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Competing Values Leadership

Since the original research was conducted, these same dimensions have been reproduced in a wide variety of research studies, from cognitive style and brain chemistry to competitive strategy and quality approaches, and from financial investment strategies to philosophy. The framework, in other words, has proven to be very robust across a variety of phenomena, and it describes the core approaches to thinking, behaving, and organizing associated with human activity.

Together these dimensions form four quadrants, each representing a distinct set of organizational and individual factors. They identify, for example, the underlying culture of organizations, the criteria of effectiveness that must be pursued by organizations, the leadership and managerial competencies that are most effective, the financial investment strategies that produce the highest payoff, the organizational change strategies that are most effective, the attributes most predictive of merger and acquisition success, and other applications.

What is notable about these four core values is that they represent opposite or competing assumptions present in most organizations. The upper left (yellow) quadrant identifies values that emphasize an internal, organic focus, whereas the lower right (blue) quadrant identifies values that emphasize external, control focus. The upper right (green) quadrant identifies values that emphasize external, organic focus whereas the lower left (red) quadrant emphasizes internal, control values.