Papazova, E., et al. (2008). Psychological thought, 6, 40-54.

Eva Papazova, Eliana Pencheva, Raymond Moody, Yuki Tsuzuki, John Bathurst

Institute of Psychology – BAS University of Hawaii, USA Seijo University, Japan The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, New Zealand
The article traces out and analyzes the Schwartz cultural value dimensions. Some results of empirical cross-cultural comparison between Schwartz cultural values with student samples from Bulgaria (N=253), USA (Hawaii) (N=245), Japan (N=198) and New Zealand (N=102) are presented. Shalom Schwartz basic individual values questionnaire (SVS) is applied. The results show certain cross-cultural specificity of Schwartz cultural values in the different samples is observed. Notwithstanding of students cultural belongingness, the Egalitarianism is placed on a highest position and Hierarchy on a lowest. Russian. Статья анализирует и прослеживает измерения културных ценностей по Шварцу. Предствлены резултаты крос-култьтурного емпирического сравнения культурных ценностей по Шаврцу полученные извлечениями студентом из Болгарии (N=253), США (Хавай) (N=245), Японии (N=198) и Новой Зеландии (N=102). Для измерения основных индивидуальных ценностей используется вопросник Шалома Шварца (SVS). Результаты по Шварцу изсследования показывают, что наблюдается опрелеленная крос-культурная специфика в ценностных приоритетах студентам. Независимо своей культурной принадлежности, студенты, включительно четырех национальностей, приписывают самое высокое значение ценности Егалитаризм и самое ниское – ценности Иерархия.

Every one of us function in a cultural environment, in which certain values, norms, attitudes and practices are more or less dominant and serves as sources for socialization and social control. For example, it is determined that individuals in collectivistic or egalitarian cultures distinguish more properly behavior directed toward in-group relations, than individuals from individualistic or autonomous cultures. However, cultures are not completely coherent. Supplementary to the dominant culture subgroups apprehend conflicting values. The dominant cultural orientation revises in accordance with altering in-group relationships, but the reversal is slow. An important aspect of cultural value orientations is that they are relatively stable (Schwartz, Bardi & Bianchi, 2000). Some investigators have argued that some elements of culture persist more than hundred years. For example, Kohn and Schooler (Kohn & Schooler, 1983) distinguished influence of feudalism over today’s national and cultural variations as significant variations of autonomy versus conformity. The empirical investigations of value system cultural dimensions are of particular interest in the contemporary psychology. Such investigation is conducted by the Israeli scientist and researcher Shalom Schwartz during the 90’s years. The investigation is cross-cultural and involves large number of countries.

ISSN 1312-7969


Papazova, E., et al. (2008). Psychological thought, 6, 40-54.

Shalom Schwartz’s cultural values theory Schwartz consider culture as a rich complex of meanings, believes, practices, symbols, norms and values that prevail among people in the society. The predominant values in society could be distinguished as the most central traits of culture. These values expressed and shared the concept of what is good and desired in certain culture, like cultural ideals. The cultural value orientations are considered as questions or problems of society in human activity regulation (Hofstede, 1980; Schwartz, 1994). The individuals have to distinguish these problems, to plan their resolutions, and to motivate each other to cope with them. The ways in which people answer to those basic questions serves as identification of dimensions, differentiating cultures one by another. The theory specifies the existence of three bipolar dimensions of culture, which are alternative resolutions of three problems with whom the societies have came across: autonomy versus conservatism (to what extent individuals are autonomous or dependant from the group they belongs), hierarchy versus egalitarism (to what extent personal responsibility is guaranteed in order to preserve the social order), mastery versus harmony (to what extent people value their relations with nature and social world). Value structure on a cultural level is result of multidimensional analysis. On a cultural level, values form two basic dimensions. Values, placed in an upper left quadrant expressed conservatism or perseverance of status quo. These values are opposed in their meaning to the values in the right lower quadrant who expressed autonomy. Values from the right upper quadrant expressed self-transcendence. They are opposed in their meaning to the values from the lower left quadrant, who expressed selfenhancement (see Figure 1).

ISSN 1312-7969


Papazova, E., et al. (2008). Psychological thought, 6, 40-54.







