Investigating the concept and definition of values

Living by bread is not the end of life. No doubt bread gives energy to live and to work but what bread is to eat is an index of one’s positive or negative evaluation of an object (attitude). Eating bread to live or living for bread is an index of one’s principle of life (value).

Since the word “attitude” has come first and the word “value” has come next, we take the attitude first.

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Attitude is a positive or negative evaluation of an object, person, slogan, abstract idea or behavior. Evaluation of a concrete object such as a woman/man or an abstract thing such as democracy is the core of attitude. Using words as like and dislike, love and hate, good and bad describe one’s attitude. Social psychologists use specialized terms to describe certain classes of attitude. For example, attitude toward self is called self-esteem; attitude toward health is called health attitude; attitude toward members of one’s group is described as interpersonal attraction; attitude toward those who are more beautiful, more healthy, more wealthy, more politically powerful is explained in terms of hostile attitude.

Attitudes refer to evaluations of specific object. Values refer to enduring beliefs about important life goals that transcend specific situations (RoKeach, 1973). Values are important aspect of self image and serve as guiding principles for a person (Kristiansen & Hotte, 1996). Both attitudes and values are constructs. They are theoretical, intangible and imperceptible which simply manifest or which are inferred from what one speaks, feels or does, and finally they differentiate one man from another, one group of professionals from another group of professionals, one religious/political party from another religious/political party.

Functions of Values:

Although much has been written about values and attitudes, both readers and researchers have not been able to communicate with satisfaction to all. Some theorists have argued that they are really the same thing. Notably, Reich and Adcock (1976) hold that it is important to distinguish very clearly between values and attitudes. They tend to regard attitudes as broader and at times less personal than values. An attitude is like a combination of beliefs and values. It is difficult to present a clear definition of value as it is of an attitude.

Any way, historically speaking, Smith, Bruner and White (1956) were perhaps the first group of psychologists to have presented three different functions of attitude. The first of these is object appraisal. Our attitudes help us to assess different features of our environment so that we know how to act towards them. Attitudes allow our past experience to guide our reaction because we have positive attitude toward things, people and environment we have found helpful in the past or reverse. The second function of an attitude is social adjustment. Holding certain attitudes rather than others can help us to identify with or affiliate to particular social groups. Holding the same attitudes as other members of particular social groups is a way of stressing how much you like them, and therefore also of defining your own place in society. The third function of attitudes is externalization. This is to do with how we match up our inner unconscious motives with what is going on around us. Attitudes allow us to externalize our inner fears or anxieties. Smith, et al (1956) suggested that one reason why attitudes are often quite difficult to change might be because any given attitude can be serving any one of these functions or even a combination of two or three. As a general rule, they argued, we try to understand the world better, and so we will change our attitudes as our experience grows.

Katz (1960) suggested that attitudes serve four different functions; (1) a knowledge function .i.e. attitude can give meaning to our experiences; (2) an adjustive (i.e., utilitarian) function which makes us more socially acceptable; (3) value expressive function which helps us to express what we experience as the more positive aspects of our own inner selves, and (4) ego-defensive function, which allows us to defend and protect our unconscious motives and ideas. The implication of this is that some of our attitudes will be very close to our inner selves and we are likely to resist changing them whereas others will be much more optional and amenable to change. RoKeach (1973) has developed a tool for measuring values. The tool consists of a series of 18 terminal values and 18 instrumental values. A terminal value is an “end-state of existence” which is personally and socially striving worth for. An instrumental value is a mode of conduct which is personally and socially preferable in all situations with respect to all others in terms of their personal importance.

Religiousity refers to a personal life style (i.e. Value) by which the perceptions and decisions are guided. Religion means belief in the existence of God who has created the universe and given man a spiritual nature which continues to exist even after the death of the body. In short, it is a submission to almighty God. Although it is a behavioral confession as well as submission to one’s almighty God, Psychologists have negative opinion about religion. For example, Kotesky (1980) reported that “Watson called Christianity a myth; Freud called it a neurosis; Maslow called it crap. Unfortunately, Christians have often merely reacted (to psychologists) in a similarly negative, critical manner”, (p.44). Indeed, the conflict continues, as recently illustrated by the contention of Albee (1984) that “most religions are sexist, patriarchal and enemies of human progress, (p.83). Ellis (1980) suggested that “religiosity is in many respects equivalent to irrational thinking and emotional disturbance—–The elegant therapeutic solution to emotional problems is to be quite unreligious”, (p.637). Emmons (1984) emphasized, that leadership-Authority, Superiority-Arrogance, and Self-Absorption, Self-Admiration are positively associated with a number of favorable characteristics although the Exploitativeness-Entitlement aspect seems to measure a clearly maladaptive dimension.

