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Values and value orientations in the background of European cultural traditions

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UDK 159.9:316.752(497.12)
Values and Value Orientations in the Background
of European Cultural Traditions
JANEK MUSEK, SLOVENIA
POVZETEK
VREDNOTE IN VREDNOSTNE USMERITVE V EVROPSKI KULTURNI TRADICIJI
Velike socialne spremembe, preobrazbe in tudi konflikti so pogosto povezani s
konfliktnostjo vrednotnih usmeritev skupin oziroma skupnosti, ki so vanje vklju-
čene (verske, etnične, nacionalne, socioekonomske in druge). Naše poznavanje
vrednot, vrednotnih usmeritev, sistemov in hierarhij v našem kulturnem prostoru
in njegovi pretekli zgodovini, pa je še vedno zelo skromno. V pričujočem pri-
spevku želim prikaz/iti rezultate naših psiholških raziskav vrednot in z njihovo
pomočjo odgovoriti na naslednja vprašanja:
1. Katere temeljne vrednotne usmeritve obstajajo pri slovenski populaciji,
2. kako so te usmeritve in posamezne vrednote povezane, organizirane in struk-
turirane,
3. kakšne razlike v vrednotnih sistemih in usmeritvah obstajajo med pomembnimi
skupinami,
4. kako se ti sistemi in usmeritve razvijajo in oblikujejo skozi življenje odraslih
posameznikov in
5. kakšne so implikacije poznavanja vrednotnih mehanizmov in procesov pri po-
jasnjevanju moralnih, socialnih in generacijskih konfliktov ter kriz, značilnih zp
naš čas in prostor.
Introduction
Major social conflicts are often connected with conflicting value orientations of
relevant groups or communities (religious, ethnic, national, socioeconomic, cultural).
Unfortunately, our knowledge of the values, value orientations and hierarchies of val-
ues which are commonly shared in our culture in this time is still deficient.
In this presentation I will expose a summarized review of our investigations con-
cerning the values and value orientations being rated by different samples of the Slo-
vene population. Briefly, I will concentrate upon the following four issues:
1. the implicit structure of values,
2. the developmental hierarchy of values,
3. the relation of our results to the existing cultural tradition in Europe, and
4. the implications of our results for the solution for some puzzling problems (as for
instance the value conflict between generations and the crisis of values).
Implicit structure of values
Some years ago, I suggested that values should be conceived as beliefs related to
the motivational goals on a very high level of generality (Musek, 1982). This more
general definition is in good accord with the more recent detailed definition of
Schwartz and Bilsky (1987). Thus, the universe of human values is hierarchically
structured. According to the majority of authors, who investigated the values by means
of empirical methods, the structure of human values is hierarchically organised
(Morris, 1956; Murray & Kluckhohn, 1951; Musek, 1993: Rokeach, 1973). Thus, the
structure of the values could be modeled by a hierarchy reaching from the most spe-
cific level of single values or valuable goals to more and more general levels of value
categories (see Figure 1).
According to the above mentioned theoretical assumption, several empirical
analyses of the universe of human values have been carried out in order to reveal the
implicit structure of values extending through the most general levels of the hierarchy.
With these analyses we intended to clarify some fundamental issues related to the psy-
chological theory of values. First, we intended to find the most general categories of
values, which are based on empirical data and second, we intended to discover the
inner structure of these most general categories of values. And finally, we intended to
find the possible relationship of the established categories of values with the age of the
subjects, for we have been curious to know if there exists also a developmental hierar-
chy of values.
In our empirical studies the Ust of 54 values was analysed by different methods
commonly used in psychological research (Table 1). The list (survey) of values was
presented to the various samples of subjects. The subjects have been asked to rate the
importance of each value included in the list on a subjective rating scale extending
from 1 to 100 points. The ratings of the subjects were then collected and put under
various statistical analyses including the multivariate analyses that allow us to reveal
the inner, implicit structure of the entire system of values being rated.
Table 1.
List of 54 values used in our studies.
