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How attitudes influence behaviour, now on values

A wise friend and learned scientist proposed the following definition for food safety culture:

The aggregation of the prevailing, relatively constant, learned, shared attitudes, values and beliefs contributing to the hygiene behaviours within a particular food handling environment.

(Griffith, 2010)

This week we conclude our series with VALUES.

So let’s define value, and according to the dictionary, value as a noun is the relative worth, merit, or importance of a concept, thing and if used as a verb, to consider with respect to worth, excellence, usefulness, or importance.

Herein lies the crux of many of our food safety dilemmas in my opinion: How much do we VALUE food safety? Perhaps a more complex question is how much we value food safety RELATIVE to other things that we as a business value. I doubt we would find anyone who does not say that food safety is an important requirement and that we value the health of the consumer. BUT, what do we value more? What competes with this value?

Psychologists define Human values as abstract ideals that guide people’s behaviour (Schwartz, 1992Maio, 2010Fischer, 2017). There are a large number of models that have been described to try and predict how values would determine behaviours both in individuals and within organisations. A complex subject that we haven’t got time to get into.

Many organisations have value statements where the concepts that value are defined. What is often missing is how this value translates into behaviour – what does this value look like? How will I recognise it when I see it? Which value is the most important value?

I came across this excellent article on values: https://hbr.org/2002/07/make-your-values-mean-something. I have nothing to add. Please read it.