Sex Roles, Vol. 54, Nos. 1/2, January 2006 (
Work Values and Their Effect on Work Behavior
and Work Outcomes in Female and Male Managers
Irene Hanson Frieze,
Josephine E. Olson,
Audrey J. Murrell,
and Mano S. Selvan
A longitudinal sample of over 800 MBA graduates surveyed across a 16-year period was re-
cruited to investigate the relationship of work values to work effort, salary levels, and other
work outcomes. As predicted, certain work values were related to higher salary levels and
to the number of hours worked. Changing companies more often and receiving more promo-
tions were also signiﬁcantly related to work values. Work values did not differ for women and
men in the sample, except that women were higher in the value of wanting to do an excel-
lent job. Controlling for work values did not explain signiﬁcantly higher salaries for men as
compared to women. Implications of these data are discussed.
KEY WORDS: salary; work values; managers.
It is widely assumed that one’s values affect
one’s behavior, although these linkages have not al-
ways been clearly demonstrated in empirical studies
(Bardi & Schwartz, 2003). One speciﬁc type of val-
ues has been labeled “work values” (MOW, 1987).
These values relate to what people most want in their
work. Some commonly researched work values in-
clude the idea of being recognized for one’s work,
taking pride in doing a good job, wanting to make
money, and wanting to help people (MOW, 1987).
Although there have been a number of studies of the
relationship between work values and work behav-
ior, most of these studies have been focused on men
in a single organization (e.g., McClelland & Boyatzis,
Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh,
Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of
Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Department of Biostatistics, Graduate School of Public Health,
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Present address: Department of Clinical Quality, The University
of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Department
of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, 3329 Sennott Square,
210 S. Bouquet Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260; e-mail:
1982). The present study was designed to take advan-
tage of a longitudinal data set from a sample of MBA
graduates surveyed in 1984, 1991, and 2000–2001, as
studies of the effects of work values over time are
particularly lacking in the existing literature (Harpaz
& Fu, 2002). The sample includes primarily men and
women business managers across a large set of dif-
ferent organizations. This data set provides a unique
opportunity to examine the relationship of work val-
ues to work outcomes for managers of both sexes.
Work Values of Managers
A few researchers have examined work values as
they relate to work behavior and outcomes. In a clas-
sic study of managerial values related to work and
nonwork activities, England and Lee (1974) found
that, for male managers in the United States, salaries
were correlated with a greater importance placed
by the managers on making proﬁts, having inﬂuence
over others, and taking risks. Less ﬁnancially success-
ful managers in the U.S. and other countries were
found to be low on achievement orientation, and they
stressed security as a general value and other non-
work values. In a later extension of this research, that
2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.