Work Values: A Formidable Domain Within the Context of People’s Lives


  • Josephine Pryce James Cook University



Work values occupy a specific domain within the context of people's lives. They govern the importance placed on work and work-related aspects by individuals (and groups of people) within the context of the entirety of their lives. Research on work values indicates that such values are derived from the same basic value systems which guide individuals through the various facets of their lives. As such, they are a specific subset of general life values and are influenced by intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The extant literature contends that various factors, such as demographics, nationality, organisations and occupation have a strong impact on work values. This article utilised an ethnographic approach to examine the ways in which work values can be found in the discursive attitudes and behavioural responses toward work. It explored the literature relating to work values and examined the work values of hospitality workers as a means to understanding differences and dominance in individuals’ work values. It found that the work values of frontline hospitality workers are similar in terms of their attitudes to their work as providers of hospitality and stark differences emerged in relation to the work values of managers when contrasted with those of the frontline workers. Work values amongst managerial staff were not congruent. On the one hand, the managerial staff exerted work values commensurate with a higher emphasis on power and authority and a lack of consideration for social values. On the other hand, they exhibited work values indicative of a more altruistic nature. Through these findings, this study contributes to a greater understanding of work values, the meaning of work and the sustainability of working lives.




How to Cite

Pryce, J. (2014). Work Values: A Formidable Domain Within the Context of People’s Lives. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 13(2).