A Critical Perspective on Value-based Management: A HR–Study of the Management Tools Used to Motivate the Employees at Novo Nordisk

Allan Schiller & Nicklas Justinussen Smedegård

Student thesis: Master thesis


This study examines the tension between values-based management and self-management within a transnational firm. Using theories about organizational power, identity regulation and motivation, we analyze a series of interviews conducted with employees in the packaging department at Novo Nordisk. We find that attempts by managers to influence the values of workers are largely unsuccessful: while their intent is to create intrinsically-motivated employees whose behavior is guided by Novo Nordisk values, in reality the employees are mainly influenced by values of their own choosing, or by extrinsic motivations such as monitoring and sanctioning. Ultimately, instead of a value-based environment, Novo Nordisk has created a pay-for-performance culture. Our findings touch upon several long-standing puzzles within organization theory, such as the tension between control and autonomy, and between formal and informal systems. The thesis’ conclusion list a number of suggestions as to how this study can form the basis for fruitful future research, using alternate sites and methodologies.

EducationsMSc in Human Resource Management, (Graduate Programme) Final ThesisMSocSc in Human Resource Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages110