Values and Work Empirical Findings and Theoretical Perspective
Robert A. Roe
Work and Organization Research Centre, Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Peter Ester
IVA - Institute for Social Research, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Cet article fait la revue de la littkrature concernant les valeurs et le travail, en examinant les Ctudes sur (1) la structure des valeurs, ( 2 ) les profils et configurations de valeurs, et (3) le changement de valeurs. Des Ctudes sur la structure des valeurs ont essay6 de trouver des “dimensions de base” relatives aux valeurs en analysant les relations empiriques existantes entre des mesures de valeurs dans diff6rentes populations. Ainsi apparaissent des convergences IimitCes entre de telles dimensions de base. Par voie de conskquence la theorie des valeurs a peu offrir si ce n’est qu’un bricolage de modkles structurels. D’autres Ctudes ont montrC que les nations, les pays et d’autres cat6gories sociales, manifestent des profils et configurations de valeurs distincts. A cause d’un manque de recherche th6orique les origines de ces diffCrences sont encore ma1 comprises. Cela vaut aussi pour la recherche sur les changements de valeurs 21 travers le temps. La plupart des chercheurs sur les valeurs semblent avoir adopt6 un champ d’exploration Ctroit en se concentrant sur les valeursper se plutbt que sur le rble des valeurs au regard d’une thCorie sociale ou comportementale. Tout ceci peut avoir restreint la pertinence de la recherche sur les valeurs en psychologie appliquCe. Pour identifier les lacunes de notre connaissance actuelle, il est prCsent6 un modble intkgrateur qui recouvre trois ClCments (valeurs gCnCrales, valeurs de travail, et activitCs de travail) et trois niveaux (pays, groupes, et individus). Ce mod$le peut aussi servir a cadrer la recherche sur les besoins en psychologie appliquee. This article reviews the literature concerning values and work, examining studies on (1) the structure of values, ( 2 ) value profiles and patterns, and (3) value change. Studies on the structure of values have tried to find “basic value dimensions”, analysing empirical relationships between value measures in
Requests for reprints should be sent to Professor Robert Roe. Work and Organization Research Centre, Tilhurg IJniversity, P.O. Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilhurg, The Netherlands.

0 1999 International Association of Applied Psychology



different populations. There appears to be limited convergence between such ”basic dimensions”. As a result, value theory has little to offer but a bricnluge of structural models. Other studies have shown nations. countries, and other social categories to display distinct value profiles or patterns. Due to a lack of theoretical research the origins of such differences are still poorly understood. The same is true for research on changes in values over time. Most value researchers seem to have adopted a narrow focus, concentrating on values per se rather than on the role of values in social o r behavioural theory. This may have restricted the relevance of value research for applied psychology. To identify the gaps in our current knowledge an integrative model is presented which covers three elements (general values, work values, and work activities) and three levels (country, groups. and individuals). This model may also be useful in tuning research to the needs of applied psychology.

Over the years a great deal of research has been devoted to the study of values in relation to work. The fact that work has attracted relatively more research attention than other life domains, such as family, leisure, community, and religion, can be explained by the key role that work plays in social life, not only as the primary source of income, but also as a base for social participation, social status, consumption, health, family life, and so on. Since the early 1980s several large-scale comparative studies have been undertaken. which show the differences between citizens from various countries or nations with respect to the importance of work (Super, 1980; Super & Sverko. 1995). the meaning of work (MOW International Research Team, 1987). and a series of other work value dimensions (Elizur, Borg, Hunt. & Beck. 1991: Elofstede. 1984: Zanders, 1992). Most of these studies have treated work-related values as expressions of more general life values, and have made efforts to interpret the differences in terms of broader cultural patterns, reflecting the historical development of the particular countries or regions and the adaptation to their environments. Some studies, following Weber‘s thesis on the Protestant Ethic, have looked at the link between work-related values and overall economic performance (see Furnham et al.. 1993). In another vein, work values have been investigated at the level of occupational categories (e.g. Ball. Farnill, Beiers, & Lindorff, 1989: Zanders & Harding, 1995) and at the level of the individual (e.g. Allport K: Vernon. 1931; Super. 1969). In the latter case, values have been related to interests and other motivational notions, and used to explain differences in people‘s occupational behaviour. in particular vocational choice. A general assumption, underlying most of the research and thcorising on values. has been that shared values as expressed at the collective level on the one side. and individual values as operating in daily occupational behaviour on the other side. are somehow interrelated, although its causality is still a debated issue.

