A multicultural and multilingual tertiary environment—the North-West University (NWU), with an endorsed corporate identity—had recently gone through an incorporation process (where other tertiary institutions had been merged into the main institutional structure). This created an ideal environment for an article aimed at the relationship between employees' perceptions of how effective the institution upheld its values and the continued quality of its employee relationships. The university consists of three independent campuses, each with their own corporate identity, ethos and employer–employee relationship structure. This article sets out to determine the nature of the NWU's employer–employee relationships and employees' perceptions of the institution's newly established corporate identity. Furthermore, values, integrity, commitment, accountability and respect were only recently established and are currently in a process of being incorporated as institutional philosophy drivers into the corporate identity of the NWU. Against this background, the following research question is asked: what is the relationship between NWU employees' perceptions of the institution's values and employer–employee relationships? The article indicates that there is a connection between the do-value, integrity and the establishment of a communal relationship between the institution and its employees. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.