Influence of Values on attitude and behavior:

Homer, & Rahle (1988) hold that values indirectly influence behavior, through their influence on attitudes. For example, mainting a certain body shape is an important life goal for film star. Based on the value of a certain bodyshape, film star has a positive attitude toward physical exercise and dieting. Thus positive influences of physical exercise and dieting create a favorableable influence on the behavior (i.e., on physical exercise & dieting).

Although values shape attitude, they do not shape all attitudes, For example, attitudes toward abortion are probably shaped by one’s values, but attitudes toward toothpaste are less likely to be influenced by one’s values, or attitudes toward a big car are probably shaped by one’s social class, but attitudes toward a certain brand of tea are less likely influenced by one’s social class, or to go to Agha Khan Hospital is influenced by one’s social class rather than to go to a government hospital. Thus values are only enduring beliefs about important life goals. People at this moment feel themselves great and above the commoners. In short, attitudes are positive or negative evaluations of people, things, events or issues. Attitudes are determined by a number of factors, such as emotions, cognitions, and past experiences. Values are standards or criteria that serve as a guide to action and to the development and maintenance of attitudes toward events, people, objects, etc.

Measures of Values:

Allport & Vernon (1931) were perhaps the first psychologists to have presented the study of values. They continued their interest (Lindzy in collaboration with Gardner) which resulted in a 1951 edition and a third edition in the year 1960. The study of values aims to measure the relative prominence of six basic interest of motives in personality; the theoretical, economic aesthetic, social, political and religious. These six dimensions of personality values are based upon Spranger’s types of men

Allport, et al’s study of values scale consisted of thirty questions which pitted one value against another, and another fifteen questions are required to be ranked in order of values. The scale provides a relative strength of the six values for each individual. In short, the study of values is self-administering in group or individually. There is no time limit in completing the test. The scale provides a relative strength of the six values for each individual.

A major problem with the test is that the six values are vaguely defined and they are also too general to be of practical use. The test also lacks psychometric soundness.

Allport & Ross (1967) developed a scale entitled “personal religious orientation” with its two dimensions (i) intrinsic religious orientation, and (ii) extrinsic religious orientation. Hunt & King (1971) have argued that intrinsics transcend self-centered needs, and extrinsics are “self-centered” individuals.

Watson, Hood and Morris (1984) found intrinsic, but not the extrinsic, religious orientation of Allport and Ross’s measure of religious orientation was inversely related to narcissism with respect of all others. The testee is asked to rank each set of values from 1 (most important) to 18 (least important) is terms of their personal importance. Religionist refers it to a personal life style (i.e. value) by which the perceptions and decisions are guided. Religion means belief in the existence of a God who has created the universe and given man a spiritual nature which continues to exist after the death of the body. In short, it is a submission to almighty God. Although it is behavioral confessions as well as submission to one’s almighty God, psychologists have negative opinion about religion.

Blood (1969) developed a scale to measure dichotomous work values, namely; (i) protestant concept of work is defined as a belief in the concept that work is life, work brings reward and prestige, work is the best use of time and an acceptance of responsibility and (ii) non-protestant concept of work is defined as a belief in escape from work, escape from striving for any worth achieving goal, taking things easy and accepting life as it is Khalique (1975) suggested that with greater orientation toward bureaucratic work environment there is greater orientation toward protestant work value and lower orientation toward non-protestant work value, and that attitudes toward work and environment are closely related and that one may be inferred from the other.

RoKeach, (1973) describes value as enduring “as something that lasts for a fairly long time. This is important and easy to understand from the mode of conduct” viewpoint i.e., value may be concerned with a particular way of behaving or doing a job. He further describes it in terms of instrumental and value terminal value. Meaning thereby things that value is concerned with some type of goal such as eradication of poverty or creating a world atmosphere of peace.

