Human Values and Indian Ethos: Sources of Values


  1. Introduction to value system 
  2. Importance of values 
  3. Values and skills 
  4. Significance of values 
  5. Management theories and corresponding value system 
  6. Summary

Introduction to value system 

The value system influences all other social systems in some way. The primary objective of modern society is to increase income through unfair or illegal means. Money is thought to be a natural human tendency that leads to greed, which in turn leads to unethical plots like corruption, scams, and frauds, among other things. In the expanding business world, where making a profit is the ultimate goal, using short cuts to get what you want instead of adhering to long-cherished ethical values has become the norm for business organizations. In today's competitive economy, which is dominated by the market, the value system is continuously deteriorating and placing values last, which is creating a number of issues for the socioeconomic system. Unlawful methods are used to accelerate the accumulation of wealth because corruption has grown out of control. Unfair business practices and corporate affairs are brought on by the use of unethical methods. Thus, we must strengthen our value system in order to safeguard and maintain the business system's ethical management. Commitment, integrity, teamwork, a positive attitude, the development of people, and a focus on each customer form the foundation of a value system.

Concept of values

By studying value systems, we can lay the groundwork for ethical business practices. Thus, value education must be incorporated into all management courses offered by universities and colleges in order to provide students with a solid foundation in business and corporate ethics and to foster the development of the next generation of managers and entrepreneurs. Future managers' decision-making will be impacted by this, which will be advantageous to society. Values give decisions a higher level of morality, compassion, and humanity.

We can find numerous examples of how moral and ethical business practices have increased wealth in today's business world. Business moguls like Tim Cook of Apple Inc., Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Azim Premji of Wipro, and Bill Gates of Microsoft. such as Larry Erison of Oracle, Narayan Murthy of Infosys, and Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway. have changed the moral standards of the business world by adhering to the correct moral path, and are thus encouraging corporate social responsibility.

Elements of Values

Although each person has a unique set of values, only these values highlight human conduct and behavior in day-to-day activities. Any corporate organization can benefit from these values when conducting business. Values form the basis of what is morally right for an individual and for society. A culture's values are the enduring beliefs that different members of that culture hold about what is right or wrong, desirable or undesirable. Skills are built on values, and people often have their own set of values. For example, some people may value honesty more highly than wealth, while others may value wealth more highly.

Scope of values:

Values are like the guiding light that shapes a person's behavior throughout his or her lifetime. They comprise a person's entire belief system. The foundation of every organization is its set of values. A person's values are formed by the company they keep, and that company begins at home with their parents, who instill the fundamental principles in their children, followed by educators in formal institutions of learning. When making decisions, values play a critical role in highlighting the correct course of action. Values are studied in fields such as psychology, sociology, the humanities, law, politics, economics, and many others and are not just relevant to the business world. They also apply to all disciplines. The development of values can be traced back to the philosophical writings of Aristotle and Plato as well as Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" economic philosophy. Through the inquiry "Is a thing esteemed because it is good or is it good because it is esteemed," Plato studied value. "He himself offered the solution, stating that goodness is unrelated to praise. As a result, the application of values to business and economics makes it valuable or desirable. In the business system, various factors are given values and are selected based on those values. Businesses have an obligation to uphold high standards for their clients, vendors, shareholders, employees, distributors, and, most importantly, clients.

Functional Dimension of Values

In society, values direct a person in the right direction. These not only form our worldview but also provide direction for our personal goals. Values place a greater emphasis on ethical behavior because they place more emphasis on "what ought to be" than "what is.". They convey the social action. Based on our values, we determine what is good, proper, correct, desirable, important, and worth while determining what is bad, improper, wrong, undesirable, and unimportant. As we know, values shape our belief systems, so behavior of a person is dependent on the values. Attitude, which determines behavior, is formed by perception, which is the result of our beliefs. The fundamental questions of why, what, and how to act are all answered by values.

Values in a philosophical context.

"Axiology" is the name given to the study of value. The Greek words "axios" and "logos," which mean science and worth, respectively, are the origin of the word "axiology.". Thus, the study of values is the science of goodness. Adam Smith coined the phrase "economic value" in the nineteenth century with an eye toward its exchange value.

Social psychological viewpoint on values.

The reason values are significant in society is because they influence how people think and act. Values can be as straightforward as interests, attitudes, or preferences at times, while at other times they can be seen as moral principles or social orientations. Values are typically categorized as good, desirable, worthwhile, proper, or bad, undesirable, improper. According to M. Haralambos, who quotes a number of sociologists regarding values, "a value is belief that something is good and desirable.". R.K is another sociologist. According to Mukherjee, "values are socially accepted desires and goals that are internalized through the power of conditioning, learning, or socialization and that become subjective preferences, standards, and aspirations. Every human interaction and action is intrinsically shaped by values. These sociologists emphasized the significance of values.
Values in their economic context.