HONESTY
SOCIABLE LIFE
LOVE FOR CHILDREN
BEING IN HARMONY WITH NATURE
KNOWLEDGE
GENEROSITY AND UNSELFISHNESS
DILIGENCE
LONGEVITY
REPUTATION IN SOCIETY
HARMONY WITH PARTNER
FREEDOM
MORAL PRINCIPLES
CONCORDANCE AND HARMONY BETWEEN PEOPLE
SUCCESSFUL CAREER
SPORTS AND RECREATION
FAITH IN GOD
COMFORTABLE LIFE
LOVE FOR HOMELAND
RESPECT FOR LAWS
COMPANIONSHIP AND SOLIDARITY
BEAUTY (ENJOYING BEAUTY)
PEACE IN THE WORLD
CREATIVE ACHIEVEMENTS
FIDELITY
CULTURAL CONCERN
GOOD SEXUAL RELATIONS
POWER AND INFLUENCE
MONEY AND WEALTH
PROGRESS OF HUMANITY
SELF-FULFILMENT
HEALTH
LEISURE TIME
NATIONAL EQUITY
PERSONAL ATTRACTIVENESS
FULL AND EXCITING LIFE
SECURITY
FAMILY HAPPINESS
REST AND PEACE
JUSTICE
GOOD FOOD AND DRINKS
FRIENDSHIP
WISDOM
EQUALITY BETWEEN PEOPLE
NATIONAL PRIDE
GLORY AND ADMIRATION
FREE MOVEMENT
JOY AND ENTERTAINMENT
HOPE IN THE FUTURE
LOVE
DISCOVERING THE TRUTH
ORDER AND DISCIPLINE
ARTISTIC ENJOYMENT
POLITICAL SUCCESS
EXCEEDING AND SURPASSING OTHER PEOPLE
The overall results of our multivariate analyses (especially factor- and cluster
analyses) showed very convincingly that the subjects' in their ratings unconsciously
grouped different values into a number of categories. Moreover, these categories are
still correlated, thus forming new categories of a higher order of generality. To be
more precise, the results showed a well organized hierarchical structure of the uni-
verse of values being rated. This structure extends from the lowest, the most specific
level of single values, through the higher levels of value categories (middle range
categories and value types) to the most general superdimensions of values (Figure 1).
O O
/ SUPERDIMENSIONS OF VALUES
/
N
.O.
O O
VALUE TYPES
/
o -7 /\ tN>
o
o o 0 o
"v.
O
MIDDLE RANGE CATEGORIES OF VALUES
A\
OOO
A m t
/t
/i\
ooooooooooo
A
oo
SINGLE VALUES
J
Figure 1. Structural hierarchy of values. It encompasses different levels of gen-
erality which extend from single values to value superdimensions.
From the results we can clearly identify the values that compose the categories
of values on different levels of the entire value hierarchy and therefore we can inter-
pret the implicit meaning of these categories (see Figure 2).
For instance, the results of factor analyses confirmed the existence of two very
large dimensions or types of values (Dionysian and Apollonian) and four more spe-
cific but still very general categories: the hedonistic values concerning life pleasures,
entertainment and sensuality, the potency values concerning the ideals of achieve-
ment, success and reputation, the moral values concerning the social and ethical ide-
als, the duties and responsibilities, and the fulfillment values concerning the self-
actualizing goals, the sense of life, the spiritual and self- transcending ideals. Interest-
ingly enough, the content of four subclusters resemble an ancient oriental classi-
fication of values. According to this classification, the values, emerging most early in
the life of a human being, have to do with life pleasures and satisfaction of sensual
and physical needs. At the next stage, the values connected with success, achievement
and reputation take place. In the next phase, the individual becomes more and more
occupied with the values regulating his duties and responsibilities. And finally, he
achieves the level of progressive orientation toward the values of inner life, of spiri-
tual life and self-transcendence.
DIONYSIAN
VALUES APOLLONIAN
VALUES
rlEDONISTK
VALUES POTENCY | MORAL
VALUES VALUES
STATUS
DEPUTATION
TRADITIONAL
MORALITY
PATRIOTISM DEMOCRATIC
SOCIETAL
FULFIL-
MENT
RELIGIOUS
VALUES
SELF-GROWTH
VALUES
COGNITIVE
VALUES
CULTURAL
VALUES
Figure 2. Structural hierarchy of values obtained in our studies.
Developmental hierarchy of values
In fact, the results of our investigation showed interesting connections between
the age of the subjects and the rated importance of values. Confronted with these re-
sults and associations we hypothesised that they may reflect not only a structural, but
also a developmental hierarchy. We assumed, that the rated importance of the main
value categories varies with the age or developmental stages of the individual person.
In order to test our assumptions we programmed a preliminary investigation.
We may hypothesise therefore that the relative importance of clustering values
will be shifted from hedonistic and potency values to moral and spiritual (self-growth)
values during the life span of individuals. In that case the developmental changes in
value orientations could be expected, reaching from orientation to hedonism and po-
tency in earlier periods of life, to orientation to moral and spiritual values in the latter
periods of life.
The results of our investigation definitely showed interesting connections be-
tween the age of the subjects and the rated importance of values. The correlations
between the age and the ratings for two largest and four more specific categories of
values are presented in the Table 2.
Table 2.
Correlation between categories of values and age.
CATEGORIES OF VALUES CORRELATION COEFFICIENTS
APOLLONIAN VALUES .27
DIONYSIAN VALUES -.51
hedonistic values -.24
potency values -.41
moral values .06
fulfillment values .41
The results clearly indicate that the importance of Dionysian values decreases,
and the importance of Apollonian values increases with the age of our subjects (see
also Figure 3). At a more specific level of value dimensions, the hedonistic values and
potency values tend to decrease and the fulfillment values tend to increase during the
life span of an adult person (moral values remaining more or less stagnant) (Figure 4).
