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Unlocking Leadership Potential with the Competing Values Framework

Jun 11, 2023 | 0 comments

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Jun 11, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


The results from different studies, academic testing and researches for over 25 years shows that Competing Values Framework is a model that is broadly applicable and fosters leaders who are successful, improves effectiveness of an organization and promotes creation of value. Cameron et al (1999) adds that the Competing Values Framework premises contain four competing values within each enterprise: create, collaborate, control and compete. These values tend to compete in a sense for the organization’s limited resources such as time, funding and people.  How the organization’s leadership responds to the created tension between these competing values will eventually shape the practices, culture, products and innovation of the company.


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According to Cameron (2006), the Competing Values Framework first emerged during the organizational culture and effectiveness research and ever since many studies has validated it. Organizational effectiveness concept is simple to understand but deceptive. Quinn (1990) asks how we know the effectiveness of an organization than the other. To satisfactorily answer this question, it is important to consider that not all organization leaders and organizations will reach a consensus on the meaning of the effectiveness of their organization. Moreover, how does an organization’s culture get assessed and understand if one culture of an organization is different from another?

According to Belasen et al (2008), managers and different leaders of organizations confront regularly issues such as how to organize and utilize the resources, how to innovate and how to grow collectively and change as one system. Therefore, leaders must learn how to confront these and other related issues while also recognizing that doing so effectively and within the organizational cultures scope require the everyday’s tension’s awareness that is found within their own organizations. Thus, these competing positive tensions make up the Competing Values Framework (Cameron et al, 1999).

Cameron (2006) explains that the x- axis or the horizontal axis of the competing values  framework indicates  the organizational focus’ tension as reflected  in a contrast between person oriented and internal focus(towards left) and organization-oriented and external focus (upwards right). Similarly, the vertical axis or the y axis indicates differing perspective tension  on the structure of the organization as shown in a contrast between change and interest in flexibility(toward the top) and  control and an interest in stability(toward the bottom).

Furthermore, Quinn (1990) explains that every quadrant has two quadrants that are complementary-they are on the either sides, and one highly contrasted quadrant that is directly diagonal.

Competing Values Framework and individual outcomes

Belasen et al (2008) explains that the questionnaire for assessment has been developed within the competing values formwork to illustrate three dimensions. They include:

  1. The purposes or the future outcomes that an individual desires to achieve
  2. The current individual practices
  3. Approach of leadership of each individual of a team or an organization

According to Cameron et al (1999), people who are aligned among the dimensions of practices, purposes and people will be effective than individuals or managers who are not aligned at all. The Competing Values Framework illustrates various tensions in the way definition of effectiveness is done. Cameron (2006) further elaborates that the main message of Competing Values Framework is that despite the various ways of giving definition to individuals effectiveness, it is of great importance that people appropriately align themselves to their own definition of effectiveness. Once aligned, individuals can identify their sweet spot of innovation and realize positive outcomes they desire.

According to Quinn (1990), the assessment evaluates only three approaches to innovation, change and growth, that is the purposes, practices and people. It then aligns practices and behavior with the results desired. Belasen et al (2008) points out that if an individual fall the collaborative quadrant which emphasizes morale, cohesion, training and human resource. The quadrant further represents an intersection between person oriented and internal focus. The leadership type is a mentor, facilitator and a team builder and the value drivers are communication, commitment and development.

In the create quadrant, an individual focus broadly on picture and ideas, take risks and is very agile in their resources and actions they cultivate. The leader types are entrepreneur, innovator and visionary and the value drivers are transformation, innovative outputs and agility (Cameron et al, 1999).

The quadrant for compete emphasizes bottom line measures and profit and is underlined by rational action concept. It represents an intersection between individual oriented and external focus. Individuals in this quadrant do things quickly to gain immediately, focus heavily on making profits and acquire resources relentlessly to give them an advantage. The leader types are producer, competitor and hard driver (Cameron, 2006).

The control quadrant is an intersection between process oriented and internal focus. Individuals in this quadrant focus on continuous improvement minimize risks and are strategic in their resources and actions they cultivate. The leader types are organizer, monitor and coordinator and the value drivers are timeliness, effectiveness, uniformity and consistency.

