Science of Self ™ Knowledge Centre

The 6 Values that Shaped the World

Sep 14, 2012


Since humans first came together to form civilisations, people have developed interests in distinctive areas of life. Commerce gave rise to merchants who saw the power in trade; the emergence of furniture, clothing and jewellery gave rise to artisans who saw the value in crafting things of beauty; healers saw a greater purpose in helping the sick; priests in the divine.

Over time, a group of researchers came to discover that there were six core interests (or values) that human beings universally tend to dedicate their careers and lives to:

  • Knowledge
  • Money
  • Beauty
  • Helping Others
  • Individual Power
  • A Greater Power


What makes a person value the pursuit of knowledge over the pursuit of money? Or individual power over helping others?

How are Values Formed?

Researchers generally agree that values are mostly the result of environmental conditioning. They are heavily influenced by our upbringing and particularly the first 20 years of life.

The formation process is relatively simple:

  • You have experiences (family, friends, school, media etc.)
  • From your experiences, you form beliefs that might be positive or negative
  • Similar, related beliefs cluster together and form values

Basically, values are a set of positive or negative beliefs that determine what we like and what we dislike. Values are something we really want and so cause us to take action, or something we really want to avoid and so move away from; that means that they are the primary source of our motivations.

Eduard Spranger, a German psychologist, published the book "Types of Men" in 1928 which proposed 6 core motivators (or values) that people are universally drawn towards. After extensive research, a company called Target Training International (TTI) revised and updated Spranger's theory, which was developed into a psychometric assessment called the Workplace Motivators profile.

The 6 Motivators (Values):

  • Theoretical: Truth, knowledge, understanding.
  • Utilitarian: Utility, money, return on investment.
  • Aesthetic: Beauty, balance, harmony.
  • Social: Compassion, kindness, helping others.
  • Individualistic: Power, influence, uniqueness.
  • Traditional: Order, structure, purpose.



Curious to Learn More?

If you are curious to learn more, check out the Workplace Motivators profile to discover your top values. This profile can be used as part of the DISC-Motivators profile to reveal the driving force behind your behaviour.

Topics: Motivators & Drivers

Theo Winter

Theo Winter

Client Services Manager, Writer & Researcher. Theo is one of the youngest professionals in the world to earn an accreditation in TTI Success Insight's suite of psychometric assessments. For more than a decade, he worked with hundreds of HR, L&D and OD professionals and consultants to improve engagement, performance and emotional intelligence of leaders and their teams. He authored the book "40 Must-Know Business Models for People Leaders."


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