p. Attitudes are people’s beliefs about specific objects or situations (Hollander.” An important merit of this latter definition is that it distinguishes values from attitudes by pointing at their generalised nature. on 9-12 November. interests are typically not shared socially within larger communities.” Super (1980. 1972)have had the courage to embark on this. one might now start to think of integrating the various findings in a more comprehensive theory on values and work. and to generate ideas about how the different approaches can be linked to one another. who defines values as “desirable states. . whereas values are always positive.’ It is to review the research on values and work.130) defines a value as “an objective. and refers to a person’s preference or liking for particular types of occupational activities. or behaviours. Less specific than attitudes but more specific than values are “interests” (Dawis.g.e. p. Thus. who defines a value as “an enduring belief that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of existence.” Hofstede (1984.This notion has mostly been used in the domain of work in connection with vocational choice. Tilburg.18) defines values as “a broad tendency to prefer certain states of affairs over others. in favour of something.” A more elaborate definition is given by Schwartz (1992. either a psychological state. to identify some major theoretical issues. to show some typical findings from large-scale research projects. They can be considered as taking a lower place in the person’s hierarchy of beliefs (Rokeach. but unlike values. i. Few authors (e.5). a relationship. to discuss what is currently known about them. 1971). Another difference is that attitudes can be positive or negative. p. On the individual level the demarcation line between interests and values is not easy to draw. objects.Triandis. 1993. The aim of this special issue is more modest.Roe. that one seeks to attain. generally speaking. but the direction is the same. goals. All definitions treat values as latent constructs that refer to the way in which people evaluate activities or outcomes. 1991. To this purpose a multilevel framework model will be presented.VALUES AND WORK 3 In view of all the studies conducted. 1973). Erez & Earley. 1994. Much cited is Rokeach (1973. CONCEPTUAL ISSUES What are values? The literature gives an abundant number of definitions of values. or material condition. p. transcending specific situations and applied as normative standards to judge and to choose among alternative modes of behavior.2). the notion of value points at a relationship between an evaluating subject and an ’ This special issue is based on a Symposium on Values and Work that was held at the Work & Organization Research Centre (WORC) of Tilburg University. ranging from the cultural to the individual level. the Netherlands. 1981).

face the risk of causal inconsistency. One might even speak of the values of people living in a certain geographical or geopolitical region. For instance. This is particularly obvious when dealing with change. and values concerning specific life domains. One would have to define macro-level constructs differently in order to avoid such problems (Liska. and individuals. Hofstede. This difficulty may be partly resolved by assuming that the entities at the three levels are nested (individuals within groups. Although the assumption is easily made (e. and postulate that individual values are influenced by cultural values. groups within countries) whereby the level of homogeneity increases the lower one gets. For the sake of convenience we propose to speak about value holders (or value-holding enririrs) at three levels. Moreover. assuming that values are shared seems to preclude the possibility of divergence or conflict of values within groups or countries. whereby this relationship is supposed to be durable and to have implications for the subject’s subsequent activity. 1984: Inkeles & Smith. It is hard to assume that a change in cultural values causes a change in individual values if the change in cultural values is operationally defined as the sum of individual changes. In the literature a distinction is made between general values. i. the people belonging to a certain occupational group. a national category. work values by implication have a more specific meaning than general values. ~ . This view is represented and empirically corroborated by Elizur and Sagie (in this special issue). however. One view is that values have a particular cognitive structure which produces a structural similarity between general values and work values.e. a subculture. or general life values. We prefer t o speak ofcountrics h c c a u ~ e l the murc prcciw mcaning of this terni and because most research publications deal o with countties a\ cntitics. in defining the values held by groups or countries.’ There are some difficulties.e. that work values emerge from the projection of general values onto the domain ()nc might also speak of wcicties.g. Holders of values are not necessarily individuals but may also be collectivities. As work is considered to be such a domain. a community. One of these difficulties is whether or not it should be assumed that values are indeed shared. or alternatively nations. a firm. The relationships between general values and work values are being conceived in different ways. 1990). researchers who derive “cultural” values from individual values by mere aggregation. countries. Schwartz. The assumption of shared values generates some other inconveniences. for example. 1974. groups. 1992). Another view is that general values produce work values. 1980. it is not at all easy t o certify that values are actually shared. A certain level of homogeneity would seem to be a necessary but not sufficient condition for sharing. or a country.4 ROE AND ESTER evaluated object. i.

