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Faking company values damages your career

Employees who pretend to share similar values with their colleagues in order to “fit in”, damage their personal well-being and ability to engage with work, new research from the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University reveals.

Associate Professor Patricia Hewlin found that in order for employees to survive at work, they often pretend to share organisational values. Additionally, employees may not feel comfortable expressing their own opinions if their managers act with high integrity. They often feel that they are benefitting the organisation by conforming to the values of their leader. However, by suppressing their own values and views, they hinder progress for the business and their careers.

“When people are true to themselves, they are more likely to feel connected to their work, which can enhance personal well-being and work performance overall. Managers should therefore encourage employees to voice their opinions without fear of repercussions. They should create a comfortable work environment and clearly communicate that disagreements can actually be good for business. Managers can encourage authenticity by creating venues for open discussions, and developing newcomer socialization practices that promote respect for diverse values, ideas and personal identities,” says Hewlin.

According to the research, it is vital that organisations establish a culture where authenticity is welcomed, promoting the idea of thought diversity.

“It is important for leaders to underscore that bringing one’s true self into the workplace—rather than concealing one’s true beliefs is a much more valuable way to reciprocate positive treatment from the organization.”


For more information, or to speak to Professor Hewlin, contact Kate Mowbray at BlueSky PR on or call +44 +44 (0)1582 7979 57

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