What Are Core Values of a Company? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 What Are Core Values?
  • 1:20 Examples Of Core Values
  • 2:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elizabeth Essex

Elizabeth has a PhD in Organizational Behavior and has taught and facilitated college courses in Organizational Behavior and Management.

In this lesson, core values of a company are defined and discussed with examples given from both the airline industry and the retail grocery industry. A quiz reinforces key concepts.

What Are Core Values

Every company, big or small, has core values. Core values are the basis upon which the members of a company make decisions, plan strategies, and interact with each other and their stakeholders. A stakeholder is any person or organization that is impacted in some way by the company. Core values reflect what is important to the organization and its members.

The core values of a company are intrinsic - they come from leaders inside of the company. Core values work the same way for a company as they do for a family. For example, one family may value hard work and saving money, and another family may value travel and exploration. Even starting with the same resources, each family will make different decisions and plan different strategies based on its core values. Family core values affect strategy (how much of each paycheck is saved or spent) and practices (spend money on a money market account, a savings bond, or airline tickets).

Core values are not necessarily dependent on the type of company or industry and may vary widely, even among organizations that do similar types of work. According to some management scholars, companies that stray from their core values may not perform as well as those that adhere to them. However, for many companies, adherence to their core values is a goal, not a reality.

Examples of Core Values

In large companies, core values are frequently written and publicized on the company's website, in the annual report, and in internal communications.

Delta Airlines lists 'Always tell the truth - Honesty' and 'Always keep your deals - Integrity' among its five core values.

Whole Foods Market, the grocery chain, has the following as two of its eight core values: 'We sell the highest quality natural and organic products available,' and 'we create wealth through profits and growth.' See the following diagram, which shows how its core values lead to business decisions that support its other core values.

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