One of the most important components of an organization is the relationship of the personal values of decision makers to the values of their organization. Administrators are called upon formally and informally to articulate the values that undergird what the school stands for. In effect, values provide a kind of guidance system used by an individual when confronted with decision-making situations ( Harrison, 1995).
A principal may try to shape the elements of school culture the way a potter shapes clay, patiently and with much skill ( Greenfield, 1987). In this process, the principal articulates shared values, observes traditions and rituals, and significant school symbols. If the principal can express those values in a form that makes them memorable and easily understood, the school benefits from knowing what they stand for ( Deal and Peterson, 1990).
The concept of values is an evasive one. Values mean different things to different people. Values may be regarded as the "normative standards by which human beings are influenced in their choice among the alternative courses of action they perceive" ( Jacob, Flink, and Schuchman, 1962). Values may also be examined as "conceptions of desirable states of affairs that are used in selective conduct as criteria for preference or choice or as justifications for proposed or actual behavior . . . values are closely related, conceptually and empirically, to social norms" ( Williams, 1967). "A value is an enduring belief that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state existence" ( Rokeach, 1973a).
Values are attitudes for or against some policies, programs, methods, practices, persons, places, things, events, and so on, which have a great influence on what the principals decide to accept or reject in their visions ( McCall, 1994).