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Values can be defined as broad preferences concerning appropriate courses of actions or outcomes. As such, values reflect a person’s sense of right and wrong or what «ought» to be. Equal rights for all», «Excellence deserves admiration», and «People should be treated with respect and dignity» are representatives of values. Ethical value may be regarded as a study under ethics, which, in turn, may be grouped as philosophy. Similarly, ethical value may be regarded as a subgroup of a broader field of philosophic value sometimes referred to as axiology. The study of ethical value is also included in value theory. Ethical value is sometimes used synonymously with goodness.
However, goodness has many other meanings and may be regarded as more ambiguous. Personal values exist in relation to cultural values, either in agreement with or divergence from prevailing norms. A culture is a social system that shares a set of common values, in which such values permit social expectations and collective understandings of the good, beautiful and constructive. Without normative personal values, the value of critical thinking would be no cultural reference against which to measure the virtue of individual values and so cultural identity would disintegrate. Personal values provide an internal reference for what is good, beneficial, important, useful, beautiful, desirable and constructive. Values are one of the factors that generate behaviour and influence the choices made by an individual. Values may help common human problems for survival by comparative rankings of value, the results of which provide answers to questions of why people do what they do and in what order they choose to do them.
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Over time the public expression of personal values that groups of people find important in their day-to-day lives, lay the foundations of law, custom and tradition. Recent research has thereby stressed the implicit nature of value communication. Consumer behavior research proposes there are six internal values and three external values. Welzel cultural map of the world, constructed by sociopolitical scientists Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel based on the World Values Survey. Individual cultures emphasize values which their members broadly share. Values of a society can often be identified by examining the level of honor and respect received by various groups and ideas.
Value clarification consists of «helping people clarify what their lives are for and what is worth working for. It encourages students to define their own values and to understand others’ values. Cognitive moral education builds on the belief that students should learn to value things like democracy and justice as their moral reasoning develops. Values relate to the norms of a culture, but they are more global and intellectual than norms.
Norms provide rules for behavior in specific situations, while values identify what should be judged as good or evil. While norms are standards, patterns, rules and guides of expected behavior, values are abstract concepts of what is important and worthwhile. Members take part in a culture even if each member’s personal values do not entirely agree with some of the normative values sanctioned in that culture. This reflects an individual’s ability to synthesize and extract aspects valuable to them from the multiple subcultures they belong to. If a group member expresses a value that seriously conflicts with the group’s norms, the group’s authority may carry out various ways of encouraging conformity or stigmatizing the non-conforming behavior of that member.
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