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Schwartz's Value Inventory


Explanations > Values > Schwartz's Value Inventory

Power | Achievement | Hedonism | Stimulation | Self-direction | Universalism | Benevolence | Tradition | Conformity | Security | So what?


Shalom Schwartz (1992, 1994) used the 'Schwartz Value Inventory' (SVI) with a wide survey of over 60,000 people to identify common values that acted as 'guiding principles for one's life'.

Ten 'value types' are identified that gather multiple values into a single category.


This takes value from social status and prestige. The ability to control others is important and power will be actively sought through dominance of others and control over resources.


Value here comes from setting goals and then achieving them. The more challenge, the greater the sense of achievement. When others have achieved the same thing, status is reduced and greater goals are sought.


Hedonists simply enjoy themselves. They seek pleasure above all things and may, according to the view of others, sink into debauchery.


The need for stimulation is close to hedonism, though the goal is slightly different. Pleasure here comes more specifically from excitement and thrills and a person with this driver is more likely to be found doing extreme sports than propping up a bar.


Those who seek self-direction enjoy being independent and outside the control of others. The prefer freedom and may have a particular creative or artistic bent, which they seek to indulge whenever possible.


The universalist seeks social justice and tolerance for all. They promote peace and equality and find war anathema except perhaps in pursuit of lasting peace.


Those who tend towards benevolence are very giving, seeking to help others and provide general welfare. They are the 'earth mothers' who nurture all.


The traditionalist respects that which has gone before, doing things simply because they are customary. They are conservatives in the original sense, seeking to preserve the world order as is. Any change makes them uncomfortable.


The person who values conformity seeks obedience to clear rules and structures. They gain a sense of control through doing what they are told and conforming to agreed laws and statutes.


Those who seek security seek health and safety to a greater degree than other people (perhaps because of childhood woes). Though they may worry about the potential of military force, they welcome the comfort that their existence brings.


Note how these values form something of a spectrum, with successive values often having a close relationship. This is perhaps unsurprising as they are groupings of a larger number of values. They can also be collated into larger super-groups:

  • Openness to change: Stimulation, self-direction and some hedonism.
  • Self-enhancement: Achievement, power and some hedonism.
  • Conservation: Security, tradition and conformity.
  • Self-transcendence: Universalism and benevolence.

These can be arranged in a circle or square, as below, with these four variables forming two dimensions of focus on the self or not, and seeking stability or change.











Openness to change


So what?

This model is useful both in understanding values and also in understanding culture.

See also

Schwartz Culture Model


Schwartz, S.H. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, M. Zanna, San Diego: Academic Press

Schwartz, S.H. (1994). Beyond individualism/collectivism: New dimensions of values. Individualism and Collectivism: Theory Application and Methods. U. Kim, H.C. Triandis, C. Kagitcibasi, S.C. Choi and G. Yoon, Newbury Park, CA: Sage


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