Values congruence, organization-based self-esteem, and employee responses: Evidence from Sri Lanka

Donald G. Gardner, Vathsala Wickramasinghe, Jon L. Pierce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Expatriate managers are often advised to adapt their leadership styles and organizational cultures to the culture of the country in which they operate. This advice appears to be reasonable, but it has rarely been empirically tested. In this study, we examine the degree to which congruence of organization and individual cultural values affect employees. We collected data from business managers and executives in Sri Lanka, a country that has not been well studied by international management scholars. We hypothesized that personally embraced values that are consistent with broader cultural values would have relationships with self-esteem. Further, because people are also motivated to verify and enhance their levels of self-esteem in culturally consistent ways, we hypothesized that self-esteem at work would mediate relationships of values with prosocial motivation and intent to maintain membership in the organization. We found that culturally consistent, self-transcendence personal values did relate uniquely to organization-based self-esteem (OBSE). In addition, OBSE mediated the relationships between self-transcendence values, and work-based prosocial motivation and intent to stay. Moderated mediation analyses revealed that strong values fit weakened the mediating effect of OBSE on self-transcendence—outcomes and conservation—outcome relationships, contrary to our hypotheses. It appears that the advice to modify organizational culture to fit local culture should be qualified by also recommending that such changes are not conflict with the organization’s existing, successful culture. Our study also sheds some light on the cultural values of Sri Lanka. This is the first study to explicitly examine these relationships within a work context as well as one of few studies to examine personal values in Sri Lanka.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-372
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Cross Cultural Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Culture
  • Sri Lanka
  • self-enhancement
  • self-esteem
  • self-verification
  • values
  • values fit


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