Work Environment Preference Schedule (WEPS)

Gordon (1973) developed WEPS with the contention that all organizations of our society, say, educational, industrial, governmental or religious institutions are based on bureaucratic model where man at the top prescribes the behavior of men below him, where senior rules over the junior, where the reliability of behavior is maintained by directives, by rules and regulations and by standard operating procedures; where individual approach is not tolerated, where there is a lack of interpersonal relationships among workers and also where distance between superior and subordinates is maintained. The workers feel their souls being partialled out (Weber 1946), they become cogs in the bureaucratic machineries (Blau & Scott, 1962) and they become his master’s voice (Khalique, 1974).

Since personal satisfaction of an individual is dependent to a large extent upon the degree to which his value system can find expression in the environment he works in, Gordon (1968) attempted to develop a work environment preference schedule (WEPS) —-(a) measure of willingness to subordinate one’s self to the stated wishes of the authority, (b) preference for work relationship, (c) desire for the security that the following of rules and standard operating procedures provides and (d) a need for the security provided by organizational identification and conformity to the in group norm. Gordon & Khalique (1972) reported two studies relevant to the validity of the WEPS, conducted on a random sample of male school teachers of Patna (India). Teachers were administered the WEPS together with a morale scale. WEPS scores were found to be significantly and positively associated with the teacher’s level of satisfaction with their highly bureaucratized work environment. During a partially successful teachers’ strike throughout Bihar (India) strikers were found to have openly opposed their bureaucratic authorities than what their counterparts (non-strikers) did.

School Environment Preference Schedule (SEPS)

Gordon (1978) developed SEPS, a parallel scale to WEPS, which is designed to measure the bureaucratic orientation at the student level. For example, (a) a desire to comply with the wishes of and to please one’s teacher, (b) an uncritical acceptance of the opinions of teachers, (c) a preference for impersonal or formal relationships with one’s teachers, (d) a desire for the security that following rules and regulations affords, and; (e) a need to identify with one’s school. That is the more bureaucratically oriented student tends to be the better behaved is consonant with the nature of the bureaucratic values—-where pleasing one’s teacher and conformity to rules are major behavioral indices.

Since the thesis is concerned about the relationship of personal and interpersonal values of low, normal and pathological narcissistic men and women, detailed account of the three scales, viz Gordon’s (1960) Survey of Personal Values, Gordon’s (1967) Survey of Interpersonal Values and Raskin and Terry’s (1988) Narcissism Personality Inventory is reasonably needed.

Since Survey of Interpersonal Values was developed earlier i.e. in the year 19 and Survey of Personal Values appeared later i.e. in the year 1967, and Narcissistic Personality Inventory appeared in the year 1988, their descriptions follow the sequence of their years of publication.

Survey of Interpersonal Values (SIV)

Survey of Interpersonal Values (SIV) developed by Leonard V. Gordon (1960), personality assessment. An individual may be described by what he characteristically does in particular situations, that is, in terms of traits that typify his behavior. In addition, he may be described in terms of his basic motivational patterns, or the values/views that he holds. That is both types of measures are important.

Gordon (1960) holds that a person’s values may determine to a large, degree what he does or how well he performs. His immediate decisions and his life goals are influenced, consciously or unconsciously, by his value systems. His personal satisfaction is dependent to a large extent upon the degree to which his value systems can find expression in everyday life. The presence of strong, incompatible values within the individual, or conflict between his values and those of others, may affect his efficiency and personal adjustment.

One approach that may be used in measuring the individual’s values is to determine what he considers to be important. If we know what and individual considers to be important, we know what his values are. By this approach, the Survey of Interpersonal Values (SIV) attempts to provide measures within one segment of the value domain. It is designed to measure certain critical values involving the individual’s relationships to other people or their relationships to him. These values are important in the individual’s personal, social, marital and occupational adjustment. These six values measured are: Support (S); Conformity (C); Recognition (R); Independence (I); Benevolence (B); and Leadership (L).

