Values are subjective. My values are not the same as yours. Likewise organisations may have very different values. Think PETA vs Exxon. Finally you may work at a company where your own values do line up with the corporate values.
As a Manager, Business Owner or CEO it is very easy to manage by numbers, but what about managing by values. Personally I have found this considerably more complex when an organisation is undergoing significant change. This is because not only are people losing their jobs, income etc which in itself may be misaligned with many peoples' personal values but at the same time new employees may bring with them a different outlook with their own values. Creating a culture aligned to the corporate values is not only difficult but without doubt a hallmark of great leadership. In "Who Says Elephants Can't Dance" (2002) former IBM CEO Lou Gerstner, the man credited with the mammoth turnaround of IBM wrote, "If I could have chosen not to tackle the IBM culture head-on, I probably wouldn't have. My bias coming in was toward strategy, analysis and measurement. In comparison, changing the attitude and behaviors of hundreds of thousands of people is very, very hard. Yet I came to see in my time at IBM that culture isn't just one aspect of the game—it is the game"
Just as the Business Horizons article stated in 1980, "... a set of values and aspirations", so Lou Gerstner wrote about "...attitude and behavior" some 22 years later.
Back to the company first mentioned in the opening paragraph. Simply putting a list of the "values" on everyone's computer is not changing a culture. It is merely stating a wish list. Without the CEO living the values, how could they expect employees to embrace the words spinning around on their desktop? Interestingly enough, the company, like many other large corporations, has performed poorly over the last few years, losing considerable market value. Whilst many would blame various economic and other external factors, one could argue that a lack of value based leadership has had just as much influence on delivering the bottom line. As Lou said "it is the game", and clearly the wrong game was played!