Values: Definition, Characteristics, Importance, Types of Values

What is Values?Generally, value has been taken to mean moral ideas, general conceptions or orientations towards the world or sometimes simply interests, attitudes, preferences, needs, sentiments and dispositions.

But sociologists use this term in a more precise sense to mean “the generalized end which has the connotations of rightness, goodness or inherent desirability”.

It is important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable.

It has a major influence on a person’s behavior and attitude and serves as broad guidelines in all situations.

Actually, the value represents basic convictions 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.

Values Definition – What is Values?

Values defined in Organizational Behavior as the collective conceptions of what is considered good, desirable, and proper or bad, undesirable, and improper in a culture.

Some common business values are fairness, innovations and community involvement.

According to M. Haralambos, “A value is a belief that something is good and desirable”.

According to R.K. Mukherjee, “Values are socially approved desires and goals that are internalized through the process of conditioning, learning or socialization and that become subjective preferences, standards, and aspirations”.

According to Zaleznik and David, “Values are the ideas in the mind of men compared to norms in that they specify how people should behave. Values also attach degrees of goodness to activities and relationships”

According to I. J. Lehner and N.J. Kube, “Values are an integral part of the personal philosophy of life by which we generally mean the system of values by which we live. The philosophy of life includes our aims, ideals, and manner of thinking and the principles by which we guide our behavior”

According to T. W. Hippie, “Values are conscious or unconscious motivators and justifiers of the actions and judgment”

A value is a shared idea about how something is ranked in terms of desirability, worth or goodness. Sometimes, it has been interpreted to mean “such standards by means of which the ends of action are selected”.

Sometimes, it has been interpreted to mean “such standards by means of which the ends of action are selected”.

Thus, values are collective conceptions of what is considered good, desirable, and proper or bad, undesirable, and improper in a culture.

Familiar examples of values are wealth, loyalty, independence, equality, justice, fraternity and friendliness.

Familiar examples of values are wealth, loyalty, independence, equality, justice, fraternity and friendliness. These are generalized ends consciously pursued by or held up to individuals as being worthwhile in them.

It is not easy to clarify the fundamental values of a given society because of their sheer breadth.

Characteristics of Value

Characteristics of Value

Values are different for each person.

These can be defined as ideas 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.

Values may be specific, such as honoring one’s parents or owning a home or they may be more general, such as health, love, and democracy. ‘Truth prevails”, “love thy neighbor as yourself, “learning is good as ends itself are a few examples of general values.

Individual achievement, personal happiness, and materialism are major values of modem industrial society.

It is defined as a concept of the desirable, an internalized creation or standard of evaluation a person possesses.

Such concepts and standards are relatively few and determine or guide an individual’s evaluations of the many objects encountered in everyday life.

The characteristics of values are:

  • These are extremely practical, and valuation requires not just techniques but also an understanding of the strategic context.
  • These can provide standards of competence and morality.
  • These can go beyond specific situations or persons.
  • Personal values can be influenced by culture, tradition, and a combination of internal and external factors.
  • These are relatively permanent.
  • These are more central to the core of a person.
  • Most of our core values are learned early in life from family, friends, neighborhood school, the mass print, visual media and other sources within the society.
  • Values are loaded with effective thoughts about ideas, objects, behavior, etc.
  • They contain a judgmental element in that they carry an individual’s ideas as to what is right, good, or desirable.
  • Values can differ from culture to culture and even person to person.
  • Values play a significant role in the integration and fulfillment of man’s basic impulses and desire stably and consistently appropriate for his living.
  • They are generic experiences in social action made up of both individual and social responses and attitudes.
  • They build up societies, integrate social relations.
  • They mold the ideal dimensions of personality and depth of culture.
  • They influence people’s behavior and serve as criteria for evaluating the actions of others.
  • They have a great role to play in the conduct of social life. They help in creating norms to guide day-to-day behavior.

The values of a culture may change, but most remain stable during one person’s lifetime.

Socially shared, intensely felt values are a fundamental part of our lives. These values become part of our personalities. They are shared and reinforced by those with whom we interact.

Since values often strongly influence both attitude and behavior, they serve as a kind of personal compass for employee conduct in the workplace.

These help to determine whether an employee is passionate about work and the workplace, which in turn can lead to above-average returns, high employee satisfaction, strong team dynamics, and synergy.

Types of Values

types of values

The values that are important to people tend to affect the types of decisions they make, how they perceive their environment, and their actual behaviors.

There are two types of values;

  1. Terminal Values.
  2. Instrumental Values.

Learn more about types of values.

Importance of Values

Importance of Values

Values are the enduring beliefs that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable.

These are more difficult to change or alter.

As ethical conduct receives more visibility in the workplace, the importance of values is increased as a topic of discussion in management.

Values are general principles to regulate our day-to-day behavior. They not only give direction to our behavior but are also ideals and objectives in themselves.

They are the expression of the ultimate ends, goals or purposes of social action.

Our values are the basis of our judgments about what is desirable, beautiful, proper, correct, important, worthwhile and good as well as what is undesirable, ugly, incorrect, improper and bad.

