Combining social axioms with values in predicting social behaviours



Recently, Leung et al. (2002) have identified a pan-cultural set of five dimensions tapping beliefs about the world in which each individual functions. These general axioms may be conceptualized as individual assessments of the social context constraining one's behavioural choices. As such, we hypothesize that these beliefs about the world may be combined with measures of motivation to predict an individual's actions. To test this model, the present research examined the usefulness of these social axioms as predictors of behavioural tendencies in conjunction with four comprehensive dimensions of values (Schwartz, 1992). Hierarchical regression analyses showed that social axioms added moderate predictive power over and above that provided by values to vocational choices, methods of conflict resolution, and coping styles. Specifically, reward for application was related to preference for conventional jobs and accommodation in conflict resolution; religiosity was related to accommodation and to competition in conflict resolution; social cynicism was related negatively to collaboration and to compromise in conflict resolution, and positively to wishful thinking in coping; fate control was related positively to wishful thinking and distancing in coping; and social complexity was related to compromise and to collaboration in conflict resolution, and to problem-solving as a coping strategy. It thus seems as if measures of respondents' beliefs about the external, social world supplement measures of their internal motivations to achieve various goals. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.