The scales are interpreted in terms of the items contained in them as determined by factor analytic methods. The scales are defined by what high scoring individuals value. Low scoring individuals simply do not value what is defined by that particular scale. Following are definitions of the scales:

S — Support: Being treated with understanding, receiving encouragement from other people, being treated with kindness and consideration.

C — Conformity: Doing what is socially correct, following regulations closely, doing what is accepted and proper, being a conformist.

R — Recognition: Being looked up to and admired, being considered important, attracting favorable notice achieving recognition.

I — Independence: Having the right to do whatever one wants to do, being free to make one’s own decisions, being able to do things in one’s own way.

B — Benevolence: Doing things for other people sharing with others, helping the unfortunate, being generous.

L —- Leadership: Being in charge of other people, having authority over others, being in a position of leadership or power. (p.3)

SIV (1960) is a forced-choice scale. That is to say, performance evaluation scale is designed to eliminate bias and subjectivity supervisor ratings by forcing a choice between options that are equal in social desirability: To make it more clear, items of a forced-choice scale are matched in terms to their social desirability. SIV consists of thirty sets of three statements or triads. In each triad, the respondent indicates one statement as representing what is most important to him and one statement as representing what is least important to him, and leaving the remaining third statement. In this way, the likelihood of the individual’s responding to the favorableness of the statement rather than to its degree of importance to him is reduced. In other words, forced-choice method reduces the possibility of faking a statement (Gordon & Stapleton, 1956; Rusmore, 1956).

Reliabilities were worked out by the use of K-R formula and they were recorded to fall within the range of .71 to .86. Temporal reliabilities were also found to have a range of.78 to .89 with a ten day interval between the two administrations of the SIV.

Group differences and reasonableness of relations among the scales and other measures show the meaningfulness of SIV. Gordon (1960) did not get gender difference.

Survey of Personal Values (SPV)

Gordon (1967) maintained his contention that individuals may be described by how they characteristically react in given classes of situations, that is, in terms of temperaments that typify their behavior. In addition, indi­viduals may be described in terms of motivational dimen­sions or in terms of the values that they hold. The measurement of both temperaments and values is important in the assessment of the individual.

People’s values may be instrumental in determining what they do or how well they perform. Their immediate deci­sions, as well as their long-range plans, are influenced, con­sciously or unconsciously, by their value systems. Their personal satisfaction is dependent to a large extent upon the degree to which their values find expression in everyday life. Value incompatibility or conflict, within the individual or between individuals, is at the root of many personal and interpersonal problems.

One approach to measuring values is to determine the rela­tive importance individuals ascribe to various activities. Using this approach, the Survey of Personal Values (SPV) attempts to provide measures within one segment of the value domain. SPV is designed to measure certain critical values that help to determine the manner in which individuals cope with the problems of everyday living. The six values measured by the SPV are Practical Mindedness (P), Achievement (A), Variety (V), Decisiveness (D), Orderliness (O), and Goal Orientation (G).

The Survey of Personal Values is brief, requiring approxi­mately fifteen minutes to administer; yet it has adequate reliability for individual use. High school, college, industrial, and other adult samples were used throughout the development of the SPV. The item content was found to be meaningful for each of these groups; the scales, developed through the method of factor analysis, were found to have discriminating power within each of these groups.

Forced-choice format is employed in the SPV. The instru­ment consists of thirty sets of three statements, or triads. In each triad, the respondent indicates one statement as representing what is most important and one statement as representing what is least important to himself or herself. Within each triad, three different value dimensions are represented. The three statements within each set were equated as far as possible for social desirability through a matching or preference value indices (Gordon, 1953). In this way, the likelihood of the individual’s responding to the favorableness of the statement rather than to its degree of importance to that person is reduced. The forced-choice method is believed to be less susceptible to willful distortion under conditions of operational administration than is the traditional questionnaire approach.

The scales are interpreted in part by their item content, which reflects what high-scoring individuals’ value. The following are definitions of the scales as reflected by their item con­tent.

P — Practical Mindedness: To always get one’s money’s worth, to take good care of one’s property, to get full use out of one’s possessions, to do things that will pay off.

A — Achievement: To work on difficult problems, to have a, challenging job to tackle, to strive to accomplish something significant, to set the highest standards of accomplishment for oneself, to do an outstanding job in anything one tries.

