Why values matter

The importance of values has been hardwired through evolution. Shared values were essential for building collaboration and the social groups that have defined the success of human beings as a species. ​

Drawing on decades of scientific research, Professor Shalom Schwartz’s Theory of Basic Human Values captures 11 universal values which we share and serve as guiding principles for all human behavior.

Find out what your values are

Universalism Societal

Motivates us to promote understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection of all people in society; it emphasizes equality, justice, and protection for all.​

Universalism Nature

Motivates us to promote the preservation of the natural environment; it emphasizes the protection of nature and animals.​


Motivates us to promote the welfare of the people with whom we are in frequent contact; it emphasizes caring and dependability.​


Motivates us to promote restraint and compliance with social expectations to avoid upsetting others; it emphasizes adherence to rules, laws, and obligations.​


Motivates us to promote commitment and acceptance of customs and ideas that culture and religion provide; it emphasizes the maintenance of cultural, family, or religious traditions.


Motivates us to promote personal and societal safety and stability; it emphasizes safety, harmony, and stability.​


Motivates us to promote social status and control over people and resources; it emphasizes social power, wealth, and authority.​


Motivates us to promote personal success according to social standards; it emphasizes ambition and the demonstration of competence.


Motivates us to promote personal pleasure and enjoyment; it emphasizes self-indulgence and sensuous gratification.


Motivates us to promote the pursuit of excitement and challenge in life; it emphasizes novelty, variety, and adventure.


Motivates us to promote independent thought and action; it emphasizes freedom, exploration, and creativity.​

We align audiences’ values with the values expressed in communications and what is happening in the world – culture, context, conversation – at any given moment.

We believe when we do this, we will engage audiences more effectively and move them.

Values-based engagement

Values are our guiding principles in life. They determine what we care about, what we believe in, and how we behave.

Shared across countries, cultures and generations, values unite us as species, and the importance we accord them defines us as individuals.

In a world of change and uncertainty, our values are a ‘persistent truth’. Formed in adolescence, they remain relatively stable throughout our adult lives.

This means they explain not only past behaviors but can also predict how we will behave in the future.

By understanding audience values communicators can better move them.

Values-based engagement

BCW Age of Values 2023 report

Read more about the world, its values ​and how they move people.

Download the Report