Value Dissonance at Work

Does diversity in personal values affect employees’ productivity? We combine a large-scale survey with granular organizational data to construct measures of workers’ value misalignment with their teammates and their boss. We show that workers who have different values than their colleagues and their managers perform worse than those who have similar values. This negative effect is stronger and more robust for value misalignment with bosses and in hard productivity measures. Our results suggest that value misalignment hinders workers’ motivation and increases managers’ difficulties in coordinating employees. However, teams with more psychological safety are able to alleviate the challenges arising from divergent values.