I read in the BMJ ( BMJ Careers page 2, November 1st 2014) that “From autumn 2015 students enrolling on healthcare courses at universities in England will undergo face to face interviews to assess whether they display values including ‘respect and dignity’, ‘commitment to quality of care,’ ‘compassion,’ ‘improving lives,’ ‘working together for patients,’ and ‘everyone counts.’” To which I would respond, everyone counts but some count more than others (with apologies to Orwell). Facile stuff from those who think of human culture as a giant Excel spreadsheet.
In Clayton Christenson’s “How Would yo measure your life,” he writes: Enron had a “Vision and Values” statement. It aimed to conduct itself in line with four Values (each starting with a capital letter): Respect, Integrity, Communication, and Excellence. Respect, for example, had the following detail (as reported in the New York Times): “We treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. We do not tolerate abusive or disrespectful treatment. Ruthlessness, callousness, and arrogance don’t belong here.” A cursory reading of the attempt to instil or select the right values amongst law or business students when it is the environment they find themselves in in the world of work that is the problem, would suggest such attempts are doomed to failure.