There are number of values lists published on the internet, and one popular one is a list found in Brené Brown's book, Dare to Lead. Here's the list...

I thought it'd be interesting to try to map the list above to the Schwartz values framework below. You can download the Schwartz values list below for free.

Schwartz theorizes that human motivation can be distilled into a a framework of 57 individual values and 10 values themes. In short, of the thousands of words we use to describe our motivations, the broad, underlying motivation is often the same thing—thus the 57 values and 10 categories.

And, this is why comparing one value list to the Schwartz list can be insightful; you can see two things:

  1. what degree the values list is arbitrary with the individual values selected
  2. if the list is perhaps unbalanced if certain value themes are over represented

Just doing a word count between Brown's 115 values vs. Schwartz's 57 values, here's the weighting by value theme:

BrownSchwartz
Benevolence229
Universalism199
Achievement186
Security187
Self-Direction106
Tradition85
Power75
Hedonism53
Conformity54
Stimulation33

To get to these numbers, I had to take the broad, underlying motivation of the words Brown used and map them to the Schwartz values. For example, Brown had the words belonging, collaboration, community, connection, and teamwork on her list. I mapped these values to "sense of belonging" in the Schwartz value list.

This mapping exercise is not 100%, but it does give some directional clues. So, to respond to the two numbered bullet points above...

Is the list arbitrary? Overall, no. I think Brown did a wonderful job in capturing almost all the values that Schwartz has identified in his framework. The only values in Schwartz's list that I could not find a corresponding value for in Brown's list were:

  • Power: Preservation of my public image (protecting my "face")
  • Hedonism: Pleasure (gratification of desires)
  • Stimulation: A varied life (filled with challenge, novelty, and change)
  • Security: Cleanliness (neat, tidy)

Are the value themes in the list proportionately balanced? At a high-level, the value categories are organized in the same directional order from largest to smallest—so that's good. However, as you can see the ratios are off between the top and bottom half of the list. The bottom half of the list is almost 1 for 1, where as the top half of the list is 2 or even 3 to 1. For example, Schwartz uses 6 individual values that rollup to the achievement value theme, where as Brown uses 18.

And you might say, well so what? Why is this important? The ratios are important because when you put a list of words in front of someone, if one value theme is over represented on the list, then you may have a situation where someone is selecting more values from that theme, simply because it's represented more than the other themes on the list.

Be that as it may, Brown, has done an excellent job in advocating values development in her book Dare to Lead, and we love her for it!

If you'd like to take a personal values assessment based on the Schwartz values, you can go to Discover Your Values to take the online assessment, download the workbook, or get the card sorting game.