Motivation based on values (IV)

In previous articles we have dealt with generic motivation, intrinsic motivation and motivation to entrepreneurship. In this post our approach starts from values, and from these, aims to arrive at motivation, precisely in the choice and prioritization of the same as guides of behavior.


People’s values, like their needs, induce valences about their possible actions, that is, their actions become more attractive, more subjectively valued, insofar as they promote the achievement of valued goals. People who value stimulation are likely to be attracted to a challenging job offer, while those who value security may find the same offer threatening and unattractive. High priority values ​​are fundamental to the concept of (one /) itself. Detecting an opportunity to achieve them results in an automatic, positive and affective response to the actions that will serve them. Detecting a threat to value achievement leads to a negative affective response (Feather, 1995).

The reflection on values ​​begins with the classic works on the virtues contemplating a few possibilities that revolve around what is virtuous human action in a just society (Plato 428-347 BC). For Aristotle (384-322 BC), unlike for his teacher, the supreme good was happiness. Faith, hope and charity are the highest virtues for the Christian (St. Thomas 1224-1274), virtues that also present their internal hierarchy (the first is charity). For Hobbes (1588-1679) or Spinoza (1632-1677) are self-protection and survival. With Kant (1724-1804) the distance separating internal knowledge from virtue from the external obligation of norms is shortened.

Humanistic psychology asserts that there is no separation between quality and object, nor division between being and value. Values ​​have traditionally been hidden in the essences of things (Ortega and Gasset, 2004) and have become autonomous in contemporary philosophy by trying to find meaning in the universe as a whole and in each of its elements.

Values ​​have to do with how we behave, are generalizable and are not just about personal experiences (Haydon, 2003); Are perceived by a non-intellectual process of estimation (Ortega and Gasset, 2004) and are not only worth to make value judgments but have to be embodied in the behavior of people in a creative way.

To introduce the “modern” view of values ​​we will briefly discuss these three models:

  1. Ken Wilber’s Four Quadrant Model
  2. Hofstede’s 5-Dimensional Model
  3. The Hall-Tonna Model

1) Ken Wilber’s Four Quadrant Model

The quadrants represent the four different perspectives that one can have on human systems:

  • From within the individual consciousness, personal values ​​and beliefs. Values ​​seen from a general level of consciousness, the way values ​​make sense and relate to the world (intentional values).
  • From the outside of individual actions and individual behaviors. Values ​​seen from a collection of emotions, cognitive processing and all manifested actions (behavioral values).
  • From within a collective consciousness, cultural values ​​and beliefs. Values ​​seen from the point of view of social policies and norms (social values).
  • From outside a collective through a group of social structures, systems, processes, actions and behaviors. Values ​​seen from a pattern of underlying basic assumptions (cultural values).

2) Hofstede’s 5-Dimensional Model

Hofstede developed the so-called 5-Dimensional Model to identify the cultural patterns of each group / community / nationality. It is a model of great help in intercultural communication:

  1. Distance to power
  2. Individualism – Collectivism
  3. Quantity / quality of life (Masculinity – Femininity)
  4. Avoidance of uncertainty
  5. Long-term orientation

1. Distance to Power: the degree to which the community accepts that power in institutions and organizations is unevenly distributed. It goes from relative equality (little distance from power) to great inequality (a great distance from power). The degree to which there is more inequality, in which there are higher hierarchical levels, is also the degree to which the members of a society accept that power is unevenly distributed.

2. Individualism or Collectivism: Individualism is the degree to which members of a community prefer to act as individuals rather than as members of a group. In individualistic cultures, the first identification is with yourself, and the task of education is precisely to find oneself and to stand on one’s feet, without being dependent on the group (s) to which one belongs. In collectivism people belong to groups, clans, organizations, families, who take care of them and to whom they owe loyalty. In the first place the person identifies with the group and then with oneself.

3.Quantity of Life or Quality of Life: the quantity of life is the degree to which values ​​of assertiveness, economic gains and material goods prevail. Quality of life is the degree to which people value relationships and show sensitivity and interest in the well-being of others. This indicator tells us if in a given culture there are many differences between how people or others should behave depending on their gender.

