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RAM. Revista de Administração Mackenzie

On-line version ISSN 1678-6971


VAUCLAIR, Christin-Melanie. Measuring cultural values at the individual-level: considering morality in cross-cultural value research. RAM, Rev. Adm. Mackenzie (Online) [online]. 2009, vol.10, n.3, pp. 60-83. ISSN 1678-6971.

Shared values are typically seen as one of the core aspects of culture. The usual procedure for deriving shared cultural values is through analyzing individuals' value priorities at the cultural-level. This paper outlines the conceptual and methodological problems associated with this procedure. Findings from selected empirical studies are presented to corroborate this critique. Alternative ways of measuring cultural values at the individual-level are presented and classified into a value taxonomy. Within this taxonomy past studies have so far focused on measuring values through importance ratings reflecting what individuals or social groups "desire". However, the argument is made that if cultural values are supposed to be shared they should reflect what is "desirable", i.e. what one "ought" to value or to strive for as a goal in life in a certain society. This constitutes a new approach for the measurement of cultural values. It is proposed that cultural values are measurable at the individual-level using the concept of morality. Suggestions are made how moral values could be operationalized referring to either the individual's moral values or those of a social group. The benefits of the value taxonomy for future research are eventually described.

Keywords : Values; Culture; Morality; Measurement; Theory.

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