Original Research

Openness to change and conservation in value-laden decisions

Christoff Prinsloo, Charlene Lew
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 19 | a1468 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v19i0.1468 | © 2021 Christoff Prinsloo, Charlene Lew | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 September 2020 | Published: 09 April 2021

About the author(s)

Christoff Prinsloo, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, Johannesburg, South Africa
Charlene Lew, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Orientation: Values influence decision-making in organisations; however, it is not yet clear how values of openness to change and conservation determine decision quality when managers are faced by competing values.

Research purpose: The research examines the relationships between managerial values of openness to change and conservation and cognitive decision quality.

Motivation for research: We argue that values influence cognitive decision-making quality.

Research approach/design and method: The quantitative research design made use of the portrait value questionnaire–based values of openness to change and conservation in relation to a measure of decision-making quality based on two value clashing decision scenarios.

Main findings: The results revealed that the managers’ cognitive decision-making quality was lower for those who valued tradition within the conservation value block, with some indication that self-directed thought related to better cognitive processing of decision alternatives.

Contribution/value-add: The research demonstrates how the operationalised integrative complexity measure may be used as a novel decision-making quality metric. In addition, it introduces new value-sensitive decision-making scenarios. It also demonstrates that decision quality considerations in the value-driven decision-making dialogue are as important as ethical considerations. A values and quality decision-making framework gives managers an approach to higher quality decisions.

Practical/managerial implications: As values are stable rules of behaviour, the results support the development of decision-making quality and values awareness for managers.


decision-making quality; managerial values; openness to change; conservation; value clashes


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