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Terminal values prescribe desirable ends or goals

for the individual. There are fewer of them, according
to Rokeach, than there are instrumental values, so the
sum total for all individuals in all societies can be identified. Terminal values are either personal (e.g., peace
of mind) or social (e.g., world peace). Rokeach has
found that an increase in the priority of one personal
value tends to increase the priority of other personal
values and decrease the priority of social values.
Conversely, an increase in the priority of one social
value tends to increase the priority of other social values and decrease the value of personal values.
Individuals who increase their priority for a world at
peace would also increase their priority for equality
while decreasing their priority for pleasure or selfrespect. People tend to differ in the extent to which
they are self- versus others-orientated in their values.
Table 2 lists the 18 terminal values judged to represent the most important values in American society
(Rokeach, 1973: 29).
In one study of 567 managers in 12 nations,
the instrumental values broadminded, capable, and
Table 2

courageous were held in the highest esteem by managers from all 12 nations, but significant national differences were found on 75 percent of the values
(Bigoness & Blakely, 1996). Another study of 658
Egyptians, 132 Americans, 43 Africans, and 101 Arabs
found significant national differences on both instrumental and terminal values, with Egyptians being least
like Americans (Elsayed-Elkhouly & Buda, 1997).
In a national study of 1,460 American managers,
Schmidt and Posner (1982) assessed which of these
values were most important in the workplace. Using
Rokeachs instrumental values list, they asked managers to identify those that were most desired in the
workplace. Responsible and honest were by far the
most desired values in employees (over 85 percent of
the managers selected them), followed by capable (65
percent), imaginative (55 percent), and logical (49 percent). Obedient, clean, polite, and forgiving were the
least important, being selected by fewer than 10 percent of the managers.
Different groups of people tend to differ in the values they hold. For example, in other studies, business

Terminal and Instrumental Values



A comfortable life (a prosperous life)

Ambitious (hard-working, aspiring)

An exciting life (a stimulating, active life)

Broadminded (open-minded)

A sense of accomplishment (lasting contribution)

Capable (competent, effective)

A world at peace (free of war and conflict)

Cheerful (lighthearted, joyful)

A world of beauty (beauty of nature and the arts)

Clean (neat, tidy)

Equality (brotherhood, equal opportunity for all)

Courageous (standing up for your beliefs)

Family security (taking care of loved ones)

Forgiving (willing to pardon others)

Freedom (independence, free choice)

Helpful (working for the welfare of others)

Happiness (contentedness)

Honest (sincere, truthful)

Inner harmony (freedom from inner conflict)

Imaginative (daring, creative)

Mature love (sexual and spiritual intimacy)

Independent (self-reliant, self-sufficient)

National security (protection from attack)

Intellectual (intelligent, reflective)

Pleasure (an enjoyable, leisurely life)

Logical (consistent, rational)

Salvation (saved, eternal life)

Loving (affectionate, tender)

Self-respect (self-esteem)

Obedient (dutiful, respectful)

Social recognition (respect, admiration)

Polite (courteous, well-mannered)

True friendship (close companionship)

Responsible (dependable, reliable)

Wisdom (a mature understanding of life)

Self-controlled (restrained, self-disciplined)

Source: Rokeach, M. (1973). The nature of human values. New York: Free Press. A Division of Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group. Reprinted with
permission. Copyright 1973 by The Free Press. All rights reserved.