3.2.1 Parsons & Shils + Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck


The two "classical" value orientations, by Parsons and Shils, and by Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck, have influenced, among others, Hofstede and Trompenaars in their value studies and classifications.

Parsons and Shils state that value orientations explain behaviour and that people learn the values in the socialization process and make their behavioural choices unconsciously. Some of their value dimensions as well as the terminology, for instance, universalism and particularism, were later incorporated into the framework of Trompenaars.

According to Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck value orientations result from challenges that all people have to solve and influence concrete decisions in everyday life. These kinds of problems are, for instance,

  • What is the relation of man to nature?
  • What is the character of innate human nature?
  • What is the temporal focus of human life?

There are for all societies a limited number of possible solutions to which people in different cultures give different preferences.

Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck propose the following value orientations:

  • relation to nature (mastery, harmony, submission)
  • basic human nature (good, bad, neutral)
  • time orientation (past, present, future)
  • activity orientation (being, doing, becoming)
  • relationship among people (group, individual)

Also these orientations are to be seen in the work of later scholars studying values, such as Hofstede.

© Liisa Salo-Lee, 2006

From the following video lectures by professor Galina Elizarova (Dr in English Linguistics from the Hertzen State Pedagogical University; St Petersburg, Russia) you will learn more about value orientations of relation to nature and time orientation. In addition, professor Elizarova discusses these verbal and nonverbal communication issues: personal space, different patterns of communication and attitudes to arguments.


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