What is a Hierarchy of Values?

The Hierarchy of values Is a range of higher and lower values ​​in which the moral and ideological order of life is established.

The order of these values ​​is highly debated and difficult to determine, because to reach a conclusion the process is subjective because it will depend on personal, group, educational, cultural and social perspectives.

Social values ​​community

A large number of values ​​can be ordered in a hierarchy to demonstrate their importance with respect to others, where spiritual, intellectual, artistic, moral values, among others, are involved.

The values ​​are divided into infrahuman, inframoral, economic, moral and religious values. To be clearer about the concept of hierarchy of values ​​it is prudent to define what a hierarchy is and what is value, by its nature, characteristics, importance and influence in human life.

Hierarchy is an organized structure in which important scales or systems of greater or lesser relevance are established within the same environment.

Value is something that has in itself a degree of category, which influences the human being that gives meaning and that can be used to decide or justify.

The value is closely related to the principles and feelings attitudes that an individual has when it comes to acting.

The hierarchy of values ​​requires that the human being has a very clear and filtered system of their values, since to them is the personal and social direction. But it does not mean that values ​​are immutable and can not change.

Values ​​can change, for example in the early stages of life the value that could be more important in a person could change later; Can also change according to social, labor, cultural and religious.

The values ​​have a personal character, each one gives the degree of importance that wishes to this or that value according to their social point of view in the value system.

Characteristics of values

The hierarchy of values ​​will depend on three very important elements:

-The person, who is who determines the most important values ​​according to their needs, interests, aspirations, training, their personal and social conditions.

-A second element are the qualities of value, which has to do with personal preference.

-The third element that influences is the situation in which the person lives, since it is determinant in the position and preference of its hierarchy of values.

The following characteristics can be highlighted through these three elements mentioned above:

-The values ​​have two poles, the positive and the negative as good and evil

They have a rank within the world of values ​​ranging from the lousy to the excellent.

-There is a social, moral and ethical hierarchy.

- Values ​​are in themselves a quality and do not determine a quantity, ie they are not quantifiable.

- They are also flexible because they can change over time according to the experiences and needs of individuals

Its durability varies, being some more permanent than others.

Types of values

There are a great variety of values, including 12 main ones that are classified in: personal, familiar, universal, material, economic, human, ethical, pragmatic, aesthetic, sociocultural, moral and spiritual. Here are some of the most important ones:

Universal values

They include the rules of relationship and society established and imposed by the community in specific times and according to particular needs.

Religious values

They are those that are established by each slope, doctrine or religious denomination; Can be pagan or integrated beliefs and recognized worldwide.

Moral values

They are what derive from their relationship with society and are useful in making decisions because they are subject to the ethical.

Biological Values

They are known as those that emerge from man's basic needs, such as food, health, housing, personal care, among others.

Economic values

It refers to the value of the physical and the riches; Are those that satisfy the material, commercial needs of goods, objects, among others.

Psychological values

They are those that are observed through human behavior.

Aesthetic values

They are those that focus on beauty as the main object, looking for balance, functionality and visual impact.

Some examples of values

Taking into account that values ​​comprise qualities and are necessary for development in the life of an individual, some examples of general values ​​that do not follow any order, classification or hierarchy but which help to understand their presence in the daily life are presented.

- Sincerity-Honesty-Justice

-Amor -Gratitude -Patience

-Humildad -Respect -Tolerance

-Generality -Leadness -Responsibility

- Forgiveness - Legacy - Wisdom

-Amistad -Sensibility -Familia

-Service -Sencillez -Compassion

-Superación -Salud -Satisfacción

-Belleza -Prosperity-Success

-Autonomy -Cars -Fe

-Fortaleza -Honradez

Importance of the hierarchy of values

The importance of the hierarchy of values ​​are convictions that determine, guide and guide a person's behavior, aspirations, interests and behavior in society.

Values ​​are the foundations of social life, which allow the coexistence of people. Its hierarchy helps to set priorities.

The most important values ​​are those that are part of the identity, they indicate the way we express ourselves and live.

The clearer the values ​​and their hierarchy, the orientation and the very meaning of life are determined according to purpose and perspectives.

Teaching the importance of the hierarchy of values ​​at school, home and in social groups from an early age can contribute to a better view of the composition and functionability of values ​​in humanity.

Commercial distractions, products, new communication standards and interpersonal relationships have relegated the inculcation of values ​​at all levels, both family and social, academic and work.

The order of degree of values ​​has been displaced in many cases in line with the changes that modernity is undergoing.

Globalization can be one of the main reasons that the cultural values ​​of society are disappearing and creating new 'values'.


  1. José Álvarez. Values, Model and Integral Education. Recovered from: digibug.ugr.es
  2. Tong-Keun Min. A Study on the Hierarchy of Values. Source: bu.edu
  3. The hierarchy of values. (2008). Source: abc.com.py
  4. José Esteve Vilaverde. The hierarchy of values. Source: jubiceca.wikispaces.com
  5. Sergio Estrada Vélez. Philosophical hierarchy of values. Source: rtfd.es
  6. Joel Runyon. The Value Hierarchy. (2013). Source: impossiblehq.com

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