Pioneer sociologist Durkheim emphasized the importance of values (though he used the term ‘morals’) in controlling disruptive individual passions.

He also stressed that values enable individuals to feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves.

E. Shils also makes the same point and calls ‘the central value system,’ (the main values of society) are seen as essential in creating conformity and order.

Indian sociologist R.K. Mukherjee writes: “By their nature, all human relations and behavior are embedded in values.

  • Value is the foundation for understanding the level of motivation.
  • It influences our perception.
  • Value helps to understand what ought to be or what ought not to be.
  • It contains interpretations of right or wrong.
  • These influence attitudes and behavior.
  • It implies that certain behaviors on outcomes are preferred over others.
  • These allow the members of an organization to interact harmoniously. These make it easier to reach goals that would be impossible to achieve individually.
  • These are goals set for achievements, and they motivate, define and color all our activities cognitive, affective add connective.
  • They are the guideposts of our lives, and they direct us to who we want to be.
  • Values and morals can not only guide but inspire and motivate a person, give energy and a zest for living and for doing something meaningful.

Actually, values are important to the study of organizational behavior because they lay the foundation for the understanding of attitudes and motivation.

Individuals enter an organization with preconceived notions of what “ought” or what “ought not” to be. Of course, these notions are not value free.

These 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 virtue of their presence, they provide contrast to what is not important.

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 the family.

Sources of Values

Sources of Values

Sources of value are a comprehensive guide to financial decision-making suitable for beginners as well as experienced practitioners.

It treats financial decision-making as both an art and a science and proposes a comprehensive approach through which companies can maximize their value.

Generally, no values tend to be relatively stable and enduring.

A significant portion of the values we hold is established in our early years from parents, teachers, friends, and others. There are so many sources from which we can acquire different values.

Sources of values are;

  • Family: Family is a great source of values. A child leams his first value from his family.
  • Friends & peers: Friends and peers play a vital role in achieving values.
  • Community or society: As a part of society, a person leams values from society or different groups of society.
  • School: As a learner, school and teachers also play a very important role in introducing values.
  • Media: Media such as – Print media, Electronic media also play the role of increasing values in the mind of people.
  • Relatives: Relative also helps to create values in the minds of people.
  • Organization: Different organizations and institutions also play a vital role in creating value.
  • Religion.
  • History.
  • Books.
  • Others.

Values and Beliefs

Values and Beliefs

Values are socially approved desires and goals that are internalized through the process of conditioning, learning or socialization and that become subjective preferences, standards, and aspirations.

They focus on the judgment of what ought to be. This judgment can represent the specific expression of the behavior.

They are touched with moral flavor, involving an individual’s judgment of what is right, good, or desirable.


  • Values provide standards of competence and morality.
  • These are ideas that we hold to be important.
  • They govern the way we behave, communicate and interact with others.
  • They transcend specific objects, Situations or persons.
  • These are relatively permanent and there is resistant to change them.

Beliefs are the convictions that we generally hold to be true, usually without actual proof or evidence.

They are often, but not always connected to religion. Religious beliefs could include a belief that Allah is alone and created the earth.

Religions other than Islam also have their own set of beliefs.

Nonreligious beliefs could include: that all people are created equal, which would guide us to treat everyone regardless of sex, race, religion, age, education, status, etc with equal respect.

Conversely, someone might believe that all people are not created equal. These are basic assumptions that we make about the world and our values stem from those beliefs.

Our values are things that we deem important and can include concepts like equality, honesty, education, effort, perseverance, loyalty, faithfulness, conservation of the environment and many, many other concepts.

Our beliefs grow from what we see, hear, experience, read and think about.

From these things, we develop an opinion that we hold to be true and unmovable at that time.

From our beliefs, We derive our values, which can either be correct or incorrect when compared with evidence, but nonetheless hold true for us! Everyone has an internalized system of beliefs that they have developed throughout their lives.

These may stem from religion or may develop separately to religion.

  • Beliefs are concepts that we hold to be true.
  • These may come from religion, but not always.
  • Beliefs determine our attitudes and opinions.

Values in Workplace

Values in Workplace

Values can strongly influence employee conduct in the workplace. If an employee values honesty, hard work, and discipline, for example, he will likely make an effort to exhibit those traits in the workplace.

This person may, therefore, be a more efficient employee and a more positive role model to others than an employee with opposite values.

Conflict may arise, however, if an employee realizes that his co-workers do not share his values.

For example, an employee who values hard work may dislike co-workers who are lazy or unproductive without being reprimanded.

Even so, additional conflicts can result if the employee attempts to force his own values on his co-workers.

Values and Attitudes

Values and Attitudes

We can control our behavior in a way that does not reflect our beliefs and values, which in order to embrace a diverse culture and behaviors as a successful manager; we have to adapt our behavior in a positive manner.

There are some similarities and differences between values and attitudes.


Values help to guide our behavior. It decides what we think as for right, wrong, good, or unjust.

Values are more or less permanent in nature. They represent a single belief that, guides actions and judgment across objects and situations. They derived from social and cultural mores.

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