and training. consultancy. alternatively. basic. 1991. labour codes). 1963. is likely to depend more on work values than on general values. and to contrast the two ways in which general and work values may influence each other. and influential. in this special issue). which elicit and guide collective action. In this way modern work practices and standards may generate work-related values that generalise into the wider social life.g. and Surkiss in this special issue). Schwartz. Finally. and Ros. . Most researchers seem to assume that work values do somehow derive from general values. and leisure roles. values are seen as a source of motivation for individual action. but a study by Selmer and De Leon (1996) on organisational “acculturation” shows that multinational corporations can play a role in the transmission of values. the role of general values should not be overlooked.g. Schwartz. dividing time between work and family. 1987). Religiosity. Although people’s activity in the work domain. This is clearly demonstrated by research on “work centrality” carried out in the context of the Meaning of Working project (England. through attitudes and goals. for instance. something should be said about values in relation to work activity. Work values seem to diffuse easily through such channels as management literature. family. Thus. such as looking for a job. Kinnane & Gaubinger. but they are not very explicit about the causal nature of this process. This issue will be taken up in the final section of this article.VALUES AND WORK 5 of work. This especially holds in contemporary globalised business life. performing organisational roles. taking part in training. and through multinational corporate management. There is as yet very little empirical evidence to support this position. be seen as a source from which general values develop. how they behave vis-8-vis colleagues. It would be of theoretical interest for researchers to further examine this issue of interconnectedness and causality. a similar indirect influence is assumed: values define norms and shared goals. Many studies have found general values to correlate with work values of a similar content (e. Work values might. as well as the Work Importance Study (see Sverko. or how they balance work. which is in agreement with this assumption. by the way of international conventions and laws (e. There is general agreement in the literature that values do not influence people’s activity directly. but rather indirectly. It is important to note that in modern societies work values are typically considered as salient. MOW International Research Team. A study by Sagie (1993) shows religiosity to be a factor that determines how young people perceive their work obligations. is likely to have an impact on how people deal with clients. The importance of the work role in many cultures makes work values into core values that take a cardinal position in the overall pattern of values. With respect to the societal level.

Ronen. and Gill (1990). relational (linearity-individualism). economic. and way of life. Well known examples are the “Study of Values” of Allport. 1990).g. 1995). security. 1996.. honest. Vernon. achievement. universalism vs. Kraut. human nature (goodbad): human position towards nature (subjugation-mastery). 1979) covers instrumental values such as being broadminded. making an exception for the much cited research by Hofstede (1980. 1980. 1985. individualism. salvation. particularism: ascription vs. i. activity (being-doing). 1979. collectivity orientation. which covers the values altruism. different value attributes. political. helpful. i. social. The “Rokeach Value Survey” (1973. aesthetic. Elizur. variety. Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck (1961) distinguish five (other) value orientations to differentiate between cultures. & Aranya. specificity vs. It structure has recently been re-examined by Crosby. Elizur et al. 1986. associates. as well as work values (Borg & Galinat. true friendship.e. Researchers have used mathematical techniques such as factor analysis and smallest space analysis to draw up a space in which both singular values. Ronen. or value expressions. We refrain from listing all the dimensions. creativity. Lingoes. and wisdom. supervisory relations. uncertainty avoidance. masculinityfemininity-to differentiate within a very large sample of people employed by IBM in different countries. and Lindzey (1960). equality. Parsons and Shils (1951) distinguish five polar dimensions on which people have to make a choice. affectivity vs. affective neutrality: self. diffuseness. 1990). and different measurement techniques. Hofstede.e. economic returns. and value holders can be displayed. Bitner. and terminal values such as comfortable life. time (pastfuture). Some authors have proposed dimensions to differentiate values at the level of the individual and have used psychometric techniques to measure such values. independence. 1984. surroundings. clean. 1987. There is limited convergence between the results of these analyses. He found the following four value dimensionspower distance. Numerous other researchers have tried to empirically define basic dimensions of general values (e. freedom. 1994: Schwartz & Bilsky. forgiving. management. Schwartz. and by Braithwaite and Law (1985). which has scales for theoretical. It is obvious that the analysis of mean scores on value scales of individuals in a sample involving several countries will not produce the same results as the analysis of similar individual data in . aesthetics. Sverko.vs. intellectual stimulation. 1991. prestige. achievement. and Super’s “Work Values Inventory” (1969). and religious values.6 ROE AND ESTER STRUCTURE OF VALUES Several authors have postulated dimensions exhibiting different value orientations that people in society can have. 1984: Sagie & Elizur. responsible. which is not surprising as the studies employ different value holders.

