What are Individual Values?

Cite this article as:"What are Individual Values?," in The Business Professor, updated July 6, 2020, last accessed October 22, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/what-are-individual-values/.

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What are Individual Values?

Values refer to what is important to an individual. Values are stable feelings of importance that arise pursuant to one’s influences, such as life experiences, interactions, and relationships. They are shaped early in life and become increasingly stable or permanent throughout life.

Values are the guiding forces behind decision-making, perception, and behavior.

Managers seek to understand their employee’s values. This understanding allows the manager to structure the work responsibilities and goals to meet the individual employee’s values.

Types of Values

There are several typologies of values.

Rokeach Value Survey

For example, the Rokeach Value Survey lists 18 terminal and 18 instrumental values.

  • Terminal Values – Terminal values refer generally to statuses that individuals hope to achieve throughout or at the end of life.
    • True Friendship
    • Mature Love
    • Self-Respect
    • Happiness
    • Inner Harmony
    • Equality
    • Freedom
    • Pleasure
    • Social Recognition
    • Wisdom
    • Salvation
    • Family Security
    • National Security
    • A Sense of Accomplishment
    • A World of Beauty
    • A World at Peace
    • A Comfortable Life
    • An Exciting Life
  • Instrumental Values – Instrumental values deal with what is acceptable conduct and beliefs.
    • Cheerfulness
    • Ambition
    • Love
    • Cleanliness
    • Self-Control
    • Capability
    • Courage
    • Politeness
    • Honesty
    • Imagination
    • Independence
    • Intellect
    • Broad-Mindedness
    • Logic
    • Obedience
    • Helpfulness
    • Responsibility
    • Forgiveness

To assess an individual’s values, s/he is asked to rank these values in order of importance. This allows for a hierarchical distribution of an individual’s value priority.

Schwartz Theory of Basic Values

Shalom H. Schwartz identified 10 basic values:

  • Power
    • Openness to change
    • Self-Direction – Independent thought and action—choosing, creating, exploring.
    • Stimulation – Excitement, novelty and challenge in life
  • Self-enhancement
    • Hedonism – Pleasure or sensuous gratification for oneself.
    • Achievement – Personal success through demonstrating competence according to social standards.
    • Power – Social status and prestige, control or dominance over people and resources.
  • Conservation
    • Security – Safety, harmony, and stability of society, of relationships, and of self.
    • Conformity – Restraint of actions, inclinations, and impulses likely to upset or harm others and violate social expectations or norms.
    • Tradition – Respect, commitment, and acceptance of the customs and ideas that one’s culture or religion provides.
  • Self-transcendence
    • Benevolence – Preserving and enhancing the welfare of those with whom one is in frequent personal contact (the ‘in-group’).
    • Universalism – Understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection for the welfare of all people and for nature.
  • Other
    • Spirituality was considered as an additional eleventh value, however, it was found that it did not exist in all cultures.

Allport-Vernon-Lindzey Study of Values

Allport and his colleagues, Vernon and Lindzey, created the Allport-Vernon-Lindzey Study of Values. The values scale outlined six major value types:

  • theoretical (discovery of truth),
  • economic (what is most useful),
  • aesthetic (form, beauty, and harmony),
  • social (seeking love of people),
  • political (power), and
  • religious (unity).

Hartman’s Systemic Values (Science of Value) or Hartman Value Profile

Robert S. Hartman, identified systemic values that expanded upon the concept of intrinsic and extrinsic values. He focused on boy what people value and how people value (cognitive scripts). Harman combined intrinsic, extrinsic, and systematic concepts into the Harman Value Profile, which contains 18 paired value-combination items, where nine of these items are positive and nine are negative. The individual values can be combined positively or negatively with one another in 18 logically possible ways.

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