Schwartz Culture Model

J Pers Assess. 2005 Oct;85(2):170-8.

Measuring values with the Short Schwartz’s Value Survey.


The reliability and validity of the Short Schwartz’s Value Survey (SSVS) was examined in 4 studies. In Study 1 (N = 670), we examined whether value scores obtained with the SSVS correlate with those obtained with Schwartz’s Value Survey (SVS; Schwartz, 1992, 1996) and the Portrait Values Questionnaire (Schwartz et al., 2001) and whether the quasi-circular structure of values can be found with the SSVS. In Study 2 (N = 3,261), we replicated the quasi-circular structure in a more heterogeneous sample and assessed whether the SSVS can differentiate appropriately between gender, religiosity, students from different fields, and supporters of left- and right-wing political parties. In Study 3 (N = 112), we examined the test-retest reliability of the SSVS and in Study 4 (N = 38), time saving gained by the SSVS compared to the SVS. The results show that the new scale had good reliability and validity and that the values measured by the SSVS were arrayed on a circle identical to the theoretical structure of values. We also provided equations that can be used in future studies to measure individuals’ scores on the 2 main value dimensions, Self-Transcendence and Conservation.

The World Values Survey ( is a global network of social scientists studying changing values and their impact on social and political life, led by an international team of scholars, with the WVS association and secretariat headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.

Schwartz Value Survey

Shalom Schwartz (1992, 1994) used the ‘Schwartz Value Inventory‘ (SVI) with a wide survey of over 60,000 people to identify common values that acted as ‘guiding principles for one’s life’.

Ten ‘value types’ are identified that gather multiple values into a single category.







Openness to change


The idea behind the scale is that there is an internal order and structure to values. Using various statistical techniques, Schwartz has found that the ten basic human values show a pattern of relationships that can be graphed as a circle (see below).

The values are described by Schwartz as follows:

POWER: Social status and prestige, control or dominance over people and resources
ACHIEVEMENT: Personal success through demonstrating competence according to social standards
HEDONISM: Pleasure or sensuous gratification for oneself
STIMULATION: Excitement, novelty, and challenge in life
SELF-DIRECTION: Independent thought and action – choosing, creating, exploring
UNIVERSALISM: Understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection for the welfare of all people and for nature
BENEVOLENCE: Preservation and enhancement of the welfare of people with whom one is in frequent personal contact
TRADITION: Respect, commitment, and acceptance of the customs and ideas that traditional culture or religion provide
CONFORMITY: Restraint of actions, inclinations, and impulses likely to upset or harm others and violate social expectations or norms
SECURITY: Safety, harmony, and stability of society, of relationships, and of self

The figure below shows your averages (in green) compared to the average scores of liberals (in blue) and the average scores of conservatives (in red).


To learn more, you can read this paper.

As well, here is another relevant academic article.

Schwartz, S.H. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, M. Zanna, San Diego: Academic Press.

Shalom Schwartz, an Israeli sociologist, identifies seven cultural values in three pairs, usually arranged in a circle. Here is a brief discussion of these dimensions.

Embeddedness vs. Autonomy


This is a focus on sustaining the social order, of avoiding change and retaining tradition. It is significant where people are living or working closely with others and where conformance withgroup norms is important. Embeddedness cultures value tradition, security, obedience.


The price and opposite of embeddedness is autonomy, where individuals have control over their choices as opposed to having to consider others and shared rules. In practice, autonomy is about freedom as opposed to the policed control of embeddedness culture.

Autonomy is divided into two types: affective and intellectual.

Affective Autonomy is the independent pursuit of pleasure, seeking enjoyment by any means without censure. In many societies there are limits when affective autonomy leads to taking banned substances or acting in ways that distresses or harms others.

Intellectual Autonomy is the independent pursuit of ideas and thought, whether it is theoretical, political or whatever. In embeddedness cultures it is hard to police what people are thinking, though actions can be taken to monitor intellectual publishing and discussions.

Mastery vs. Harmony


In a mastery culture, individuals seek success through personal action. This may benefit the person and/or the groups to which they belong, sometimes at the expense of others. Mastery needs independence, courage, ambition, drive and competence.


In a harmony culture, rather than seek self-improvement, people are happy to accept their place in the world. People here put greater emphasis on the group than on the individual.

Hierarchy vs. Egalitarianism


In hierarchical cultures, there is a clear social order, with some people in superior positions while others are in inferior positions. People here accept their position in the hierarchy and are expected to be modest and have due self-control.


In the egalitarian culture, everyone is considered to be equal and everyone is expected to show concern for everyone else. So what?

Use this model as a lens to try to understand different national cultures.

See also

Schwartz’s Value Inventory, Trompenaars’ and Hampden-Turner’s cultural factors


Schwartz, S.H. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values : Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. San Diego: Academic Press


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