Definition of values

According to Radhakamal Mukherjee, “Values may be defined as socially approved desires and goals that are internalized through the process of conditioning, learning or socialization.”

According to Allport, “Value is a belief upon which a man acts by preferences.”According to Hill, Values are individual beliefs to which people attach significant worth and by which they organize their life.

Value can also be defined as a principle that promotes well-being or prevents harm. Human beings have the unique ability to define their identity, choose their values and establish their beliefs. All three of these directly influence a person’s behaviour. Thus, values are principles before us that guide and direct our behaviour.

Not all values have the same weight or priority. Some are more important than others and must be satisfied before others. Dr Abraham Maslow illustrated this with his hierarchy of human needs. Survival has a higher priority than security, which has a higher priority than social acceptance. Self-esteem can only be addressed when social acceptance is fulfilled. Similarly, self-actualization can only be pursued when self-esteem has been satisfied.

Features of Values

  • Value is an emotional attitude in a sense that it motivates a person directly or indirectly to act in the most desirable way preferred by him.
  • Values are at the core of personality and are a powerful force affecting behaviour.
  • Values give direction and firmness to life and bring joy, satisfaction and peace to life.
  • Values regulate and guide human behaviour and action in our day to daily life.
  • Values involve the processes of thinking, knowing and understanding the feelings and action.
  • Values are essential constituents of civilisation. Our values given an indication of our character and determine our moral and ethical choices.
  • Values shape behaviour of both individuals as well as of organizations. The behaviour of individuals affects the behaviour of organization if the individual is a part of organization.
  • Acquisition of values begins at birth. Primarily values are learned at home but in due course they will change according to their experiences.
  • Values changes over time within the same society which are influenced by the changing needs and present situations of the society.
  • Many values are relatively stable and enduring and one’s behaviour can be predicted by his upheld values.