The Schwartz Theory Of Basic Values

Schwartz’s theory of basic values is a psychology term which is a follow up and deeper researched concept derived from Abraham Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’. It has been stated by Schwartz that values are essentially motivational goals, whereas, basic human values are formed from basic human needs, thus, dividing this concept into three groups. These are the basic human biological needs of an individual, the need to connect and socialize with others in order to coordinate actions and feel a sense of belonging, and finally, needing to be in a group to both flourish and thrive. Within his theory there are ten basic values. These are;

  1. Benevolence – Preservation of contact with the ones whom you are closest to. {family mainly} {being honest, responsible, true friendship, forgiving and mature love are other examples}
  2. Universalism – Appreciating, looking after and protection of all people and all nature. {social justice, world peace, wisdom, unity with nature, enviromental protection and equality}
  3. Self-direction – Thinking independently and acting from them. {Creating, exploring, freedom, curious, choosing own goals, independent and choosing}
  4. Security – Having a sense of stability within society, within relationships and of ones self, sense of safety and finally harmony within everyday living and relationships. {national security, reciprocation of favors, family security, social order and sense of belonging}
  5. Conformity – Restraining actions, as well as, the restraint of impulses and inclinations that would potentially cause harm or upset to others, thus, violating society expectations. {self-discipline, politeness, honoring parents and those older than you and being obedient}
  6. Hedonism – Having both sensuous gratification and pleasure for oneself {enjoying life, pleasure and self-indulgent}
  7. Achievement – Demonstrating competence within social standards, therefore, displaying personal success. {successful, ambitious, influential, capable}
  8. Tradition – Being respectful and accepting of customs and ideals that one’s culture and or religion. {humble, accepting your own portion in life, devout and respectful of tradition}
  9. Stimulation – Consists of change in life, excitement and novelty. {having an exciting, varied and daring life}
  10. Power – Having a social status, prestige and control/dominance over resources and people. {wealth, social recognition, preserving own pubic image, authority and power}

Within the ten values there are overlapping aspects resulting in a closed-loop diagram that also has a 2-dimensional aspect to it. The 2-dimensional part is the idea of aspects that are opposite to each other on the diagram are competing values. Some values are also conflicting i.e. the pursuit of  power and the pursuit of universalist values. The left side of the diagram shows values that have personal focus, whereas, the right hand side is a focus of values that hold social focus. Similarly the top half of the diagram shows anxiety-free values and the bottom values that are anxiety-based.

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