Values as a blueprint for value creation

Posted on February 16, 2016

The Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership was involved in a series of events on ‘values as a blueprint for value creation’, which took place at the offices of the Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) in London. The final round-table discussion took place on 1 February 2016.

The purpose of these events were to critically interrogate the concept of value, and more specifically how the internal culture of organisations, determined by individual and organisational values, impact thinking about value creation.

The event was structured into three distinct parts with the discussions at tables focussing mainly on three questions: What is organisational culture and how can it be changed, through values?; what are the challenges in changing organisational culture?; and what would it take for an organisation to redefine the concept of value creation?

Part 1 of the event investigated the concept of organisational culture, and how this culture can be measured through the Barrett Values Assessment tool. During Part 2 the Old Mutual case study and how Old Mutual has made use of the Barrett Values Survey to drive a culture transformation in the organisation was discussed. Part 3 of the event was presented by Pieter Conradie, Programme Director of Integrated Reporting in UP’s Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership. He presented a case study on Unilever, and based on this case, posed the question of whether Unilever has succeeded in redefining the concept of value creation through its vision to double its revenue, to half its environmental impact, and to have a positive social impact.

These discussions were designed to be interactive, exploring participants’ views on value creation. The discussions at the tables were very stimulating with diverging opinions. The general sentiment was that this approach to value creation creates a good potential platform for organisations to have constructive conversations about what value creation really means to the organisation, and how culture supports or inhibits it.

Prof Carol Adams from Durham University described the event in London as “innovative and excellent”. When asked to summarise the theme of the event, Prof Adams wrote: “An organisation’s culture informs its view of what value means and how you create value.  So, not only is an organisation’s value creation story influenced by its culture, but also by requiring organisations to tell that story. Integrated reporting underscores the importance of culture to success”.

The views of both the UK and South African audiences were captured and are being analysed. A research report analysing and interpreting both these events will be launched at the University of Pretoria on 17 March 2016.

The event in London was hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) and supported by the British High Commission of Pretoria, the Old Mutual Group and the UK Values Alliance. 


- Author Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership

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