What is organisational valence? Definition and explanation

Organisational valence: Definition and explanation


Organisational valence

What is organisational valence?

Organisational valence refers to how much an individual values a particular outcome or reward within an organisation. In other words, it’s the extent to which someone sees a particular outcome as good or bad.

When we talk about valence, we’re talking about whether someone thinks an outcome is positive or negative, and to what degree. Positive valence means the outcome is desirable to the individual, while negative valence means the outcome is something an individual would want to avoid.

For example, if someone gets a pay rise, they’re likely to see this as a positive outcome with a high positive valence. This is because they’ll probably feel happier and more financially secure. Conversely, the thought of being made redundant is a negative outcome with a negative valence because it means losing income and job security.

Organisational valence has been shown to impact a reange of outcomes including:

  • How committed on individual is to the organisation
  • Their responses to organisational change
  • Individual motivation and the motivation of management
  • Individual well-being
  • The occurrence of bullying within the organisation

Managers and leaders need to think about organisational valence because it tends to affect how motivated, satisfied, and productive their employees are. By understanding what outcomes and rewards matter to their employees, they can create a more positive and effective work environment.


Cheong, K. C., Lo, M. C., Mohamad, A. A., & Ramayah, T. (2023). Planned organisational change and organisational commitment-to-change: the moderating role of leader-member exchange. International Journal of Services and Operations Management, 44(2), 196-213.

Cilliers, F. (2012). A systems psychodynamic description of organisational bullying experiences. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 38(2), 1-11.

Demblon, J., & D’Argembeau, A. (2016). Networks of prospective thoughts: The organisational role of emotion and its impact on well-being. Cognition and Emotion, 30(3), 582-591.

Kominis, G., & Emmanuel, C. R. (2007). The expectancy–valence theory revisited: Developing an extended model of managerial motivation. Management Accounting Research, 18(1), 49-75.

Visagie, C. M., & Steyn, C. (2011). Organisational commitment and responses to planned organisational change: An exploratory study. Southern African Business Review, 15(3), 98-121.

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