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'An impressive step between professional practice and the academic world'

On 29 June 2017, Doris Dull-Zessner defended her PhD dissertation “Value Congruence in a Multinational Corporation”. The defence was at 12.30 hrs, in the Academy Building of Leiden University, Rapenburg 73. The supervisors are Professor J.A.A. Adriaanse and Professor J.I. van der Rest.

Working as Director Human Resources at a multinational corporation Doris Dull- Zessner questioned that the alignment between individual values and organizational values in todays’ business reality still has a positive impact on employee behaviour and attitude. Behaviour and attitude from a practical point of view is when people are mentally healthy, work hard, are committed to supporting business goals and objectives and are productive.

Todays’ business reality can be described where organizations operating on the international market realised the relevance of having effective HRM systems with direct implications for team members that represent various cultural backgrounds.

Having this in mind and equipped with the knowledge from the literature review a long journey began to investigate a) whether value congruence or individual values, as a whole, are positively related to work engagement, affective commitment and productivity but negatively with emotional exhaustion, b) whether there is a different effect on emotional exhaustion, work engagement, affective commitment and productivity, by grouping values into dimensions c) the role of culture in the relationship, d) the moderating role of individual values dimensional and multidimensional.

Different value concepts were considered that are relevant for organizations but also the meaning of culture.

Values at workplace settings

The literature review revealed vast differences among authors in terms of interpretation of the meaning of term value. Some associate values with ethics and morale, others relate values to desires and wishes at societal and personal levels, social psychologists focus on values as an element of human behaviour related to the interaction between groups and individuals.

Organizational values

  • Organizational values describe the main purpose of an organization that help to achieve a competitive advantage in the market.
  • Organizational core values influence business practices to satisfy customer, employees and other stakeholders.
  • Organizational values are the components of an organizational culture that guide employees’ behaviour.

Individual values

  • Individual values are goals to satisfy needs either towards ones’ own life, the workplace, a society, or an organization. 
  • Individual values determine employees’ attitude and behaviour.
  • Individual values are at the top of the values of a group or an organization.

Value Congruence

  • Value congruence is the alignment between organizational values and individual values.
  • Alignment should motivate employees to support business strategy, goals and objectives.


Culture has a significant impact on a wide range of organizational processes and procedures, as well as on the outcome of organizational performance. As a set of beliefs and values, culture at an individual level impacts on human behaviour in an extensive manner, whereas culture at an organizational level refers to organization-specific norms of behaviour and unwritten rules. Both, individual and organizational cultures are closely associated with values at individual and organizational levels respectively and the nature and extent of this association and implications of this association on employee behaviour and attitude has been analyzed in a comprehensive manner. Organizational culture on the other side is more related to the relationship between employees and their organization and the sum of norms, values and believes, rites and rituals and pattern of behaviour of the members of an organization.

Prof.dr. Jan Adriaanse about Doris Dull-Zessner

"As an external PhD candidate, Doris has taken an impressive step between professional practice and the academic world. Her years of experience as HR Director at a multinational have been highly beneficial for the quality of the empirical data. In addition, her outcomes and recommendations will be applicable in practice. A good example of valorisation."

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