Are There Universal Aspects in the Structure and Contents of Human Values?


  • Shalom H. Schwartz

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    1. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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      SHALOM SCHWARTZ is Clara & Leon Sznajderman Chair Professor of Psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. He received his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1967. He taught in the Sociology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1967 to 1979. His main research has been in the areas of altruism, helping, and attitude/behavior relations. He is currently coordinating a cross-cultural collaborative project on the structure, antecedents, and consequences of human values that is being conducted in more than 45 countries. This project is built on a theory of universals in the structure and content of basic human values.

Department of Psychology, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91905, Israel.


This article presents a theory of potentially universal aspects in the content of human values. Ten types of values are distinguished by their motivational goals. The theory also postulates a structure of relations among the value types, based on the conflicts and compatibilities experienced when pursuing them. This structure permits one to relate systems of value priorities, as an integrated whole, to other variables. A new values instrument, based on the theory and suitable for cross-cultural research, is described. Evidence relevant for assessing the theory, from 97 samples in 44 countries, is summarized. Relations of this approach to Rokeach's work on values and to other theories and research on value dimensions are discussed. Application of the approach to social issues is exemplified in the domains of politics and intergroup relations.