Does the Value Circle Exist Within Persons or Only Across Persons?

Ingwer Borg, Anat Bardi, Shalom Schwartz

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Objective: To test whether the Schwartz (1992) value circle exists within individuals, not only across individuals, thereby providing evidence for the within-person rationale underlying the value circle.
Method: We analyze responses from five samples (a representative sample in Britain, a general population sample in the USA, and university students in Britain and Iran) varying in value measures of the Schwartz value theory (SVS, PVQ40, PVQ21). An unfolding model is used to map each person’s value profile into a 2-dimensional space representing both persons and values.
Results: In all samples, clear value circles were found, with values ordered around the circle largely according to the theory. The model also represents most individuals well.
Conclusions: The value circle exists within individuals, providing strong support for the underlying within-person rationale for the Schwartz (1992) value theory. The unfolding analysis allows identifying which persons fit the model less well and in which way, identifying how meaningful sub-groups differ in their value profiles, and testing whether meaningful sub-groups have different value structures. The model opens up many new possibilities for research linking values to other variables.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-162
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number2
Early online date11 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Values , Value Circle, Unfolding, Circular Scale
  • Value Structure

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