Shalom Schwartz invented the theory of Basic Human Values in 1987 – based on a study in which the quantitative data he collected, had been organised within an obscure manner. His theory has been validated and positioned as the universal way all individuals organise their values on a personal and cultural level, and has been researched in over 70 countries. South African researchers have however found significant challenges in replicating Schwartz's model within this multi-cultural society, and have ascribed the difficulties to ‘unintended item biases' within Schwartz's measurement instruments. This has been observed when utilising two different measurement instruments, as well as when further assessing ‘finer' sub-value types. A viable quantitative trend in utilising non-verbal assessment techniques has emerged, but has not been adapted for adults yet. In addition, Schwartz's theory has largely only been explored from a quantitative perspective, since its inception in 1987. Only four qualitative studies could be traced within Values-research which all highlighted a different way values were constructed and ordered, through utilising psycho-lexical research methodology. This type of research methodology does not necessarily highlight the effect of socio-economic and educational disparities within its participant's constructions, which Schwartz' highlighted a possible effect within South African research efforts. This study utilised a Social Constructionist approach known as Foucauldian Discourse Analysis to assist in deconstructing the ecology of values-talk from South African participants' linguistic expressions. Four focus group discussions were conducted across four different racial groups (White; Black; Indian and Coloured), as a means for unlocking the different discourses which govern the different ways in which South Africans ‘talk' about personal values. The analysis uncovered five different discourses which were activated and replicated throughout discussions – when constructing values which embraced participants socio-economic and educational positions. These discourses seemed to function in a complimentary and opposing nature at times, depending on the value being discussed. These constructions were compared to Schwartz's Basic Human Values model, and similarities and differences in constructions were discussed. In addition, the research findings were scrutinised to see how they could inform future qualitative research efforts to further explore how Schwartz's Basic Human Values model is ‘lived'. Finally, the study discusses its limitations and various considerations researchers would need to employ, when considering applying non-verbal assessment methodology within an abstract topic like values.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2017.