The seven culture/society level cultural value orientations are appropriate for comparing cultural groups to one another and for relating to societal level characteristics (e.g., average family size, level of corruption, country wealth, level of democratization, etc.). They are not appropriate for characterizing the values of individual people and studying the relationships of individuals’ values to other individual differences. For that purpose, a different theory and set of individual value dimensions have been developed.
The cultural value orientations were derived conceptually by asking what problems every society confronts and what polar value preferences might evolve to deal with these issues. Brief descriptions of the basic problems and the conceptual definitions of the 7 orientations follow. To understand the scores and apply them effectively, you should read some of the references below.
Autonomy vs. Embeddedness: The first problem is to define the nature of the relations and boundaries between the person and the group: To what extent are people autonomous vs. embedded in their groups? In autonomy cultures, people are viewed as autonomous, bounded entities. They are encouraged to cultivate and express their own preferences, feelings, ideas, and abilities, and to find meaning in their own uniqueness. There are two types of autonomy: Intellectual autonomy encourages individuals to pursue their own ideas and intellectual directions independently. Affective autonomy encourages individuals to pursue affectively positive experience for themselves.
In embeddedness cultures, people are viewed as entities embedded in the collectivity. Meaning in life is expected to come largely through social relationships, through identifying with the group, participating in its shared way of life, and striving toward its shared goals. Embedded cultures emphasize maintaining the status quo and restraining actions that might disrupt in-group solidarity or the traditional order.
Egalitarianism vs. Hierarchy: The second societal problem is to guarantee that people behave in a responsible manner that preserves the social fabric. That is, people must engage in the productive work necessary to maintain society rather than compete destructively or withhold their efforts. People must be induced to consider the welfare of others, to coordinate with them, and thereby to manage their unavoidable interdependencies. Egalitarian cultures seek to induce people to recognize one another as moral equals who share basic interests as human beings. They try to socialize their members to internalize a commitment to cooperate and to feel concern for everyone's welfare. People are expected to act for the benefit of others as a matter of choice.
Hierarchy cultures rely on hierarchical systems of ascribed roles to insure responsible, productive behavior. They define the unequal distribution of power, roles, and resources as legitimate and even desirable. People are socialized to take the hierarchical distribution of roles for granted, to comply with the obligations and rules attached to their roles, to show deference to superiors and expect deference from subordinates.
Harmony vs. Mastery: The third societal problem is to regulate people’s treatment of human and natural resources. Harmony cultures emphasize fitting into the social and natural world, trying to appreciate and accept rather than to change, direct, or exploit. Mastery cultures encourage active self-assertion in order to master, direct, and change the natural and social environment to attain group or personal goals.
In sum, the theory specifies three bipolar dimensions of culture that represent alternative resolutions to each of three problems that confront all societies. A societal emphasis on the cultural orientation at one pole of a dimension typically accompanies a de-emphasis on the polar type with which it tends to conflict.
The following scores for the seven cultural value orientations are based on data gathered with the 56-57 item Schwartz value survey between 1988 and 2007. Research on many countries indicates that change in cultural value orientations is very slow even in the presence of major political and institutional change. The selection of items to index the 7 orientations was validated empirically through multi-dimensional scaling of 45 value items that had demonstrated reasonably similar meaning across societies. Correlations among the mean ratings of these items by societal groups served as the input data. Each group (not individual) served as the unit of analysis.
The reported scores are based on equally weighting scores of college students of varied majors and of school teachers of varied topics (K-12) who teach in the majority type school in an urban area of the country. In countries where either a student or teacher sample was missing, scores for the missing sample were estimated by regression based on the first 59 countries in which both types of samples were available. The means for observed and estimated samples were then averaged.
This dataset has a wider country coverage compared with the teacher or the student samples alone. Because some scores are imputed this entails some measurement error. Using the teacher sample alone avoids this problem and also has the advantage of using a well-matched sample. (see source for teacher data below)
The scores differ somewhat from the separate teacher and student scores published in Schwartz (1994). This is because samples have been added in some countries and measurement of some of the seven cultural value orientations has changed. Moreover, the theorizing, conceptualization, and labeling have been updated and modified.
For more detail on the theorizing and measurement, consult the following references:
Schwartz, S. H. (2004). Mapping and interpreting cultural differences around the world. In H. Vinken, J. Soeters, & P Ester (Eds.), Comparing cultures, Dimensions of culture in a comparative perspective (pp.43-73). Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.
Schwartz, S. H. (2006). A theory of cultural value orientations: Explication and applications. Comparative Sociology, 5, 137-182. Also in Y. Esmer & T. Pettersson (Eds.), Measuring and mapping cultures: 25 years of comparative value surveys (pp. 33-78). Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill (2007)
Schwartz, S. H. (2009). Culture matters: National value cultures, sources and consequences. In C.-Y. Chiu, Y.Y. Hong, S. Shavitt, & R. S. Wyer, Jr. (Eds.), Problems and solutions in cross-cultural theory, research and application. New York: Psychology Press.
Schwartz, S. H. (2014). National culture as value orientations: Consequences of value differences and cultural distance. In V. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (Eds.), Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, Vol.2 (pp. 547-586). Elsevier/North Holland.
For a discussion of the differences between the cultural and individual level values and the questions for which each is appropriate, see:
Schwartz, S. H. (2011). Values: Individual and cultural. In F. J. R. van de Vijver (Eds.), A. Chasiotis, & S. M. Breugelmans, Fundamental questions in cross-cultural psychology (pp. 463-493). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Electronic files with these references are available from Shalom.Schwartz@mail.huji.ac.il
For the teacher sample scores and further comparison with the student and combined datasets, see:
Siegel, J. I., Licht, A. N. and Schwartz, S. H., (2007) "Egalitarianism and International Investment". Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=899082
The following table indicates the values that are averaged to provide the scores for each cultural value orientation. In the questionnaire, each item is further explained in a parenthetical expression. The scores for each cultural group are centered around the mean score for all 56-7 items in that group. Thus, the score for each cultural orientation within a group indicates its importance relative to the other 6 orientations in that group. A constant (4.0) has been added to each score to bring it back to its approximate location on the original -1 to +7 response scale.
Orientation Value Items
Harmony A world of beauty, a world at peace, protecting the environment, unity with nature,
Embeddedness Clean, devout, forgiving, honoring parents and elders, moderate, national security, obedient, politeness, protecting my public image, reciprocation of favors, respect for tradition, self discipline, social order, wisdom
Hierarchy Authority, humble, social power, wealth
Mastery Ambitious, capable, choosing own goals, daring, independent, influential, social recognition, successful
Affective Autonomy Enjoying life, exciting life, pleasure, varied life, self-indulgent
Intellectual Autonomy Broadminded, creativity, curious, freedom
Egalitarianism Equality, helpful, honest, loyal, responsible, social justice