Asee peer logo

Values-Congruent vs. Values-Artifact Leadership: How Are They Different?

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Assessment of Engineering Leadership Skills

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development Division

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Gary L. Winn West Virginia University

visit author page

Gary Winn teaches an experimental course in effective leadership strategies at West Virginia University for civil engineering and safety management students. He has written recently about training methods that maximize both leader development opportunities and training effectiveness.

visit author page


Jeremy M. Slagley Indiana University of Pennsylvania

visit author page

Dr. Jeremy Slagley, CIH, CSP, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Safety Sciences of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and father of eight. He is a 1993 West Point graduate. He retired from 20 years of active duty as an Air Force Bioenvironmental Engineer officer engaged in industrial hygiene, environmental health, and emergency response. His final assignment was leading a Flight of 44 military and civilian professionals to protect the occupational and environmental health of a depot base population of over 25,000 people.

visit author page

Download Paper |


With leadership being the topic of many conference presentations, we see more and more institutions saying they are ‘values-driven.’ They have signs and literature and business cards informing the public that they are ‘values-driven’ so it must be true; their leadership style surely must be authentic.

But before we think about changing an organizational culture to attain an authentic, values-driven culture, upper management must examine its own values and codify them by using some form of validated instrument. When we exemplify those values, and ensure congruency in our own artifactual, espoused and actual values, then we’re ready to raise authenticity in our company. Congruency between words and actions demonstrates authenticity. This is especially true with regard to the immense safety responsibilities shouldered by project engineers and safety managers. When a safety professional’s behavior is manifested because it’s the right thing to do, it reflects authentic leadership and not just literature and business cards. This authentic leadership leads to authentic values-driven culture.

The values-driven culture is essential for safety because the safety professional or project engineer is not omnipresent to the workers to direct every behavior. Every individual must become a leader. Authentic leaders can exist at all levels of an organization; a forklift driver does not need the title CEO or foreman to manifest his actual values in voluntarily instructing a new employee in the virtues of inspecting the truck’s brakes every day whether the rules require it or not.

Organizational leaders, including those directly responsible for safety, must act congruent to their artifactual and espoused values to foster values-driven culture. Organizational research conducted over the past twenty years by Schein1,2 or Ott3, for example suggests that any mis-match between espoused values and values-in-use among organizational leaders causes morale problems because employees see that what is professed is not what we actually do. As Hannah4 points out, authentic leaders are continually under some level of scrutiny.

The question for educators is how to teach leadership to future safety professionals and project engineers. There appears to be a mismatch between what educational institutions claim and what employers receive as new graduates. However leadership has been taught for years in schools like the military academies with an all-encompassing model of development. Most safety professionals and project engineers will not come from the military academies and must have a model based on classroom experiences. This paper reviews the relevant sociological and psychological research associated with values-in-use leadership, and offers a model for classroom leadership development. There is limited data to demonstrate validity of the model, but promising feedback from students.

Winn, G. L., & Slagley, J. M. (2016, June), Values-Congruent vs. Values-Artifact Leadership: How Are They Different? Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27177

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015