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Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01723

A New Empirical Approach to Intercultural Comparisons of Value Preferences Based on Schwartz’s Theory Provisionally accepted The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon. Notify me

  • 1University of Hamburg, Germany
  • 2Jacobs University Bremen, Germany
  • 3University of Vechta, Germany
  • 4National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia

Empirical tests of Schwartz’s theory of culture-level value priorities have predominantly been performed using an averaging approach–as values of the average individual in a culture. However, from a theory of measurement standpoint such an approach seems inadequate. We argue that the averaging approach is an insufficiently accurate methodology in capturing the compatibilities-incompatibilities between values of individuals within cultures. We propose an approach based on the distribution of values of individuals in a given culture–the distribution approach. Using data from two rounds of the European Social Survey, we show how frequencies of specific individual value priorities in a culture can be used towards the description of culture-level value preferences. We recommend a re-conceptualization of Schwartz’s culture-level value theory to an orthogonal two-dimensional structure, namely as Preservation vs. Alteration and Dominance vs. Amenability, which we explain based on heterogeneity in socioecological indicators across countries. We conclude that societal challenges may influence the cultural value climate across countries.

Keywords: Values, Schwartz, Averaging approach, Distribution approach, societal challenges, Cross-cultural, European Social Survey (ESS)

Received: 03 Apr 2019; Accepted: 23 Jun 2020.

Copyright: © 2020 Witte, Stanciu and Boehnke. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Adrian Stanciu, Jacobs University Bremen, Bremen, 28759, Bremen, Germany,