Intellectual autonomy


Affective autonomy



Figure 1. Structural model of Shalom Schwartz’s cultural values

The separate categories and values that form them are as follows: 1. Conservatism. This category includes values that underline the necessity of maintaining the status quo and evasion of individual actions or aptitudes that could destroy traditional order. These values are of particular significance for societies in which the personal interests are not seen as different from those of the group. Those are centric society values that have high significance for cultures in which the Self is perceived as part of the collective, e.g. it has autonomous and not subordinate meaning. 2. Intellectual and affective autonomy. These values are important in societies that consider individual as autonomous unity who determine his individual interests and desires alone. Two types of autonomy have existed. Intellectual autonomy, which involves values directed towards independence of ideas and individual right to follow its own judgments (creative work, curiosity and with wide view). The affective autonomy unifies values that confirm individual independence in pursuit of positive affective experience (varied life, exiting life, pleasure, enjoyment of life). 3. Hierarchy. This category includes values that confirm the legacy of hierarchical organization of society and its resources (social power, wealth, authority, and influence). Value modest (selfISSN 1312-7969


Papazova, E., et al. (2008). Psychological thought, 6, 40-54.

controlled) also belongs to this category, which confirm the idea of direct interrelation with conformity with law, hierarchical roles and distribution of wealth. This category is closer to conservatism than to autonomy. 4. Маstery. Values that belong to this category express efforts for environmental and social sphere change. It involves values independent (rely to yourself, rely to your own strength), fearless (looking for adventures and risk-taking), independent (chose your own aims and intention), ambitious (work hard, with high intensions), successful (accomplish his own aims), capable (competent, effective, know how). Mastery, autonomy, and some values from the category hierarchy presuppose pursue of personal aims and could be considered as expression of individualism. 5. Еgalitarism. This category involves values that support transcendence of egocentric interests in the name of other people. It is opposite to the categories hierarchy and mastery. Values that belong to it express coming out of egocentric interests – social justice (elimination of injustices, care for the weak ones), equality (equal possibilities for all), sympathy (work for the good of others), responsibility (to rely on someone), and devotion (loyalty to friends and to certain group). These are voluntarily accepted obligations to cooperate for well-being or prosperity of others. 6. Harmony. This category consists of values that underline harmony in interaction with environment; for example unity with nature, protection of the environment, beauty. Values, that form this category do not refer to individual autonomy, but are opposed to value categories that refer to world amendment trough self-enhancement and exploitation of people and resources (Schwartz, 1994a). Cross-cultural comparison of Schwartz’s value dimensions Nearly all big, comparative and cross-cultural investigations treat nations as a cultural unity. Researcher’s has postulate that if samples from different nations are matched (e.g. matched samples), than the culture of that nations could be compared as well. Nations, in which authority and high-standing people are oriented towards active participation in government, are those who have high individualism, and are characterized with cultural autonomy, egalitarism, low power distance, harmony and femininity. This is more typical for the West European nations than for the United States of America. Vice versa, trust in authority and rules are associated not only with collectivism, but with hierarchy, power distance, mastery and masculinity (Smith, Peterson & Schwartz, 2000). In contrast with dominant view that in West Europe and USA cultures are individualistic, it is determined that West Europe and English speaking regions cultures are very different. In contrast with the rest of the world, the culture of English speaking regions value particularly high mastery and moderately intellectual autonomy and egalitarism. The American samples value mastery even more than autonomy and egalitarism, in comparison with English speaking samples (Smith, Peterson & Schwartz, 2000). The influenced from Confucius Asia region, to whom belongs Japan, combine strong stress on hierarchy and rejection of egalitarism. The region also accentuate on collectivism. From other side, as bigger the number of the ethnic groups in a nation, as strong is the cultural pressure on conservatism and mastery. That is the case in West Europe and USA today. And, this is the reason why people identify and refer to each other in terms of ethnic groups and cultural diversity ( ). The East European profile of culture accentuate on harmony and not as strong to mastery. The result is interpreted as an adaptive orientation that includes escape of difficulties and restrain from personal initiatives. In comparison with Central European cultures, in Bulgaria conservatism and hierarchy are more important (Schwartz & Bardi, 1997). The presented theoretical and empirical analysis provokes interest towards the following aim:
ISSN 1312-7969


Papazova, E., et al. (2008). Psychological thought, 6, 40-54.

