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Individualization and the fragmentation of work values : Evidence from the European values study


  • Halman, L.C.J.M.

    (Tilburg University, Work and Organization Research Centre)


This article focuses on two main topics of modernization theory: individualization and value fragmentation. According to this theory it is to be expected that 1. individualized orientations will be dominant in modern society, and 2. that values in modern society are fragmented. These ideas were empirically investigated for the values in the domain of work using the survey data from the 1990 European Values Study. It is assumed that the process of individualization has induced a shift in basic orientations in the domain of work from instrumental towards expressive. Another distinctive feature of modern society is value fragmentation. Value fragmentation denotes first of all a process of increasing heterogeneity of the populations of modernized societies. Modern people pick and choose their attitudes and values according to their own preferences and it has become less likely that they will make similar choices. All kinds of combinations of choices are possible and this implies that values no longer do constitute coherent patterns. In other words, a weakening of associations between value orientations will have occurred. Four regions have been distinguished in Europe: North, West, South and East and hypotheses with respect to value preferences and fragmentation have been formulated for these regions. Finally, the impact of age and education, two important predictors of values and value changes, has been investigated.

Suggested Citation

  • Halman, L.C.J.M., 1996. "Individualization and the fragmentation of work values : Evidence from the European values study," WORC Paper 96.07.013, Tilburg University, Work and Organization Research Centre.
  • Handle: RePEc:tiu:tiuwor:6dec5c74-119f-4106-98f7-2f6447d5f3b1

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    Cited by:

    1. Benno Torgler, 2011. "Work Values in Western and Eastern Europe," Working Papers 2011.94, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    2. Indermit Gill & Johannes Koettl & Truman Packard, 2013. "Full employment: a distant dream for Europe," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-34, December.

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    labour; values; workmeanings; labour economics;


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