“Values are like finger prints. No ones are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do.” Elvis
Values and Conflict
Values refer to people’s stable life goals, reflecting what is most important to them. Values are established throughout one’s life as a result of accumulating life experiences, and values tend to be relatively stable (Lusk & Oliver, 1974; Rokeach, 1973). The values that are important to a person tend to affect the types of decisions they make, how they perceive their environment, their actual behaviors, and what conflicts they engage in. For example, a person is more likely to accept a job offer when the company possesses the values he or she cares about (Judge & Bretz, 1972; Ravlin & Meglino, 1987). Value attainment is one reason people stay in a job. When a job does not help them attain their values, they are likely to decide to leave if they are dissatisfied with the job (George & Jones, 1996).
For example, my top 4 core values are Family, Connection, Curiosity, and Adventure. When something gets in the way of me living my values (think of living your values as a goal) conflict likely occurs. If I have a boss that expects me to work overtime at the last minute, when I have already made plans with my family, I will need to manage the potential conflict with my boss. Since I know my top values, which in my case do not have anything to do with Success in terms of my career, I can express to my boss that my Family is my number one value in life, and that I can’t work the overtime right now because of family commitments. I would then explore other ways to help my boss and my team that didn’t impact my family. It’s important to note that for some people, the way they live Family as a value would be different than my example. Some folks might go work the overtime so that they can provide more income for their family.
Understanding your values is an important step in understanding the conflict you experience in your life. Often, conflicts that are directly connected to your core values are the conflicts that are the most intense and cause us the most stress. Below is a short list of potential core values. Consider which ones you find to be the most important.