FACTOR SCORES
0.6
0.4
O JZ
0
-0.2
-0.4
-0.6
-0.8
-1 - 19 20-25 25 -
AGE GROUPS
UfcLUE CATEGORIES
I APOLLONIAN EDIONYSIAN
Figure 3. Factor scores for apollonian and dionysian values by three age groups.
FACTOR SCORES
- 19 2Q-2S 2S -
AGE GROUPS
WLUE CATEGORIES
EZD
HEDONISTIC
ISS3
POTENCY
CHU
MORAL. [H3 FULFILMENT
Figure 4. Factor scores for four value types related to age groups.
Certainly, our results are only preliminary ones, but they are in accord with our
theoretically hypothesised developmental hierarchy of values (see Figure 5). Accord-
ing to our results, it is quite possible, that in the majority (with numerous exceptions
of course) we are, in a relative sense, shifting during our life-span from the hedonistic
value orientation in the first phase, to the potency values in the second phase, then to
the moral values in the third phase and finally to the fulfillment values in the fourth
phase.
Figure 5. Developmental hierarchy of values.
The cultural space of Central Europe: Shared value system?
The results obtained from our studies show that implicit structure of values in the
minds of Slovene subjects are in general agreement with many - if not all - value cate-
gories being traditionally highly credited (valuated) in Central, Western and Northern
Europe. Unfortunately, we are lacking more precise empirical evidence which would
allow exact comparison between the value systems of the adult population of Slovenia
and other countries. By a rather rough inspection, the implicit values of our samples
are closely shared with those parts of Europe, that belong to the so-called individual-
istic culture (Bond, 1988; Hofstede, 1980; Hui, 1986; Schwartz, 1990a, 1990b;
Schwartz & Bilsky, 1990). On the other hand, they departed in many aspects from the
value systems characteristic for the collectivist cultures, being more pronounced in
some southern and eastern parts of Europe. This is not very surprising, considering the
fact, that in past centuries the Slovenian region was dominantly influenced by the
cultural impact from Central and Western Europe. Even the impact of the Protestant
movement and consequently of Protestant ethics was significant in our country. It
cannot be surprising therefore, that the value system of the people inhabiting Central
Europe, including Slovenes, is quite similar.
The value conflicts and the crisis of values
A developmental hierarchy of values is interesting not only because it fits a
traditional philosophy and even folklorist theory of values, but still more because it
throws some new light on puzzling phenomena like the notorious value conflict be-
tween generations. It is possible that the conflict between generations reflects the dif-
ferent value orientations resulting from the normal, developmental change (or shift) in
the hierarchy of values. In some way, for instance, the fifty year old are in a value
conflict with themselves at twenty. The fact, that the value conflict between genera-
tions is a perpetuating phenomenon - not a characteristic of just two or more present
generations - is quite in accord with this explanation.
A second puzzling phenomenon is the so-called crisis of values, what is maybe
only another expression for spiritual crisis of mankind. This crisis should be properly
understood in terms of conflicting and agonising value orientations and hierarchies
between different individuals and different groups. It leads sometimes to the more
serious and dangerous conflicts. From one point of view this crisis could be resolved if
only we could to agree about a hierarchy of values, which would be acceptable to
every one. But that is obviously an impossible, probably even not a very desirable
goal. Still, from the viewpoint of the existing developmental hierarchy of values, some
common basis for a more consensus agreement in value orientation could be attained,
and, moreover this agreement would be founded on - let me say - natural psychologi-
cal rule. If there is a developmental trend to shift from the hedonistic to the fulfillment
values, why not accept this relative hierarchy as a leading principle in our life? Con-
sequently, we can adopt the "natural" development of our value orientation as a lead-
ing principle in our life, that could enable us to cope with problems and avoid violent
and extremely conflicting solutions. The developmental hierarchy teaches us simply -
not to abandon our hedonistic and potency strivings, but to conform them to the moral,
and especially to the fulfillment ideals - notably creativity, the meaning of life and
love. We can seek pleasure, we can seek power, but we should do this in the service of
our social concern and in the service of our personal growth in both the emotional and
spiritual sense. We can pursue our hedonistic and potency goals, but within the limits
expressed by tolerance, concern for others, self-actualization and self-transcendence.
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Spranger, E. Lebensformen. Halle, Max Niemeyer, 1930.
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The values as a subject of psychological research
  • J Musek
Musek, J. The values as a subject of psychological research. Anthropos (Ljubljana), 1991, 1-3, 233-256 (in Slovene).
Osebnost in vrednote. Ljubljana, Educy, 1993. Rokeach, M. The nature of human values
  • J Musek
Musek, J. Osebnost in vrednote. Ljubljana, Educy, 1993. Rokeach, M. The nature of human values. New York, Free Press, 1973.