by incorporating as comprehensive set of values as possible. However, modern organizations are often seen struggling to cope up with the changing value system of the society.

However, in the contemporary society, most organizations adhere to certain core values like- quality, customer satisfaction, environmental protection, human dignity, respect and social responsibility. These core values are to be adhered to by the employees of the organization. Such values must be internalized by the members, so as to bridge the gap between the values upheld by the organization and the individuals.

However, when the employees are unable to internalize the values of the organization, there are frequent frictional forces, which bring an undesirable atmosphere in the organization. Sometimes, employees find it difficult to put into practice, the hypothetical nature of the values.

Values and Emotions

Values have much to do with emotions. Our behaviour is largely based on what and how we feel. However, our emotions are divided into two categories, of desirable and undesirable emotions. Desirable emotions are- compassion, gratitude, humanity, kindness, patience, selflessness, honesty, integrity and love. Undesirable emotions are- greed, anger, lust, arrogance, envy, jealousy, vanity and vindictiveness.

Emotions are under entirely under our control. Emotions are often experienced as a means of response towards the things around us. However, to bring a change in the society, it is important to work on our emotions. While we should attempt to develop good emotions in our character, we should, at the same time, try to avoid the undesirable emotions. We should we aware of our emotions and their impact on our actions.

Emotions can have a positive as well as negative impact on our actions and behaviour. When our actions are guided by good emotions, we get appreciation and praise; however, actions marked by undesirable emotions are disliked in the society. Our thinking is also, to a great extent, influenced by what we feel.

Such is the value of emotions, in human society, that great thinkers like Russell believed that- ‘science is no substitute for values…’; While Einstein believed that ‘the intellect has a sharp eye for methods and tools, but is blind to the ends and values’.

The Indian culture has also emphasized upon the aspect of purification of heart, for the true development of the human beings. Our mind can do good to the society only when we have a moral-ethical base.

Emotions and Human Mind

Our actions are largely determined by our emotions and brain. While the Emotions are more concerned with the means to achieve some end; the Brain is more linked to plan the ends. Thus, the human psyche is composed of two parts- The Rational, Sequential, Logical, Analytic- Brain; and the Emotional, Spatial, Synthetic, Impulsive, Holistic- Heart.

Our Education system has been all about the Intellectual aspect of our personality, at the cost of our emotional aspects. We often forget that an ideal character is a amalgam of a developed mind and heart. Emotional Intelligence is as important as the Intellectual development.

There might be a case when a creative person is lacking in the formal educational skills. However, this does not downplay his abilities or value to the society. On the other hand, a highly skilled person, with a low emotional development, can be a bad influence on the society. Therefore, emotional aspect of our development might be more important than the intellectual aspect.

There are so many examples of men who had no formal education and certification, yet they showed the society, the path of development. This proves that it is unfair to judge a person’s value by merely his intellectual abilities.

The true motivation to the human character can only be provided by a good emotional base. While the mind can show us the way to achieve certain ends, it is function of our emotional base to lead us on an ethical path.

Role of Educational Institutions

With the advancement of the human society, there has been a decline in the educative role of the family and community. Thus, this role has been overtaken by the educational institutions of the society. In the contemporary society, there has been a growing concern towards the need of inculcating values in the society, through the schooling institutions. It is, today, is universally recognized fact that, schools and teachers are instrumental in the formation and transformation of values among the students.

However, there is a need, on the part of the teachers, to take effective initiatives in order to bring a desirable change in the society. The models of value education should inculcate in the pupil, ethical principles and perspective. Teachers have an important role to play in through the selected pedagogical practices. What to teach? And How to teach? Remain important questions, which are to be determined by the teachers.

There are certain models that the education system might utilize in imparting education and character building:

Rational Building Model

This approach focuses on defining the values, and explaining how the teachers take value and moral decisions, and how can they guide the students in developing the ability for critical thinking in dealing with moral issues. This approach view the values as standards for judging worth of anything. It provides the criteria which helps the pupil to judge different things on his own.

Thus, this model believes that values can be explained, analyzed and compared and contrasted with each other. These values are reflected through our actions and behaviour. Also, values are a part of our nature. Whether we realize it or not, values are inherent in every human being. However, the difference in one’s action is an outcome of the difference in the realization and acceptance of these values.

This model also creates a difference between the values and value judgement. Value judgement are done on the basis of the values themselves. However, values cannot be understood in isolation. There is always a context, behind which, a judgement is made, on the basis of certain values. One value has a bearing on the other. They have to be necessarily understood in the inter-dependent nature. Often, good judgements are made on the basis of several values, seen together.

For instance, democratic principles have been founded on the values of- Human dignity, liberty, equality and fraternity. An educational system should inculcate the belief, among the student community, that all beings are autonomous to make their own decisions. However, such decisions should be made in an ethical framework.

Consideration Model

This model takes into account a person’s life style, while relating to the self and the others. This model is based on the belief that living for others is truly the essence of life. This attitude keeps oneself away form the undesirable values. This model believes that the educational system should develop a desire to work for the others, with happiness by doing so.

This model of education takes into consideration, the various needs and aspects of the life of a student. It recognizes that the fundamental human need is to get along with others, to love and to be loved.

It also believes that values are learned by observing other behave in the social environment.

Value Clarification Model

It is based on the point that values cannot be indoctrinated into a person. Values are not static entities or universal truths, but changing and dynamic in nature. In this approach, the students are required to make value based decisions, in accordance with their social milieu.

The different considerations often create confusions in a person, but it can be faced through an ethical framework. This model seek to minimize the confusion, that a person might face while making value based decisions.

Value decisions are made by using the rational faculty, that is inherent in every human being. Through this model, students are taught to prioritize the different goals, in their life, by using the value hierarchy. Further, the students are asked to reflect and explain their value-based decisions rationally.

This model believes that if a person is clear about the relationship between themselves and the society, then they are able to develop positive values and display consistent behaviour, by doing away with value confusions.

Value Analysis Model

This model also focuses on the philosophical base of the value education. However, this model focuses more on the pedagogical aspect of education. Under this approach, students learn the process of making moral decisions by processing in a systematic manner.

This model believes that values are situational. Something that is true in one situation, might not be true in the other. Thus, a lot depends upon the facts and details through which the value-based decisions are to be made. Before taking any decision, a person needs to evaluate the positive and negative aspects of the situation.

Values: Subjective Vs. Objective

There are philosophical debates over whether values are objective or subjective in nature. While the objectivists argue that values have a universal value because of their approval and acceptance by the society; the Subjectivists, on the other hand, believe, that it is wrong to attach universal value to anything. For the latter, a thing has a taste because it is desirable for someone. Subjectivists attach more importance to the desire, than value. The subjectivists believe in the idea of relativity, implying that values are person and society specific. Values are generally divided into three categories- Epistemic Values (dealing with True/False); Asthetic Value (dealing with Beauty/Ugly); and Ethical Value (dealing with Good/Bad).

A value is objective if it is more fundamental than the subject attitudes. Means, if it exists independently of our desires and preferences.

However, it might not be true to regard the values as universally and equally applicable everywhere. True, that certain values are admired in every culture and region. But, the acceptability of a value has a bearing on the local culture as well. While certain practices and behaviours could be highly appreciated in one culture, the same actions and behaviours could be despised in others. Thus, values go through a continuum.

While the ideal character of a value might be universally admired and respected, the practical nature of different values might represent only the shades of the universally held ideal.

More Coming Soon…

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