there are many studies depicting the value profiles of particular occupational groups (e. Conde. & England. With orthogonal factor analysis two or three dimensions are the maximum. 1990. and Bae and Chung (1997).VALUES AND WORK 7 subsamples from separate countries (see the contributions by Schwartz and by Ros et al. for example. Rowe & Snizek. Harpaz. the MOW International Research Team (1987). in this special issue). VALUE PROFILES A N D PATTERNS Once a space for depicting values has been defined. as well as age and gender groups (e. The typical approach is to produce profiles of coordinates. . groups.” If the number of dimensions is not too high. Zanders & Harding. Halman. Yet each type of study may give stable outcomes. Triandis (1990. Cross-national and national country profiles of general values have. and De Moor (1993).g. 1991.g. showing the (mean) scores of various entities on a number of value dimensions. 1985. Basanez. Analogously. Shapira & Griffith. speak of a value pattern that reflects the specific way in which a society adapts itself to its environment. Many studies have done so. 1995). De Vaus & McAllister.1995). and to further theorise on how different types of values interrelate. 1979. The relationships between the two kinds of dimensions are unclear as well. there is an apparent need to overcome this bricoluge of basic value dimensions by systematic comparative research.5) refers in a similar way to value systems at the individual level: “A value system is an enduring organization of beliefs concerning preferable modes of conduct or end-states of existence along a continuum of relative importance. 1995). making it into a value pattern (also referred to as “value system”). Inglehart. Rokeach (1973. p. Thus. singular social entities (countries. Super and Sverko (1995). individuals) may be located in it and differences may be investigated. This is true for general values as well as for work values. and De Moor (1995). Ester. As a consequence we find ourselves in the theoretically unsatisfactory situation of having a multitude of “basic dimensions” that are difficult to compare and to combine. Parsons and Shils (1951). Ronen (1994). With correlated factors the result of a second-order analysis can be shown. the location of the entities in the value space can be depicted graphically. for example. Cherrington. been published by Inglehart (1990). 1993. A theoretical assumption sometimes made is that a particular relationship exists between the different elements of the profile. and Moreno (1996). The literature is replete with studies showing value profiles and patterns. Mannheim. and similar studies of work values by Zanders (1992). The case of smallest space analysis is similar.

Ester et al. such as the person’s occupation. 1995.8 ROE A N D ESTER In this special issue one also finds some profiling studies. Studies of individual values consider such societal factors as “distal” and look for more proximal factors. including labour market participation (Feather. economic circumstances. but all of these are unobservable”.. (2) ”Extsting theoretical traditions provide little guidance for understanding how values shape behavior”. We will come back to modernisation later. But once differences are found one should explain where these differences come from and which consequences they have for social and individual life. 1951). 1984. when discussing changes in values. Parsons & Shils. He convincingly calls for an effort to build an integrated. which are seen as indicators of individual values. career choice (Kalleberg & Stark. but argues that both groups can be viewed as indicative for the nation as a whole.3-10) four major impediments to the study of values: (1) “Values can take many forms. 1993).e. 1972. They use nonaggregated scores. and demographic characteristics (Triandis. 1994: Vora. there has been research showing differences in values between countries to he related to social norms and policies (e. teachers and students. family situation. Desc riprive studies revealing and comparing the profiles of particular nations or groups. interdisciplinary theory based on novel measurement approaches. and religion as explaining factors (e. claimed to be encompassing and universal. Lobodiinska. taken as measures of values at the cultural level. Zanders. The lack of theorising on values has been critically addressed by Hechter (1993). Schwartz presents data on the value profiles of nations and their position in a general value space. Wilhelmsson. 1990: Van Deth & Scarborough. 1993). as well as to economic activity (Yankelovits et al. i. In his view no compelling substantive theories of values have emerged. teachers and students in Spain. Zytowski. More recent research has put more emphasis on economic development and the process of modernisation resulting from it (e. 1985). . 1993).. are of interest in themselves.g. Unfortunately. use a comparable methodology. Schwartz analyses two specific samples. 1993: Young. 1993). 1990. this kind of explanatory research on values is still rather scarce. He demonstrates how 49 nations can be located in a space defined by smallest space analysis using aggregate scores on scales for general values.g. Heaven.g. H e lists (pp. Research studies with a sociological origin typically look for differences in the natural environment. and the differences between them. Work values have been linked with a variety of individual behaviours. 1996). As for consequences. (3) “Postulating values in behavioral explanations is unconvincing when the processes that generate them are unknown”: (4) “Measurement problems abound”. 1994) and work performance (Swenson & Herche. Ros et al. but their focus is on the particular position of two occupational groups.