My strengths and weaknesses from the Competing Values Framework assessment

After doing the personal assessment on Competing Values Framework, it showed that my strengths and weaknesses on leadership and managerial skills

My Strengths

  1. Mentor

From my personal assessment, it came out that being a good mentor is one of my strengths because of listening to the employees’ personal problems always. Moreover, treatment to every individual in the organization from me is always caring and sensitive. Similarly, concern and empathy is seen when listening or even dealing with the employees is always shown by me. Therefore, my mentorship roles come out clearly as the needs of the employees and problems are always listened to by me. 

  1. Facilitator

Facilitation is another of my discovered strengths in my possession. By constantly coming up with consensual resolution in the organization whenever an openly expressed difference among the employees is brought to me or comes to my attention. In such cases by holding open discussions among the groups with conflicting opinions often, examine the key differences among the employees or the group members then conclusively finding a solution with all the parties involved. Furthermore, by encouraging participation of every group member always when making of decisions in a group and lastly building consensus in the unit of work.

  1. Monitor

By keeping track of everything that goes around the work unit and ensuring that rules of compliance are adhered to by the employees makes monitoring one of my strengths. Furthermore, I always make comparisons on reports, record and immediately detect any discrepancy made in the documents in addition to checking of mistakes and errors in the reports.

  1. Producer

Another of my strengths discovered is being producer. This is because of always clarifying the importance of achieving the goals of work unit and pushing the organization to realize its objectives. Moreover, by seeking to improve the technical capacity of the work group and seeing that the organization delivers on the laid down goals. Furthermore, my dedication and strive to maintain the orientation of the results in the organization validates that strength. 

  1. Broker

Lastly, being a broker is one of strengths that came out after the Competing Value Framework assessment. This is because of exerting influence upward in the organization and freely getting access to the mangers of higher levels in the organization. Similarly, persuasively selling of my ideas to the higher leveled managers and influencing decisions at the higher levels is always easy for me.


As much as discovery of my strengths came out, weaknesses that came out were in coordination, directing and innovation.

  1. Coordinator

The discovery was that am a poor coordinator because of never maintaining tight control on the logistics in addition to maintaining of a well organized and coordinated unit in the organization. Moreover, solving of the problem of scheduling in the work unit has been a problem. By never anticipating problems of workflow to avoid crisis in the organization and therefore, bringing coordination and sense of order in my work unit has been a problem.

  1. Director

From the assessment, the discovery was that one of weaknesses is being a poor director because of never clarifying the purpose of the unit continually and making the role of the unit very clear. Additionally, by never getting the unit to realize the goals expected. Furthermore, by never clarifying the direction and priorities of the unit and never clarifying the unit’s objectives regularly makes me a poor director.

  1. Innovator

By never come up with new inventive ideas therefore makes me less innovative. Furthermore, I rarely search for potential improvements and innovations for the organization. Furthermore, I rarely experiment with new procedures and concepts besides solving the problems in clear and creative ways.

What I can do to fix my weakness

In fixing and improving on my weaknesses, explanation of a cross functional concept to my team and should be done always to help members work effectively together. Furthermore, By trying to understand problems faced by the employees and the management principles of the work unit.

Similarly, it is important to learn how to set clear priorities when having any goals. Moreover, learning to develop measurable goals and learn to identify vertically or laterally that are not aligned in the organization should be done by me. Creation of action plans that are time specific to implement the goals and engage the employees always in the process of goal setting should be done by me.


Cameron, K. S., & Quinn, R. E. (1999). Diagnosing and changing organizational culture: Based on the competing values framework. Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley.

Cameron, K. S. (2006). Competing values leadership: Creating value in organizations.     Cheltenham, UK: E. Elgar Pub.

Quinn, R. E. (1990). Becoming a master manager: A competency framework. New York: Wiley.

Belasen, A., & Frank, N. (March 07, 2008). Competing values leadership: quadrant roles and personality traits. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 29, 2, 127-143. 

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