Why study values?

tekijä: Kari Parrott Viimeisin muutos maanantai 30. syyskuuta 2013, 09.05

In this section we will discuss values in various cultures. The reading material introduces different approaches to cultural values in cross-cultural and intercultural studies. There is also a series of video lectures by Dr. Galina Elizarova. She gives some examples, mostly from a Russian perspective, of how cultural values can manifest in everyday life and in communication. The topics are

  • Relationship to nature
  • Time orientation
  • Personal space
  • Different patterns of communication
  • Attitudes to arguments

 

The authors of one of the first academic textbooks of Intercultural Communication, J. Condon and T. Yousef (1975), in saying "something about values," state, "The student of values seeks underlying principles as categories both for distinguishing cultures and for finding commonplaces among cultures" (p. 48). They continue by saying that, "Values have to do with what is judged good or bad, right or wrong. Statements based on values describe the ideal, the standards by which behaviour is evaluated; they do not necessarily describe the actual behaviour" (p. 51).

While it is too strong to say that values dictate behavior, they can be seen as influencing it. We also evaluate others' behaviour according to our own cultural values. Values, and different value systems, manifest themselves in various ways in everyday life and communication, and have therefore been a long-standing topic of interest in the field of intercultural communication.