or individual. For example.e. She found that work centrality did not change. Inglehart. however. A similar American study by England (1991) showed a different type of change: work centrality also decreased. Research by Zanders (1992. (1993). but economic work goals rather than expressive work goals were valuated higher. the modernisation thesis comes in.VALUES AND WORK 9 VALUE CHANGE Another major research issue is the change of values. as it claims that modernisation brings about a process of individualisation which leads to a fragmentation of values. Many types of profile change are conceivable. But a general rise or decline of the profile is also possible. but they do appear if it is broken down into smaller entities.. 1995. Second. Specific values may lose . during social transformation. which he has labelled as a transition from materialist to post-materialist values. They found a decrease of work centrality in German samples over a six-year period. but the importance attributed to various work facets did. First of all as change within the valueprofile of a country. there may be changes in the variance of value scores within the sample investigated. i. Changes in the meaning of work have been reported by Ruiz Quintanilla and Wilpert (1991). such as the church. 1993. Sweden and the Netherlands). Such changes do not show up in the profile of the entity as such.1993). 1984. certain values within a profile may get a higher or lower mean score. group. such as an increase in the value of personal development in certain countries (e. Topalova (1994) compared Bulgarian samples from 1977. Also the expressive side of work was valuated higher and the obligation side lower. the value of leisure increased. Similar research on general value changes in various countries in Europe and North America have been reported by Ester et al. Value change can be understood in different ways. A growing weight was assigned to the instrumental facet of work. candidates for managerial positions. In this special issue one finds evidence of an overall change in work values in Sverko’s study on war-time Croatia. based on the same data set but focusing on work values. Rappensberger and Maier (1995) address changes in the work values of a particular occupational group. In the third place there may be changes in the positions of particular values (or value expressions) within the value space. While the value of the work role decreased.e.g. Here. especially to job security. The magnitude of these changes was small. has demonstrated partial changes. i. groups and/or individuals. Values are supposed to be increasingly based on individual choice and preference rather than by the traditional institutions. 1977). Inglehart (1990) has demonstrated an overall shift in values among successive generations in Western countries. Halman & Petterson. reducing the overall homogeneity in society (Ester et al. Values related to comfort and material conditions failed to show significant change. and 1990.

Moreover. & Connor. 1952. as they derived from an institutionally enforced value system. What seems possible. Empirical evidence on this hypothesis has been presented by Inglehart (1977. The modernisation thesis (Ester et al. have lost their connections and are nowadays considered as separate entities. This type of srriictiirnl change is also addressed by the modernisation thesis.g. 1990) and Ester et al. The assumption is that several values that used to be interrelated in the past. In studying change it is important to know the direction of change.. 1991. Theories that spell out where value differences come from and how they change over time are still to be developed. there is a clear need for theory and explanatory research. In such an encompassing model both general and work values would have to find a place. one would also have to include the determinants of values and the changes therein. As was the case with the structure of values. Some studies have therefore addressed the increasing similarity or dissimilarity of profiles over time. Topalova.e. it is clear that an immediate integration of concepts and findings is not achievable. (1993). 1993) is an example of explanatory theory that addresses the antecedents of value change at the societal level. Yet theory-driven research is scarce. England. However. 1994). Nevitte and Inglehart { 1995) discuss a theoretical model that addresses the consequences of a particular type of value change. is to design a framework model that enables one to group and connect the conceptual models of the diverse research projects. especially as regards work values. is the question of whether and how the results of the various studies on values and work can be linked to one another and put into perspective. A MODEL OF VALUES Most interesting.10 ROE AND ESTER importance compared to other values. revealing the determinants of change as well as their social and individual consequences. while others gain. however. Ruiz-Quintanilla & Wilpert. Several authors have given post-hoc explanations of observed value differences in terms of age (life-cycle) and cohort (generation) (e. Designing a structural model that just shows the interrelationships between general and work values at the three levels would only be a first step. for economic cooperation and social integration (Deutsch. Examples of studies addressing this facet of change are Zanders (1992) and Rappensberger and Maier (1995). 1997). of course.g. however. 1991) or in terms of the economic development or labour market situation (e.would have to be incorporated. In view of the differences between the various studies. 1968). This is certainly true for value change at the level of groups and individuals (Pinder. Their variances may also change. as well as the effects of . and the individual level. Stackman. the three levels of social entities-the country level. growing convergence of main values. the group level. i.

