A pressing need in the study of organizations is for more research into how an organization's values (an organization's guiding principles and beliefs as perceived by its members) affect managerial decision-making. Traditional theories have been based on a "rational model," which focuses on the decision-maker and either ignores the organizational value climate or conveniently assumes that the organization's values are consistent or clearly prioritized. In reality, however, decisions are shaped not only by a manager's own values, but also by those of the corporate culture and of organizational superiors. A recent study found that managers' most stressful decisions involved "value contention" (conflicts among any of these sets of values). Furthermore, different types of organizational value systems were associated with different frequencies of contending values as well as with different types of managerial response. Explicit corporate values, for example, produced a greater percentage of decisions that were stressful due to value contention. Hidden values (those that an organization practices but does not acknowledge or which a superior furtively pursues in opposition to the values of the organization) produced a lower level of value contention. Although explicit values created more value contention, they were nonetheless more likely to produce flexible, well-reasoned decisions. Conversely, managers perplexed by hidden values reported feeling unable to identify an appropriate range of options.

The passage identifies which of the following as a way in which hidden corporate values affect managerial decision-making?

They tend to discourage consultation with organizational subordinates and superiors.

They tend to undermine managers' confidence in their own ability to determine the available alternatives.

They tend to produce a heightened degree of value contention.

They tend to produce a heightened degree of conflict among different levels of the organizational structure.

They tend to cause greater anxiety among managers than do explicit corporate values.


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