Value in economic terms is the quantity of one good that can be exchanged for another good. Value also refers to moral ethics. Commodities come in both materialistic and non-materialistic varieties. The opinions of numerous economists have been expressed regarding values and how they relate to price. Several well-known economists, including Karl Marx, David Ricardo, Alfred Marshall, and Adam Smith, expressed their opinions. In today's world, a commodity's value also depends on labor, raw materials, equipment, and technology. The value theory has been altered to study how a commodity's value is determined. Value theory is a focus for many business organizations when pricing of commodities or products is necessary. A value theory explanation based on cost of production was developed by economists Adam Smith and Davis Ricardo. Adam Smith claimed that labor determines a product's value, whereas Davis Ricardo claimed that both labor and time determine a product's value. The problem with the above justification is that demand's impact on value has been overlooked. Marshall, a neo-classicist, later provided an explanation. Additionally, he discovered that demand—an essential aspect of utility—reflected customer tastes and preferences. While doing so, modern economists gave marginal utility analyses and focused on the demand side. Leo Walrus, Stanley Jevans, and Carl Manger are a few contemporary economists who proposed this theory. Therefore, with the introduction of the concept of marginal utility, economists were split between traditional and contemporary theories of values. Marshall brought the division together. The marginal utility theory focused on the demand side of the market, whereas the theory presented by classical economists was based on cost production and focused on the supply side. But to study the theory of value properly, we must consider both the supply and demand sides. The study of the theory of value therefore benefits more from a partial equilibrium analysis.

Importance of values 

Values are of utmost significance in the global economic system. Our values help us determine what aspects of our lives, such as success or family, are significant and which are not. A person who prioritizes family over career success, for instance, would not be interested in a job that requires more time away from home. The values we hold in our hearts never change, but as we develop as people, we learn more about various topics and start to approach various aspects of life in new ways. Growing up, one may come to value success over family, whereas as a child, one may value friends or family more.

Values cannot be disregarded because they set the direction for our lives and define the course we want to take. Although values change over time, they continue to play a significant role in our lives. They assist us in integrating ethics into our social and personal lives. Global economic activities have changed due to era change, increased competition, and rapid globalization. The value system has changed as a result of globalization and privatization, as have customers' tastes. Recent technological advancements have increased the need for a value system in today's business environment.

Moral and ethical values 

Moral and ethical values make up a person's mental makeup. These moral principles are the divine attributes also known as "gunas.". Since we must treat others as we would like to be treated, for instance, if we want to be treated politely, we should speak to others in a polite way. Similar to this, if we don't want to use subpar products, we shouldn't conduct business using dishonest methods or adulteration. Greater harm is done by a man with poor morals and integrity than by a person with poor performance, knowledge, judgment, or analytical skills. For instance, a salesperson with poor interpersonal skills may result in a loss of sales, but a salesperson who makes false promises may harm the organization's reputation, which could prove fatal in the long run. As a result, the business world fosters ethical values.

Values and skills 

Together, values and skills can be used to create the moral decisions that people make in life. Values are the theoretical part of an ethical decision, while skills are the practical part. While skills explain what to do to become a good person, values direct us on how to do so. Similar to how a computer system is made up of two components, software and hardware, the value system's values act as the software, while skills create the hardware component. Purity of soul is brought with values, which is an internal aspect, whereas skills are the caliber of the functions we perform, which is an external aspect. Values are more significant than skills because they are the precursors to those latter.

Difference between values and skills

As we all know, values are formed in childhood and tend to stick around, but skills require regular improvement. For instance, in customer service, agents occasionally make personalized visits to customers; these visits may be required by company policy, but with the advancement of technology, they could also make customized calls or send emails, improving their skill set. Values deal with internal aspects as it purifies soul whereas skills provides expertise which is external aspect, values deals with internal aspect as it purifies soul whereas skills provides expertise which is external aspect, sometimes skills may cause demotivation or division as one individual may not have equal skills as the other whereas values always unify. Although our values remain constant, our skills can change over time as we get better.

Significance of values 

As previously stated, values serve as a person's compass in life and provide guidance for their choices. They serve as the foundation for our nature and behavior. Excellent customer service, improved communication, excellence, and innovation are all products of good business ethics, which are created by values. As a proper value system fosters goodwill coordination within an organization and improves supervision, direction, and control, it is essential that managerial qualities and success be based on it as well. If we are internally satisfied, we achieve mental, spiritual, and emotional peace. Since success only becomes complete when we achieve both internal and external enrichment, if we accomplish a task, we should also feel internally satisfied.

Values and workplace

Due to the importance of fostering a positive work environment, we can see that offices these days are furnished with comforts and luxuries. Value systems aid in improving workplaces by fostering a supportive environment where workers can produce work that is more ethical, productive, and spiritual. But today's use of unethical methods, such as corruption, fraud, malpractice, and cheating at work, has resulted in a moral, ethical, and spiritual decline. Since a good workplace environment is maintained by a good organization, appropriate steps to uphold values at work may be taken by that organization. Numerous business tycoons have demonstrated how to conduct fair business and avoid engaging in unethical behavior, demonstrating that businesses built on solid values can also produce positive results.

