Human beings are social animals. Our tendency is to co-exist and live with others in a harmonious way. Stability in our social relations is built around certain shared principles, belief systems and ways of life.
These are known as values and are important for our growth and evolution. They ground us and challenge us as individuals as well as collectives. By adopting the right values, we can create the kind of life that is most true to ourselves.
Our life’s flow is directed by the decisions we make on a daily basis. However, these decisions are governed by our values. Since the values differ from one person to another, people make different decisions and have different life outcomes.
What are Values, Moral Values & Core Values?
The purpose of a decision is to meet our personal or organizational needs. The decisions we make are directly influenced by the values and beliefs we hold dear.
When a person takes an individual decision, they reflect on the things that mean something to them. When groups make a decision, it is based on a sense of shared values that bind the team together as a cohesive unit.
For instance, a person might decide to refuse to pay bribes to a government official to get favors from him. He might even risk not getting the task done or getting dragged into a long-term legal battle instead of compromising his anti-bribery stance. That’s an example of the individual’s moral values.
On the other hand, a businessperson might be okay with paying bribes as long as his work is completed on priority and he is able to make profits. That’s an example of an individual’s lack of moral values.
The question, ‘what are values?’ has preoccupied philosophers from ancient times. Values could be said to be inherent beliefs that inspire our behaviors and actions. They indicate the kind of person we are and the kind of person we wish to become. They shape our view of the world.
Our values define things that we consider to be good, desirable, or important. We act as per our values. Various types of values such as personal values guide our perception of right and wrong. Values differ from person to person—as we saw in the example above, one person’s values might mean nothing to another.
Apart from personal values, you also have cultural and social values such as gender and race equality. Then, there are the professional values which define our work ethics. Values such as loyalty, courage, and honesty often carry currency in a professional environment.
Moral values are the behavioral practices, goals, and habits which are validated by the society we’re part of. This set of values typically becomes embedded in our behavior through a long process of observation, education, conditioning, and social guidelines. Usually, these are universal in nature and may not vary much in different parts of the world.
For instance, no matter which community, religion, or region you belong to, moral values such as truthfulness, loyalty, courage, faith, and honesty will be equally respected almost everywhere.
Moral values concern themselves with right and wrong. They also define what is socially acceptable, good or evil.
Moral values are ideas that society considers important. They are at play when a person interacts with the wider world or has to make a decision that will have a consequence on others.
Moral values are comparatively rigid. It is often seen that society resists any change to the moral values that it holds dear to itself.
What are core values if not a set of things and beliefs which a person considers to be central to their identity? There are often overlaps between a person’s core values and moral values. For instance, loyalty and commitment could be both core and moral values.
Often, the core values can go beyond these universally accepted values and include fiercely individualistic or newer-age thoughts, beliefs or concepts.
To quote an example, commitment to environmental sustainability is a core value that is increasingly dictating the personal and professional beliefs of people and organizations.
Core values are often noticed and rewarded in the professional sphere. For example, someone who is naturally hardworking values discipline is likely to do well at work and advance in their careers.
Values are the guiding principles of our behavior. Our values determine what we consider to be right, wrong, fair, unfair, good or evil.
A person’s values are indicative of their character. Similarly, at an organizational level, values reflect the ethics and principles of the business.
Therefore, it is important to learn the influence as well as the impact of our values on our decision-making process. Harappa Education has created a highly effective course titled Making Decisions which incorporates useful lessons on a number of decision-making techniques.
This course familiarizes learners with the answer to what is the meaning of value. It also teaches how to identify obstacles that stand in the way of good decision-making, such as biases, peer pressure, and uncertainty.
The course includes a section on the Prism Framework, a mental model to help one avoid the negative consequences of cognitive biases. You can sign up for this online course to gain an in-depth understanding of the impact of your personal values and beliefs on your decisions.