4. Evasion of Uncertainty: degree to which a community prefers structured situations rather than unstructured, uncertain and ambiguous situations and tries to avoid them. This dimension marks the degree to which people feel threatened by uncertainty and try to avoid it.

5. Long-Term or Short-Term Orientation: Long-term oriented culture members look to the future and value savings and persistence. With a short-term orientation, the past and the present are valued and the respect for tradition and the fulfillment of social obligations are emphasized.


3) The Hall-Tonna Model

In 1976 Hall published the book entitled The Development of Conciousness: A Confluent Theory of Values, in which he reflected on the works of Maslow (1973), Erickson (1980), Kohlberg (1981) and other authors who worked on human development Making the development of values ​​coincide with that of consciousness.

The contribution of Hall consisted in the design of a map that represented the relations between the values ​​and the stages of maturity of the person. Hall found that certain values ​​became priorities at different stages of our development. The core of this theory is that any human behavior can be described through a combination of these values.

Hall asserts that what people value and prioritize in their lives is mediated by what they think this is, so it is real for everyone. Hall cites Jung in approaching this idea, stating that the person needs to externalize the conditions of the unconscious and live the experience of himself as a whole: “Jung wrote in Reflections (1963: 3) My life is a story of the self realization of The unconscious. Everything in the unconscious seeks outward manifestation, and the personality too desires to evolve out of its unconscious conditions and experience itself as a whole “(Hall, 1995).

Hall and Tonna propose the hypothesis of the existence of 125 elemental, common (universal) values ​​to all human beings. They divide the values ​​in goals and means and in turn in two dimensions: personal and institutional.


Goal values ​​are characterized by greater stability and permanence than the means that are more provisional and reflect the strategies, paths and resources used to achieve them. The former respond to medium- and long-term objectives and often remain throughout life. There is a connection between them: they are built upon each other. That is, it is not about different values ​​but about increasingly complex versions of the same values. Of the 125 values, 29 are goals and 96 means. Goals are directed toward the future and guide human behavior. They form a kind of natural course of development that progresses through phases and stages representing in each phase a different world view and building each stage on the previous ones.

New developments of the Hall-Tonna model

New developments have been made about the central role of values ​​in organizations, and of them comes Management by values. One of the earliest papers on this subject was entitled Management by Values: Value Bassed Programs that Build Commitment (Hall and Joiner, 1992).

Finally, we invite the reader to review a small contribution to the topic that we published in his day about what we call “values-happiness“.


If you want to know a little bit more …


Feather, N. T. (1995). Values, valences and choice: The influence of values on the perceived attractiveness and choice of alternatives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68.

Ken Wilber. A Brief History of Everything. New York: Shambhala, 1996; p. 71.

Maslow, A.H. (1973) The Farther Reaches of Human Nature  NY: Viking, 1971. Harmondworth, Eng: Penguin Books, 1973.

Maslow, A.H. (1973) The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. The Human Potential Center.

Maslow, A. (2016) La personalidad creadora. Barcelona: Kairós. [Primera edición original de 1971; de la edición española, Mayo 1983, Barcelona: Kairós].

Ortega y Gasset, J. (2004) Introducción a una estimativa ¿Qué son los valores?. Madrid: Encuentro.

Haydon, G. (2003) Enseñar valores. Un nuevo enfoque. Ministerio de Educación – Morata. Madrid.

Hall, B.P. (1976) The Development of Conciousness: A confluent Theory of Values. New York: Paulist Press.

Hall, B.P. y Joiner, C.W. (1992) Management by Values. Ohio: Values Technology.

Hall, B.P. (1995) Values Shift: Personal and Organizational Development. New York: Twin Lights Publishing.

Hall, B.P. y Tonna, B. (1980) God’s Plans for Us: a practical strategy for communal discernments of spirits. New York: Paulist Press.

Erickson, E.H. (1980) Identity and the Life Cicle. New York: W.W.Norton & Company Inc.

Jung, C.G. (1963) Memories, Dreams and Reflections. New York: Pantheon Books. En español (2001). Recuerdos, sueños, pensamientos. Barcelona: Seix Barral.

Kohlberg, L. (1981) Essays on Moral Development: Vol. 1, The Philosophy of Moral Development. San Francisco: Harper and Row.