V — Variety: To do things that are new and different, to have a variety of experiences, to be able to travel a great deal, to go to strange or unusual places, to experience an element of danger.

D — Decisiveness: To have strong and firm convictions, to make decisions quickly, to always come directly to the point, to make one’s position on matters very clear, to come to a decision and stick to it.

O — Orderliness: To have well-organized work habits, to keep things in their proper place, to be a very orderly person, to follow a systematic approach in doing things, to do things according to a schedule.

G — Goal Orientation: To have a definite goal toward which o work, to stick to a problem until it is solved, to direct one’s efforts toward clear-cut objectives, to know precisely where one is headed.

Response consistencies to the scales of the SPV were deter­mined in two ways through internal analysis (K-R method) and through test-retest administrations.

The second set of estimates represents the short-term sta­bility of the scales, as estimated by the test-retest method. The SPV was administered twice, with a seven to ten-day interval between testings, to a group of 97 college students, and with a one-week interval to 487 prisoners, (Bassett, et al., 1977). Gordon (1967) did not get gender difference.

Narcissistic Personality Inventory(NPI)

The concept of narcissism (i.e., obsessive self-centeredness) is as old as the nature of mankind. But for one reason or the other the behavioral indecies of obsessive self-centeredness were included very late in DSM-3rd. (1980) which defined the narcissistic personality by the following clinical criteria: a grandiose sense of self-importance or uniqueness; a preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love, exhibitionism, an inability to tolerate criticism, the indifference of others, or defeat, entitlement or the expectation of special favors without assuming reciprocal responsibilities, interpersonal exploitativeness, relationship that alternate between extremes of overidealization and devaluation, and a lack of empathy.

Historically, it is important to note that a year before the publication of DSM-lll (1980) Raskin & Hall (1979) published a paper contending that narcissism is one of the normal human traits. Since then distinguished teaching, practicing, and researching psychologist/psychiatrists are attempting to describe and define narcissism. Raskin & Terry (1988) defined narcissism as “self-administration that is characterized by tendencies toward grandiose ideas, exhibitionism and defensiveness in response to criticism; interpersonal relationships that are characterized by feelings of entitlement, exploitativeness, and a lack of empathy” (p.896). Emmons (2000) held this definition high.

Raskin and Terry (1988) derived seven components (Authority, Exhibitionism, Superiority, Entitlement, Exploitativeness, Self-sufficiency and Vanity) from factorial analysis. The component Authority is based on 8 items, Exhibitionism is based on 7 items, Superiority is based on 5 items, Entitlement is based on 6 items, Exploitativeness is based on 5 items, Self-sufficiency is based on 6 items and Vanity is based on 3 items. Thus NPI is based on a total of 40 items. Reliability was found to be .84 on a sample of 479 males and .82 on a sample of 539 females, and .83 on a combined sample of 1018 respondents. Gender difference was not worth reporting.

Averbach, (1984);, Biscardi & Schill, (1985);, Emmons, (1981, 1984, 1987);, Leak, (1984);, Phares & Erskine, (1984);, Prifitera & Ryan, (1984);, Robbins & Patton, (1985), Watson, Grisham, Trotter and Biderman, (1984), Watson Hood & Morris, (1984);, Watson Taylor, & Morris, (1987) and many more have reported sufficient evidence to suggest that Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) is both promising and viable measure for the general construct of narcissism. It is getting recognition among researchers.

Highlights of NPI, SIV and SPV

The NPI, SIV and SPV are similar as well as dissimilar among themselves.

NPI is a measure of trait of personality. Both SIV and SPV are measures of values of personality.

NPI is a homogenous measure. SIV and SPV are heterogeneous measures.

NPI is based on forced-choice method. SIV and SPV are also based on forced-choice method.

Items of all the three measures are factorially derived.

NPI contains 40 dyads of statements. Both SIV and SPV contain 30 triads of statements in each.

The internal consistencies of items of NPI, SIV and SPV were estimated by the use of Kuder-Richardson formula # 20.

Estimates of temporal reliabilities of all the three measures were estimated from the pairs of scores obtained on two occasions with almost an interval of 10-days interval between the administrations of the measures.

The three measures, NPI, SIV and SPV, are conceptually valid measures.

The measures do not show any gender difference.

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