Values can be seen as abstract concepts or beliefs concerning a person’s goals and serve as guiding standards in his or her life. In other words, they describe what is fundamentally important to a person and therefore form a main part of an individual’s identity.
The psychologist Shalom Schwartz has elaborated a widely accepted value model that consists of 10 human value types. These are ordered along two major dimensions: openness to change vs. conservation and self-enhancement vs. self-transition (see Figure). Extensive research in numerous countries has confirmed the validity of this model across cultures. However, cultures may differ in their value priorities.
Achievement: personal success through demonstrating competence according to social standards (ambitious, successful, capable, influential)
Self-Direction: independent thought and action—choosing, creating, exploring (creativity, freedom, independent, choosing own goals, curious)
Security: safety, harmony, and stability of society, of relationships, and of self (family security, national)
Power: social status and prestige; control or dominance over people and resources (authority, social power, wealth, preserving one’s public image)
Tradition: respect, commitment, and acceptance of the customs and ideals that traditional culture or religion provide (devout, respect for tradition, humble, moderate)
Conformity: restraint of actions, inclinations, and impulses likely to upset or harm others and violate social expectations or norms (self-discipline, politeness, honoring parents and elders, obedience)
Benevolence: preservation and enhancement of the welfare of people with whom one is in frequent personal contact (helpful, honest, forgiving, loyal, responsible)
Universalism: understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection for the welfare of all people and for nature (equality, social justice, wisdom, broadminded, protecting the environment, unity with nature, a world of beauty)
Stimulation: excitement, novelty, and challenges (daring, a varied life, an exciting life)
Hedonism: personal pleasure or sensual gratification (pleasure, enjoying life, self-indulgent)