A mutual value in an organization is a collection of characteristics that are valued by all members of the organization and have an impact on its community, procedures, and policies. All workers are required to adhere to the company’s common principles because doing so fosters consistency and sustainability by cultivating trust with other parties. In light of this, the aim of this paper is to look at how United World maintains its common values through its programs and activities. The paper begins with a literature review that offers a brief overview of United World as well as the common beliefs held by United World’s members and partners. After that, the methodology section covers the various activities that United World engages in that reflect the organizations shared values. To do this, the author carries out a s review of previous programs, projects, and activities of United World. The methodology section is followed by a discussion section in which the author determines the extent to which United World has remained true to its shared values. This is important as it answers the major research question which is, To what extent has United World remained true to its shared values? Finally, this paper ends with a conclusion that summarizes the entire paper.
This section provides an Overview of United Worlds history and management as well as the shared values of the organization. Having a deeper understanding of the United Worlds history, management, and core values is vital in meeting the research objective.
Brief Overview of United World
UWC Mission: The United World aims to unite people of different nations and cultures to promote peace and sustainability.
UWC is an educational institution with headquarters in United Kingdom. The institution offers two years of pre-university education, and the working languages include English, Spanish and French. Furthermore, the institution offers shorter educational programmer hence increasing the number of people who get an opportunity to access the United World college experience. The organization was established by Kurt Hahn in 1962 in the Vale of Glamorama in Wales. The founder had a vision of a college that would educate young people of ages 16 to 20 to inspire them to become the leaders (UWC, n.pg). The selection would be based on merit and therefore it would disregard social, economic and cultural factors. Since Kurt knew that some of the of the students would hail from low-income backgrounds, he designed the schools system in a way that the scholarship program would assist the students to study in the institution. Today, there are 17 United World Colleges which helps young people to realize their dreams of higher education. The current president of United World is Queen Noor of Jordan, a role she core-shared with the former South African President until his death in 2013 (UWC, n.pg). The organization is a great champion of social responsibility and in its website; it emphasizes the need for all its stakeholders to believe that they can take action to make a difference at the regional, national and international level.
United World Core Values
So that UWC can remain true to its founders dreams, the institutions management has identified the guiding values that must act as a moral compass for the organization’s activities, programs, and systems (UWC, n.pg). These values include:
Understanding different cultures.
Taking personal responsibility and demonstrating integrity.
Maintaining mutual responsibility and respecting everyone.
Showing Compassion and serving others.
Demonstrating respect for the environment.
Challenging oneself to do greater things.
Taking action and being an example to others.
UWC expects adherence from every stakeholder to the above-stated values to instill public confidence in the institution and contribute to greater good. Therefore, there is need to examine how the institutions management decisions, activities, and approaches to issues such as admission reflect these core values since their success can only be judged by their practical application (Soltani, Bahram & Maupetit, p.260). This is vital in answering the research question which is, To what extent has United World remained true to its shared values?
In this section, the researcher collected data that was later used in the discussion section. The author used secondary data. To gather information, the researcher searched through United Worlds website and other appropriate sources such as Google Scholar to come up with reliable information. The research design used in this research was descriptive research in which the author collected as much information about the organizations programs, practices, and activities (Taylor et al, p.87). This study was based on the interpretivism philosophy in which the author strived to determine the values reflected in United Worlds actions and activities.
The admission process of a learning institution communicates tones of information about the organizations commitment to upholding its core values. In this light, the research revealed that United World admits students from over 155 countries across the world and that the admission criterion is based on demonstrated potential or ability (UWC, n.pg). For students to be admitted at United World, they must show intellectual curiosity, active commitment, social competence, integrity & personal responsibility as well as enthusiasm to apply at United World. Therefore, there is no discrimination on the applicants by color sex, sexual orientation or economic background. During the application process, the students must illustrate their commitment to making positive change not only in their lives but also in the communities they hail from (UWC, n.pg). To ensure that students of all backgrounds get an opportunity at the United World, the institution’s management maintains a scholarship program that finances students who come from financially unstable backgrounds.
As well, the platforms available at an organization are an illustration of how committed the institution is about upholding its core values. When it comes to United World, the organization has the UWC Hub which is an online web and mobile application platform that brings the United World Community together to connect with each other and contribute to common good (UWC, n.pg). Through the platform, the students can volunteer and seek out opportunities to support community initiatives, act or request for a mentor or interact with people who are nearby and therefore increase the social circle. On its website, UWC states that the purpose of UWC Hub is to encourage engagement and positive energy that comes from bringing people together for the good of all (UWC, n.pg). The data shared by a user on UWC Hub is protected under the International Data Privacy Statement which expresses the institutions commitment to safeguarding user information and data privacy.
