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From an Abstract Concept to a “Clearly Understood” Concept

Some intellectual, theoretical, and practical frameworks have contributed to explaining values and elucidating them in a general sense. However, they have not often translated them into well-defined concepts. Among the prominent human and institutional values is the value of respect, which combines noble human emotions with professional and proficient performance. However, like other values, it remains an abstract concept. How can this abstract concept be transformed into a well-defined entity as an institutional value? And how can this value be instilled and reinforced among employees? What behaviors should employees exhibit to make others feel respected?

23 Dhu al-Qa'dah 1444, corresponding to June 12, 2023.

Values Series (Article Two: Foundational Values - Fundamental Issues)

The employee in the organization may think that he fully understands the value of respect and that his parents instilled this value in him, believing he knows how to treat people with respect. However, his professional behavior within the organization does not reflect that he embodies the value of respect because he has not grasped its profound professional meaning.

The researcher in the field of learning and brain research, David Sousa, argues that for an individual to learn concepts well and have them remain in his memory, four characteristics must be present: they must be vital and linked to survival, emotionally charged, meaningful, and logical. (Sousa 1998)

We see that the best approach to transform values from a mere concept into a professional and meaningful concept, logical for individuals and applicable by them, is to embody them. This means converting the value from an abstract word into a clearly defined entity theoretically. This involves defining the value, analyzing it into components and sub-values, clarifying and illustrating the positive returns and fruits resulting from an individual adopting the value system. It also includes highlighting the positive benefits that accrue to the institution when providing a nurturing and supportive environment for these values.


Following this, there should be an explanation of the risks and expected threats arising from not genuinely adopting values or lacking supportive measures. This is aimed at enhancing the emotional aspect in individuals, maximizing the appreciation of the value's importance for them to acquire and defend it. One of the components of the value embodiment process is elucidating the indicators reflecting the behaviors required from the individual to embody the value, or the actions required from the institution to create a nurturing environment for the values.
The aim of this is to build a reference scientific framework that stakeholders involved in empowering workers within the value system of their institutions can refer to. This framework enables them to extract, formulate, and develop standards, it also supports them in constructing empowerment programs and educational and training tools that have an impact on the targeted service, and it is important to emphasize that the task of embodying values is not solely the responsibility of the employees and officials within the institution, rather, it is the task of consultants and experts in the field. (For further details, you can refer to the Arrowad Guide in Embodying Values).

Dr.Sa’ad Ibrahim
AL-Khalaf

Founding Partner & VP, Arrowad Group,

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