The vertical links between the three levels are commonly seen as hierarchical. Furthermore. the causal order may be reversed. It would be particularly valuable to incorporate occupational activity and to show how it depends on values. role acceptance. and work activities of the country. work values. is presented here. i. or organisation). The causal links may also be reversed. as an activity of people.Wanous. work values. once again. while work values derive from general values.e. task performance. The links in the model may also be understood in this way. i. i. 1986. i. related to life goals or activity domains. .e. as has already been stated. Several theorists implicitly assume such causal influences to exist. the model posits links between the corresponding elements at the three levels. At each level there are assumed links between general values. one may hypothesise that work activities have an influence on work values. As regards the horizontal links in the model.VALUES AND WORK 11 values on the activities of social and individual actors. corresponding respectively to the country (society or other larger social entity). showing only the main constitutive elements and their interconnections. and work activities or occupational activities. we have already mentioned the common conception that work activities are to some degree determined by work values.e. the group. i. and perhaps that work activities have an impact on general values as well. general values. However. occupational. that in any way pertains to work. general values can also be seen as more direct determinants of behaviour. that is. job application. and the individual. But they may also be given a causal interpretation by hypothesising that higher-level values and activities influence lower-level values and activities.g. and goals. There are three levels.e. individuals are supposed to be nested in groups. 1973). which may mediate the influence of values on activities. occupational choice. However. 1995) would argue in favour of such reversed links. Theories of socialisation (see Fisher. in order not to make the model too complex and non-transparent. It is not at all unreasonable to assume that individual values affect social values and individual activities affect collective activities. the group (e.e. 1992) and sense-making (e. as showing hierarchical subordination. employed or unemployed. A sketch of such a generic model. pertaining to work activities and work outcomes. We have left out attitudes. norms. as well as other variables mentioned earlier. demographic category. and the individual. that work values have an impact on general values. as guidelines that help people to choose goals and take decisions about ways to realise them (Rokeach. such as career orientation. and groups in society. Yet it should be recognised that such factors are likely to play a role and therefore should be taken into consideration in empirical studies. Work activity should be understood in a broad sense.g. Weick.

that of the country. There are dozens of other situational and personal variables that play a more significant role (Roe. Thus. Hunter & Hunter. For instance. determine the effect of managerial interventions. contextual variables relating to demography. Looking at the links in the model in Fig. i. Erez and Earley (1993) point out that values. Thus. Our framework model is by no means exhaustive. 1996a). The model also helps to clarifv the role of cross-national research on values (see Fig. it must be acknowledged. 1 it becomes clear that the vast literature on values and work provides only scanty information on most of these links.g. An implication of the model for cross-national research is that there is no need t o restrict comparisons to the highest level. Addressing this highly crucial issue of causality between and within these three levels of abstraction should in our view be a prime subject on the research agenda of work psychologists and sociologists.g. Much of the research. like other cultural characteristics. At this point it is important to note that according to empirical research values make only a small contribution to the prediction of individual performance (e. or alternatively to variables at the group or country level. values can play a moderating role. is just declarative.12 ROE AND ESTER Postulating such a double causality would be in line with social theories that try to account for the fact that social structure affects people's actions. change. In each case additional determining variables (e. But the causal links with behaviour are at best only poorly researched. Moreover. while actions affect (i. and consider these as dependent variables. such as the theory of structuration by Giddens (1984) and the theory of practice by Bourdieu (1990).e. it would be necessary to include other determining variables as well. one may shift the focus from individual work activities to individual work values or general values. 1984: Khaleque.e. economy. on people's subsequent activity and performance. create) social structure. general values a t the country level) on individual values. and individual incentive systems. the model can be seen as a flexible and versatile tool that helps in structuring.e. influencing the effect that other factors have on behaviour determinants. and evaluating research on values and work. Of course. interpreting. and technology) would have to be included. we know little about the influence of values on behaviour at the country or the group level. 1). If one would wish to use it for explaining and predicting work activities and subsequent performance variables. particular countrics or groups. The moderating effect of values is also demonstrated in a study on training by Earley ( 1994). 1992). Cross-national comparisons may well be extended to the group level and the individual level. It posits value attributes (scales or dimensions) and gives the positions of certain value-holding entities. job enrichment. such as participation in goal-setting. i. the model .e. or about the influence of cultural values (i.

VALUES AND WORK 13 COUNTRY LEVEL GROUP LEVEL INDIVIDUAL LEVEL I Activity I FIG. it is the link between the cultural or personal values and work activity that makes the subject of values interesting in the context of applied psychology. Generally speaking. directly or indirectly. One is based on selection and allocation. helps to identify “missing” causal links that deserve researchers’ attention in the future. and bringing together people with similar values. 1. VALUES AND WORK IN PRACTICE The inclusion of work activity in our framework model helps to identify what research on values has contributed to practice. If one wishes to know how values would enhance or restrain occupational activities. Generic model of general values and work. Such modification can aim at the promotion of a particular profile of values or at greater homogeneity between people in a . The other approach is to modify the values by means of educational or propagandistic interventions. After all. there are two main approaches to the optimisation of work activity and outcomes. choosing the proper job for people with given values. Examples are: finding people with the appropriate values to do a certain job. one could profit from that knowledge in the optimisation of work activity and its outcomes.

