Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
During the past two decades, I have developed, validated and applied two separate theories of value related constructs. The first concerns the basic human values on which individual people in all societies differ (e.g., security, achievement, hedonism, concern for others). Basic individual values are an aspect of personality. The second theory deals with normative value orientations on which cultures differ (e.g., hierarchy, egalitarianism, harmony). These orientations underlie and justify the functioning of societal institutions.
Are two value theories really necessary? Could the same value constructs or dimensions serve at both individual and cultural levels of analysis? It would certainly be more parsimonious to do with one theory. Logically, one theory would suffice if we could assume that culture is simply personality writ large or that individual values are culture writ small. Sadly – for accepting either assumption would make life easier – I find them both unacceptable. In addressing the question of the relationship between individual and culture levels, I hold that we need separate theories of values.
This chapter presents and contrasts my individual-level and culture-level theories and suggests how to apply them fruitfully together. It is structured as follows. First, I explicate each theory, specifying its constructs and the relations among them and citing evidence to support them.