Aim: The aim of investigation is to trace out and analyze cross-culturally Schwartz’s value dimensions with Bulgarian, Japan, New Zealand and Hawaii student’s samples. Tasks: To compare cross-culturally Schwartz’s value dimensions with Bulgarian, Japan, New Zealand and Hawaii student’s samples. Hypothesis: 1. In cross-cultural perspective Schwartz’s value cultural dimensions will show the following specificity:  The students from New Zealand, as representatives of English speaking regions culture, will value more strongly mastery, intellectual autonomy and egalitarism.  The students from Japan will value more strongly hierarchy and most weakly egalitarism.  The students from Hawaii, USA, where the number of the ethnic groups is large, will value strongly conservatism and mastery. ( orld.doc).  The students from Bulgaria will value more strongly conservatism and hierarchy (Schwartz & Bardi, 1997). Sample: The studied subjects are students from four different countries – Bulgaria, USA (Hawaii), New Zealand and Japan. The whole sample consists of 798 subjects. From them, 253 are students from Bulgaria, 245 are students from Hawaii (USA), 102 are students from New Zealand, and 198 are students from Japan. The data is gathered during the period January, 2006 – April, 2007, and is part from an international project titled “Cultural values and type”, lead by Dr. Raymond Moody from University of Hawaii, USA. Method and procedures: Shalom Schwartz value survey questionnaire (Schwartz Values Survey – SVS; Schwartz, 1992) which measure basic individual values both on individual and on cultural level is applied. The questionnaire is adapted for Bulgaria by Papazova and Pencheva. Results and discussion The statistical analysis of data shows very good internal consistency of 56 items scale for measurement of Schwartz’s values on a cultural level. The Cronbach’s alfa coefficient is =0.89. Graph 1 represents the ranks of Schwartz’s cultural values with Bulgarian, Hawaii, New Zealand and Japan students. For rank calculation of the separate value categories is applied Student’s t-test for paired samples for all pairs of value categories. That way is possible to identify those value categories that distinguished in they intensity. Rank from 1 to 7 is ascribed to each category. The value category with the highest mean score receives rank 1, and the one with the lowest mean score – rank 7. Categories who do not show significant differences between their mean scores receive one and the same rank.

ISSN 1312-7969


Papazova, E., et al. (2008). Psychological thought, 6, 40-54.

8 6 4 2 0 Conservatis m 5,5 5 5,5 4,5 Intelectual autonomy 2,5 3,5 1,5 1,5 Affective autonomy 2,5 3,5 4 3 Еgalitarianis m 2,5 1 1,5 1,5

Hierarchy 7 7 7 7

Маstery 2,5 2 3 4,5

Harmony 5,5 6 5,5 6

Bulgaria Hawaii, USA New Zealand Japan

Graph 1. Cross-cultural comparison of the Schwartz’s cultural values dimensions The cross-cultural comparison of separate cultural dimensions ranks with the four sub samples show that in contrast with the hypothesis students from New Zealand put mastery on a third place in their value hierarchy (students from Hawaii put it on a second place), and egalitarism and intellectual autonomy share one and the same rank of significance – 1,5 (see Graph 1). With other words, the hypothesis has been confirmed partly. Self-enhancement that aims elaboration, change of natural and social environment, and accomplishment of group and individual aims (mastery) step beck in significance before the pursuit of own ideas and directions (intellectual autonomy) and the transcendence of selfish interests in the name of others (egalitarism) for the New Zealand students. Similarly, opposite to our expectations, students from Japan put hierarchy on last 7 place in their value hierarchy (this is applicable for the whole studied contingent), and the egalitarism share one and the same relatively high rank of significance with this of New Zealand students – 1,5. Other value with equal and highest rank of significance for the Japanese students, besides egalitarism, is intellectual autonomy. With other words, the hypothesis for the Japan students has been rejected. It is presumable that value hierarchy, characterized with law conformity, hierarchical roles and distribution of resources, notwithstanding cultural belongingness of the students, is the least important for them. Moreover, they might have negative attitude towards it. The hypothesis for Hawaii students has been confirmed partly. Mastery is the most significant cultural value in comparison with the students from the other three countries. The students from Hawaii put it on a second place in their value hierarchy. On a first place they put the value egalitarism. In return, conservatism is put on a fifth place. With other words, the necessity for maintaining the status quo and escape of action or aptitude which could break the traditional order is not of particular significance for the students from Hawaii. The hypothesis for the Bulgarian students has been fully rejected. They put on a last 7th place hierarchy, and the conservatism is with rank 5,5, which is with the same significance for New Zealand students. The Bulgarian students value model represents part take of one and the same high rank (2,5) of four cultural values – affective autonomy, intellectual autonomy, egalitarism and mastery. With other words, Bulgarian students value autonomy of ideas, reflections and affective experience, voluntarily excepted obligations to cooperate for the well-being of others, and efforts for social environment change.
ISSN 1312-7969


