Ambivalence and Accessibility
Values reflect, and can drive, human strivings (Verplanken and Holland 2002). We value peace and strive for a less violent world. We value benevolence and strive to be loving. We value independence and strive for autonomy. Sometimes, however, our values conflict (e.g., Schwartz 1996; Tetlock et al. 1996). The nature of psychologists’ taxonomies of values reflects this psychological reality. According to Schwartz, values fall along two dimensions. The first dimension, openness to change versus conservation, reflects the chronic conflict between one’s need to be stimulated and self-directed, and the equally important need for stability. A first year undergraduate student may, for example, feel exhilarated at the prospect of an independent lifestyle when he arrives at the residence hall on the first day of class. Yet there may well be some ambivalence when that same student realizes that the reliable routines and security of home life are a thing of the past (at least until vacation). The second dimension, self-enhancement versus self-transcendence, reflects a similarly fundamental conflict between the need for power and achievement and the need to be benevolent. A manager wants to do well at her job and to exercise power when interacting with her subordinates. At the same time, workplaces are social milieus where positive interpersonal relationships also tend to be valued; as a result, the manager will likely feel conflicted from time to time.
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