Value dimensions

Date of publication: September 1, 1996


Since the late 1970s, there has been a growing interest in using value dimensions for the explanation of consumer behaviour. The present paper discusses these applications. The communication of findings and problems of maintaining stability in the dimensions over time and across countries has led to simplifications. The main tendency has been to develop a two-dimensional space in which consumption, respondents and values are placed. In the present paper, the dimensions used in different value systems are compared. Basically, the conclusion that emerges is that when one forces a value system into a two-dimensional solution, almost regardless of the questions asked one ends up with two quite similar dimensions, the one ranging from modern to traditional, the other relating to individualism versus valuing social factors, i.e., egoism versus hedonism. The paper describes how the two-dimensional solution defines nine segments. The paper concludes with a discussion of the need for the development of a standardised two-dimensional system, much like the standardised measurements of sex, age, head of household, etc., developed by ESOMAR earlier.

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