Papazova, E., et al. (2008). Psychological thought, 6, 40-54.

Discussion and conclusions: The results from investigation show that: 1. In cross-cultural perspective, Schwartz’s cultural values dimensions reveal significant differences in value priorities of the studied Bulgarian, Hawaii (USA), New Zealand and Japan students: The priority values for New Zealand students are intellectual autonomy and egalitarism. Like their coevals from New Zealand, the students from Japan value mostly egalitarism and intellectual autonomy. The students from Hawaii, USA, value highly egalitarism and mastery. The Bulgarian students’ pay highest significance on affective autonomy, intellectual autonomy, egalitarism and mastery. 2. Notwithstanding of their cultural belongingness, the students from the four nationalities ascribe highest significance to value egalitarism. Results from this investigation shows that the transcendence of selfish interests and acceptance of volunteer duties to cooperate for the well-being and prosperity of others could be considered as value probably more developmentally determined, than culturally specific. 3. Similarly, the students from the four nationalities ascribe lowest significance to value hierarchy. The conformity with law, hierarchical roles and distribution of resources is probably at least significant for them, as they have negative attitude towards it. The bipolar dimension of the culture that occurs to be of a highest importance for the behavior regulation for Bulgarian, Hawaii (USA), New Zealand and Japan students is hierarchy versus egalitarism. The guarantee of a responsible behavior that preserves social order and structure, considered as opposition of self-enhancement versus self-transcendence of personality, is the highest important social problem for the youngsters from the four cultures. According to the value ideology of the modern youths, people should take individual responsibility for their actions and decisions, based on their personal understanding of situations, at the expense of declination of hierarchical systems and ascribed roles that ensure responsible behavior.

ISSN 1312-7969


Papazova, E., et al. (2008). Psychological thought, 6, 40-54.


1. Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills., CA., Sage 2. rld.doc 3. Kohn, M.L., & Schooler, C. (1983). Work and personality. Norwood, NJ: Ablex 4. Schwartz, S. H. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. In: M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology, Vol. 25 (pp. 1-65). New York: Academic Press. 5. Schwartz, S.H. (1994). Are there universal aspects in the content and structure of values? Journal of Social Issues, 50, 19-45. 6. Schwartz, S.H. (1994a). Beyond individualism-collectivism: New cultural dimensions of values. In: U. Kim et al. (Eds.) Individualism and collectivism: Theory, method and application, Newbury Park, 85-119. 7. Schwartz, S.H., Bardi, A. (1997). Influences of Adaptation to Communist Rule on Value Priorities in Eastern Europe. Political Psychology, Vol. 18, 385-410. 8. Schwartz, S.H., Bardi, A., & Bianchi, G. (2000). Value adaptation to the imposition and collapse of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe. In S.A. Renshon & J. Duckitt (Eds.), Political psychology: Cultural and cross cultural perspectives. London: Macmillan. 9. Smith, P.B., Peterson, M.F., Schwartz, S.H. (2000). Cultural values, sources of guidance and their relevance to managerial behavior: a 47 nation study. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology (in press). 10. Triandis, H. (1995). Individualism and collectivism. Boulder, CO: Westview.

Authors: Junior researcher Eva Boyanova Papazova, Ph.D., Institute of Psychology – BAS, е-mail:, тел. 979-30-56 Senior researcher Eliana Stankova Pencheva, Ph.D., Institute of Psychology – BAS, е-mail:, тел. 979-30-56 Dr. Raymond Moody, University of Hawaii, Hawaii, USA, e-mail: Dr. Yukie Tsuzuki, Seijo University, Tokyo, Japan, e-mail: Dr. John Bathurst, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, New Zealand, e-mail:

ISSN 1312-7969


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