have an effect on people's behaviour at work. and educational qualifications. Values are considered to be motivating and thus to contribute to positive work outconics. Van der Avort. Both approaches are based on the general assumption that values. 1989) and less turnover (Sheridan. lead to greater satisfaction (Meglino. have little power in predicting job success (Hunter & Hunter. the factors explaining value structures and those following from them have been much less studied than the structures themselves. is far from complete and calls for further research. Nevertheless there are two domains in which policy-makers and change-agents have tried to bring about value change. and less malleable than attitudes. there is some knowledge about values in the context of personnel selection. in particular work values. 1994). Value congruence is supposed to reduce conflict and improve cooperation. The findings are more in line with the thesis that values. Although values have not been focal in most studies on family and work. 1996b: Van den Akker. This probably explains why many interventions aim at changing attitudes rather than values. Congruence between employee values and firm values may. are relatively enduring over the individual lifecourse. once established during socialisation.14 ROE AND ESTER group. 1969) have been utilised in practical settings on a substantial scale. Ravlin. and instruments such as the Work Values Inventory (Super. As a consequence of this line of theorising. Also. abilities. that is. Yet our knowledge of the relative role of values compared to other variables such as interests. In addition. 1993) showed boys and girls to have traditional ideas about the paid and household work of themselves and their future spouses. and that what appears to be change in values is in part a reflection of value differences between successive . educational measures seem to have had little effect. Value research tends to have a narrow focus. A study among Dutch students in secondary education (De Zwart et al. 1992). The most conspicuous exception at the individual level is research on vocational choice. especially in the United States. where the focus has been on a more fair division of work and household roles between men and women. Values are thought to be relatively stable. like interests.. There is as yet little research evidence on the successful modzfication of \~rrlries. 1984). & Atkins. Taking a look at the literature with reference to our framework model we must conclude that value researchers have devoted little attention to the pretiictioir of work activity as such. but it is clear that in this domain values. The other is the domain of so-called "culture change" programmes in organisations. There is little evidence to support this position Roc. young people's values have been recognised to be important factors in choosing the right occupation or education. One is the domain of family and work. and the contribution of value-based choice. however. they have somehow been addressed under the assumption that they can indeed be changed. & Van den Elzen.

1978). Inspired by Kurt Lewin’s statement that nothing is as practical as a good theory. is the recent work by Erez and Earley (1993). The theory points at the moderator effect of values. for example. Again. In such cases one might think of preventive interventions aiming at the creation of conditions that avoid such value change. Although more research is needed. the empirical evidence presented suggests that the theory is of definite practical value. and interventions such as differential rewards are likely to be unproductive. in a society characterised by collectivism the “collective self” is more salient than the “individual self”. including the experience of unemployment. Culture has been defined in terms of values (Meglino et al. 1984. 1988). can account for the fact that managerial interventions such as. but have yielded very little evidence to support this assumption (cf. However.VALUES AND WORK 15 generations exposed to different events and living conditions (Jepsen. rather than changed by outside interventions of limited scope and duration. which facilitates the adaptation to their personal situation. but at the same time impedes their (re)entry into employment.Isralovitz & Singer. there is a distinct lack of clarity concerning the way in which people learn and the role played by generational differences (Becker.Projects aiming at culture change have often assumed that value change would occur. 1986. Another issue is that of the natural change of values under particular social conditions. The theory is rather sophisticated and seems able to account for differential effectiveness of a great number of well known interventions. For example. as they aim at enhancing the individual self but not the collective self. including values. such as the decline of “work ethos” among certain groups of people. Krau. may affect their work values (Feather. There is some evidence that the difficulties young people in Western societies meet in their early work career. 1992.performance-based pay. have differed so greatly in effectiveness between countries. Arnold.. 1989. Perhaps the most exciting theoretical development in the field of values and work. . goal-setting.In fact.O’Brien &Feather. Their “cultural self-presentation theory” deals with the question of how cultural factors. especially in the growing number of cases where people work in a culturally heterogeneous environment. where the relevant facets are culturally defined. quality-circles. 1989). Wijting. Fitzgerald. people may re-evaluate the importance of work. we would be inclined to conclude by saying that future value research might be of considerable impact in applied settings. especially if some of the “missing links” in our model were to be properly investigated. job enrichment. & Conrad. 1990). 1995). with great potential implications for practice. values might be relatively durable and reinforced by daily practices and peer influence.Judge & Bretz. It postulates that workers’ responses to such interventions depend on the effects they expect these interventions to have on the different facets of their “selves”. 1990.

