What are Values? - Terminal, Instrumental, Dominant & Cultural

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  • 0:07 What Are Values?
  • 0:38 Importance of Values
  • 1:46 Types of Value Structures
  • 2:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rob Wengrzyn

Rob has an MBA in management, a BS in marketing, and is a doctoral candidate in organizational theory and design.

Every person has different values, but did you know there are different types of values? In this lesson, we will look at the different types of values and explain their relation to the world around us.

What Are Values?

Values are different for each person. While one person might value honesty, another might value wealth. You see, values have been defined as ideals or beliefs that a person holds desirable or undesirable. The variability in that statement is, first, what a person could value, and second, the degree to which they value it. A person can value honesty and wealth but not to the same degree. For example, a person might have to let their values towards honesty slip a little when it involves increasing their wealth.

The Importance of Values

Values are part of the makeup of a person. They remind us as to what is important in our lives, such as success or family, but also, by the virtue of their presence, they provide contrast to what is not important. For example, if family is important, then potentially, achievement in a high-powered job is not important. Since you value family, it would be hard to value a high-powered job that might take you away from your family. Thus, all values exist in a balance within us.

That is not to say that, over time, values cannot change. As we grow and change as individuals, we will begin to value different aspects of life. If we value family when we are younger, as our children get older, we might start to value success in business more than family so we can pay for things like college, cars, etc.

Regardless of what we value or why, the importance of values cannot be ignored. They are the guideposts of our lives, and they direct us to who we want to be. By doing that, they help us become who we are and are a huge part of our makeup, ethical compass, and, ultimately, personality.

Types of Value Structures

There are four basic value structures.

Terminal Values
These are values that we think are most important or most desirable. They are desirable states of existence that we will work towards or try to reach. They include but are not limited to happiness, self-respect, recognition, inner harmony, and professional excellence.

Instrumental Values
These refer to preferred types of behavior like honesty, sincerity, and ambition. These values are more focused on personality traits and character.

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