Furthermore, the environmental conservation efforts undertaken by an organization is another way for an organization to implement and remain true to its shared values. Involvement in activities aimed at promoting environmental sustainability illustrates an organizations willingness to be a responsible neighbor to the surrounding communities (Soltani et al., p.264). This approach is highly supported by the stakeholder theory which stipulates that the organization has a responsibility to add value to all the stakeholders and not only to shareholders (Harrison Jeffrey &Wicks, p.99). In this light, United World runs several environmental preservation efforts aimed at promoting sustainability. For instance, Students at UWC designed renewable energy project that would generate energy from wind and therefore reduce the institution’s reliance on electricity (UWC, n.pg). To date, the institution has laid wind turbines, and therefore this project is well underway. The award of Zayed Future Energy to the United World is an illustration that the external stakeholders recognize the efforts that United World has taken to preserve the environment (UWC n.pg). As well, the institution uses a bio digester to produce methane gas for heating water within the school. This spirit of environmental consciousness is also seen in the alumni of United World. For instance, Tal Fineberg who is a United World alumnus has in the last two decades been leading biodiversity conservation efforts in Swaziland (UWC, n.pg).
Goethe stated, you can easily judge the character of a man by the way he treats those who can do nothing for him. This is also true for organizations since the way an institution treats the less fortunate in society indicates the character and attitude of that institution. This may make or break the institution since it is by extending a helping hand to the needy that an organization builds trust with the community. In this light, United World runs the UWC Refugee Initiative in which it offers educational opportunities to refugee students so that they can overcome their circumstances at birth and become change-makers in their communities (UWC, n.pg). The institution understands that refugees are five times more likely to miss education due to their living conditions and therefore, UWC community takes the responsibility to provide retribution for these children through affirmative action. The organization liaises with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), governments and non-governmental organizations to guarantee diversity and authenticate the suitability of the applicants (UWC, n.pg). This process enables the organization to identify and educate refugees from conflict areas such as Syria, Yemen, Southern Sudan and Somalia.
This section evaluates the extent to which each of the initiative, program or activity discussed above reflects United Worlds shared values.
The admission process at United World is free and fair, and therefore it highlights the organizations understanding and respect for different cultures since no one is discriminated due to their origin (Soltani et al., p.274). As well, the selection criteria asks the students to demonstrate traits such as integrity, willingness to make social change, intellectual curiosity and social competence hence reflecting the values of personal challenge, idealism & personal responsibility and integrity. As well, the scholarship program at the university is an indicator of compassion and love for the less fortunate in society. Secondly, the UWC Hub is another way in which United World implements its shared values. For instance, by bringing together learners from different backgrounds, the institution fosters cultural understanding and celebration of diversity (Harrison et al., p.97). Besides, the platform instills a sense of idealism into the students since it gives them an opportunity to become mentors to other students. Additionally, the platform promotes action and personal example because it makes it possible for students to volunteer in their communities and therefore contribute to the betterment of society.
The United Worlds energy conservation efforts illustrate the institution’s willingness to be a responsible neighbor to the communities it serves (Soltani et al., p.264). Though the chief mission of the institution is to provide education, it understands that it has a responsibility to promote the welfare of the members of the community. As well, the energy conservation efforts express the institutions respect for the environment (American Library Association, n.pg). The fact that United World matches its intention to protect the environment with the relevant actions and initiatives is a clear indication of the institution’s commitment to take action and be an example to other organizations. Through the UWC Refugee Initiative, United World expresses compassion and service to the vulnerable in society, and this also brings an aspect of personal responsibility since the institution takes it upon itself to take care of the less fortunate in society. Furthermore, the UWC Refugee Initiative sends a message to other organizations that they should be active contributors in solving the problems that are facing the world today.
The research above has analyzed the extent to which United World has remained true to its shared values. These shared values are such as personal responsibility, respect for the environment, a celebration of differences among others. This research has revealed that some of the ways United World implements its shared values is through the admission policy and process, the UWC Hub, environmental conservation efforts and UWC Refugee Program. Therefore, its prudent to state that to a great extent; United World reflects its shared values in its activities, operations, policies, and programs.
American Library Association. “Core Values, Ethics, and Core Competencies.” ALA Policy Manual (2014).
Harrison, Jeffrey S., and Andrew C. Wicks. “Stakeholder theory, value, and firm performance.” Business ethics quarterly 23.1 (2013): 97-124.
Soltani, Bahram, and Christian Maupetit. “Importance of core values of ethics, integrity and accountability in the European corporate governance codes.” Journal of Management & Governance 19.2 (2015): 259-284.
Taylor, Steven J., Robert Bogdan, and Marjorie DeVault. Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource. John Wiley & Sons, 2015.
United World Colleges. UWC, 2017, www.uwc.org/.