focus. should not be overlooked. They depart from a definition of values that distinguishes multiple facets. First. they analyse the meaning of work in terms of the dimensions of their general value types for two Spanish samples: teachers and students. The facets distinguished are: value modality. Multidimensional scaling of data from a sample of Israeli managers and workers reveals a structural similarity between life and work values. Ros. Using data collected in the framework of the Work Importance Study he analyses the work values of Croatian students a5 assessed in 1983 and 1993/94. This is in essence a structural theory. and generate a hypothesis about the relationships between the two. they present a typology of general values and a classification of work values. Whcn comparing the profiles of the 19 work values. The article by Elizur and Sagie deals with the relationship between general values and work values in another way. postulating seven basic dimensions and their interrelationships. Schwartz. Next. Testing these suggestions with a broader variety of occupations from different countries may also throw some light on Schwartz’s own theory. which confirm his theory of values. Schwartz focuses on cultural values and their significance for a variety of work related behaviours. and Surkiss concentrate on the relationship between individual values and work values. and investigate how the structure obtained for life values compares to that of work values. In a second study. In this way. rocietal norms about work. He presents the results of a multidimensional scaling analysis of aggregated data on general values from 49 countries. Sverko focuses on the issue of stability and change in work values. and life area. It is argued that these changes can be attributed to the socio-cconomic developments that have occurred in Croatia during this period. These suggestions provide a fruitful agenda €or future research on general values and work values. which has been developed on the basis of teacher and student samples. the usefulness of a broader perspective on values for the study of work roles is demonstrated. Data from a sample of the Jewish population in Israel provide evidence about the validity of the classifications as well as their interrelationships. he suggests a number of implications of cultural values for differences between nations with regard to work centrality. he notes some differences that seem to reflect changes. pointing at the influence of context on personal values.16 ROE AND ESTER ABOUT THIS SPECIAL ISSUE This special issue contains four contributions. grouped into five categories. The relative importance of life and work values shows some discrepancies. . This topic is discussed with reference to the spillover vs compensation hypothesis and the need for more research is emphasised. Sverko also points out that the stability in work values. in particular during periods of great social change. and work goals.

There is definitely a need to bridge the gap between sociological and psychological research. Research on this topic. 2 (pp.). V. & Gill.. 80-96. Tilburg: Tilburg University Press.V. (1995).P. & Galinat.VALUES AND WORK 17 Of course. Handbook of industrial & organizational psychology. (1995). D. Beiers. is of great theoretical interest and may have considerable practical utility.A. H. De Moor (Ed. Advances in industrial organizational psychology (pp. G. Ball. L. Vocational interests. R. P. I. 24(1).L. Generations and value change. the more as both have addressed cultural and individual values. Farnill. M. Deutsch. The logic of practice. Dunnette & L..W.). In B.495-515. (1991).A..269-296). 22. H. Ann Arbor.D. Allport. M.A.. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Values in Western societies (pp.250-263. (1996). S. Study of values. (1997). as well as in specifying a number of issues in need of further study. &Law. to focus more on explanatory studies and to concentrate on some of the missing links in our model. De Moor. & J.E. (1985).M. Brebner (Eds. H.D. REFERENCES Allport. Bourdieu. Organizational structure of values. values and preferences. 20.J.. Becker. C. Vol. (1989). P. Struktur und Verteilung von Arbeitswerten [Structure and distribution of work values]. (1952). P.W. which belongs to the traditional domains of applied psychology. Cambridge: Policy Press.617-623. G. & Lindzey. In M. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 49. & England. I. W. Tilburg: Tilburg University Press.E. J. & Lindorff.. K. M. R. Braithwaite. A comparison of work related values of personnel officers and career workers. Journal of Business Research.J.J. Crosby. K. & Vernon.. MI: Institute for Social Research. Fallon. (1960). In K. Nationalism and social communication. Structure of human values: Testing thc adequacy of the Rokeach Value Survey. A scale for measuring the dominant interests in personality. & Chung. 123-134.L. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.. The relationship between people’s general values. one cannot expect the articles collected in this special issue to solve all the issues of definition and explanation outlined here.W. Cherrington. Dawis. Work and Occupations.J. (1979). Bae. Psychologische Beitrage. Pfister. A scale for measuring dominant interests in personality. (1990). V.405-413). R. Cambridge. Borg. as well as general and work values.. (1990). CA: Consulting Psychologists Press. 28. work values...Conde. Amsterdam: Elsevier.833-872). Values in Western societies. Study of values. & Moreno. MA: MIT Press. Human values and beliefs: A cross-cultural sourcebook. and work activity also needs more attention. Special Issue: Social values.. Bitner.. Age and work values. (1931). We hope that our general framework model will also be of use in this respect. (1986). But they represent a significant step forward in clarifying the structure of values and in exploring the links between general values and work values.. A. G. . We feel that the time has come to reduce the effort spent on typological and descriptive research. Academy of Management Journal. D.G. Palo Alto.).. Inglehart. Basanez. J. Vernon. Hough (Eds. Cultural values and work attitudes of Korean industrial workers in comparison with those of the IJnited States and Japan.

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