Corporate values

Values based on beliefs like integrity, respect, creativity, courage, loyalty, respect and commitment are the core values of corporate world. Some companies in their tag line uses these words, for example:
  • 1. Microsoft: integrity, honesty, openness, and commitment.
  • 2. IBM: dedication, innovation, trust and responsibility. These words identify the values on which organizations are based and provide an expected code of conduct of an organization.

Management theories and corresponding value system 

There are four types of ethics theories. We can study relationship between various management theories and ethics theories. These are stated below: 
  • 1) The Rational Goals Theory (Teleological Ethics Theories) 
  • 2) The Internal Process Theory ( Deontological Ethics Theories ) 
  • 3) The Human Relations Theory (Virtue Ethics Theories) 
  • 4) The Open Systems Theory (Systems development Ethics Theories)
The main goal of the Rational Goals Theory is to boost organizational productivity. Fredrick W. first proposed this theory in the early 20th century. Taylor. Fredrick's production- and producer-focused theory. This theory holds that an organization is an open system because it engages in exchanges with its surroundings. Ethics values are given more weight than ethical values in this result-oriented system.

The proper observance of norms and adherence to rules was the main focus of the Internal Process theory. Max Weber and Henry Fayol presented this theory in the early 20th century. According to this theory, an organization should place a strong emphasis on rules and regulations in order to achieve its goals.

The Human Relations Theory was put forth by Elton Mayo in the middle of the 20th century, and it emphasizes the value system of the managerial division. Managers who exhibit traits like openness, participation, teamwork, and commitment serve as mentors.

The Open System Theory was presented by Paul Lawrence and Jay Lorsch, and it focused on managerial values like innovation and coordination. In this case, the manager must bind together the organization's internal and external components, serving as the group's glue. According to this theory, system-oriented ethical values are more significant than other ethical values.

Organizational Value System:

To achieve goals and targets different organizations develops different value system of
their own. Organizational value systems of India have following features:
  • 1) Cooperation: Cooperation and coordination is always preferred over individual working.
  • 2) Family orientation: A child gets his values from family. In India family serves an important role in an individual’s decision making. The value system is family based in India.
  • 3) Humility and respect for others: Value system in India includes humility and respect for others.
  • 4) Self management: A person should know how to manage his own life before managing others.


The value system influences all of the other social systems in society in some way. Dot In today's competitive economy, which is dominated by the market, the value system is continuously deteriorating and placing values at a disadvantage, which is causing numerous issues in the socioeconomic system. Commitment, integrity, teamwork, a positive attitude, the development of people, and a focus on each customer form the foundation of the value system.

The teaching of values must be incorporated into all management courses offered by universities and colleges in order to provide the next generation of aspiring business owners and managers with a solid foundation in business and corporate ethics. Values apply to all disciplines and are researched in areas such as psychology, sociology, the humanities, law, politics, and economics among others. They are also not just limited to the business world.

The fundamental questions of why, what, and how to act are all answered by values. Values are significant because they influence how people think and act in society. In terms of economics, value refers not only to moral principles but also to the quantity of a commodity that can be exchanged for another. The mental components of a person with values are their moral and ethical values. The ethical actions we take in life are formed by our values and skills working together. Values are the theoretical part of the equation, while skills are the practical part. Values produce good business ethics, including high standards of customer service, improved communication, excellence, and innovation. Value systems aid in improving workplaces by fostering a supportive environment where workers can produce work that is more ethical, productive, and spiritual. The fundamental principles of the corporate world are those based on values such as loyalty, creativity, courage, respect, and commitment.

There are four different categories of ethics theories: the Rational Goals Theory (Teleological Ethics Theories), the Internal Process Theory (Deontological Ethics Theories), the Human Relations Theory (Virtue Ethics Theories), and the Open Systems Theory (Systems Development Ethics Theories). As a means of achieving their objectives, various organizations create their own unique value systems. Cooperation, family values, universal respect, and self-management are all part of the corporate value systems in India.


  • Pramod Sharma, “Business Ethics and Corporate Values: An Indian Perspective” Ravitanaya Publications, Shimla, 2017 
  • S.K Bhatia, “Business Ethics and Corporate Governance” Deep & Deep Publications, New Delhi, 2004 
  • A.C. Fernando, “Business Ethics and Corporate Governance” Pearson Publication, 2013 
  • Harris & Hartman, “Organizational Behavior” Jaico Publication House, 2002 French, Bell & Vohra, “Organization Development” Pearson Prentice Hall Publication, 2009 
  • S B Gogate, “Human Values & Professional Ethics” Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi, 2011


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