Competing Values Framework

Knowledge Center

Summary, forum, best practices, expert tips and information sources.

29 items • 476.837 visits


What is the Competing Values Framework? Explanation

The Competing Values Framework of Robert Quinn and Rohrbaugh is a theory that was developed initially from research done on the major indicators of effective organizations. Based on statistical analyses of a comprehensive list of effectiveness indicators, Quinn and Rohrbaugh (1983) discovered two major dimensions underlying conceptions of effectiveness.

Competing Values in Organizational Effectiveness

  • The first dimension is related to organizational focus, from an internal emphasis on the well-being and development of people in the organization towards an external focus on the well-being and development of the organization itself.
  • The second dimension differentiates the organizational preference for structure and represents the contrast between stability and control and flexibility and change. Together the two dimensions form four quadrants.

The Competing Values Framework got its name because the criteria within the four models at first seem to carry conflicting messages. Organizations must be adaptable and flexible, but we want them at the same time to be stable and controlled. A paradox.

Each quadrant of the framework represents one of four major models of organization and management theory (Quinn 1988):

  1. Human Relations Model. Places a lot of emphasis on flexibility and internal focus. It stresses cohesion, morale, and human resources development as criteria for effectiveness.
  2. Open Systems Model. Emphasizes flexibility and external focus, and stresses readiness, growth, resource acquisition and external support.
  3. Rational Goal Model. Emphasizes control and an external focus. It regards planning, goal setting, productivity and efficiency as being effective.
  4. Internal Process Model. Emphasizes control and an internal focus, and stresses the role of information management, communication, stability and control.
Quinn, Rohrbaugh Competing Values Framework analyzing organizational effectiveness

Competing Values in Leadership Roles

Another variant of the Competing Values Framework deals with leadership. Quinn uses his competing values framework of organizational effectiveness to organize the literature on leadership. Eight categories of leader behavior, or roles, emerge from his review of the literature. The figure on the right plots these eight roles onto the same framework as for the organizational effectiveness.


The resulting model of leadership was derived theoretically and represents "a hypothetical rather than an empirical statement about the perceptual understructure of leadership".


Quinn argues that more effective managers have the ability to play multiple, even competing leadership roles. Managers are expected to play all of these roles. And they should simultaneously consider and balance the competing demands that are represented by each set of expectations.

quinn leadership roles

The Competing Values Framework can be used in organizational context. It can be used as a strategic tool to develop supervision and management programs. It can also be used to help organizations diagnose their existing and desired cultures. Furthermore, it can be seen as a tool to examine organizational gaps. Another function might be to use it as a teaching tool for practicing managers. Or to help interpret and understand various organizational functions and processes. Another application is: to help organizational members better understand the similarities and differences of managerial leadership roles.

Special Interest Group

Competing Values Framework Special Interest Group.

Special Interest Group (190 members)


Forum discussions about the Competing Values Framework. Below you can ask a question about this topic, share your experiences, report a new development, or explain something.

Start a new topic about Competing Values Framework


Culture Types at the Basis of the Competing Value Framework
In an article called “Organizational Culture and Organizational Effectiveness: A Meta-Analytic Investigation of the Competing Values Framework’s Theoretical Suppositions”, Hartnell and Kinicki disting...
Dominating Values During the 4 Stages of Organization Development
Quinn assumes that the development of new organizations has four successive stages and each can be associated with a dominant perspective. He distinguishes successively:
1. Entrepreneurial phase....
Comparison Competing Values Framework versus Balanced Scorecard?
How does the Competing Values framework compare to the balanced scorecard approach?...
🔥 NEW Personality Traits of Leaders and Competing Values
By applying the Competing Values Framework, Belasen and Frank (2008) in their research claim that successful leaders need to balance their activities along 2 main areas, each with 2 dimensions:
Competing Values Companies Cases
I am looking for companies that have used the Competing Values Framework (Cameron & Quinn) for their organisational change and how they applied the framework....
Online Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument
Hello colleagues, an organizational culture assessment instrument based on the competing values framework is now online available at
It's free for individual participants so take ...

Best Practices

The best, top-rated topics about the Competing Values Framework. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about the Competing Values Framework. Here you will find professional advices by experts.

Key Competencies of Each Leadership Role

What Competencies are Typical for a Leadership Type?
Quinn mentions the following key competencies for the leadership roles in the Competing Values Framework: - INNOVATOR ...

Integrated Competing Values Framework

Refining the Competing Values Framework...
Vilkinas and Cartan (2001) argued there needs to be a 9th (or 5th) factor or role in the competing values framework. A s...
Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding the Competing Values Framework. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.

Corporate Culture

Organizational Development
What is corporate culture. Changing Corporate Culture. Competing Values Model...

How to Become a Master Manager?

Introduction to Managing People. Know Thyself
This good introduction presentation is about how to be a Master Manager. By J. S. Osland, D. A. Kolb, I. M. Rubin and M....

Eight Roles

Key Competencies
Presentation on the Competing Values Framework with nice graphs about the 8 leadership roles from Quinn and their key co...

Introduction to Leadership

Leadership Training
Presentation about Leadership that explains key characteristics of leaders as seen by several authors. The presentation ...

Competing Values Diagrams

Organizational Development
Download and edit the 12manage PowerPoint model for limited personal, educational and business use. Republishing in int...

Research Links

Jump to further research sources regarding the Competing Values Framework.













Compare with Competing Values Framework:  Leadership Continuum  |  EPIC ADVISERSEmotional Intelligence  |  Framing  |  Groupthink  |  Path-Goal Theory  |  Theory X Theory Y  |  Expectancy Theory  |  Herzberg Two Factor Theory  |  Leadership Styles  |  Results-Based Leadership  |  Ashridge Mission Model  |  Spiral Dynamics  |  Situational Leadership  |  Level 5 Leadership  |  Servant-Leadership

Return to Management Hub: Change & Organization  |  Communication & Skills  |  Ethics & Responsibility  |  Human Resources  |  Leadership

More Management Methods, Models and Theory

Special Interest Group

Do you know a lot about the Competing Values Framework? Become our SIG Leader

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2023 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V16.1 - Last updated: 6-2-2023. All names ™ of their owners.