The ten basic values are intended to include all the core values recognized in cultures around the world. These ten values cover the distinct content categories found in earlier value theories, in value questionnaires from different cultures, and in religious and philosophical discussions of values.
It is possible to classify virtually all the items found in lists of specific values from different cultures, into one of these ten motivationally distinct basic values.
Schwartz [Schwartz, 1992, 2005a] details the derivations of the ten basic values. For example, a conformity value was derived from the prerequisites of interaction and of group survival. For interaction to proceed smoothly and for groups to maintain themselves, individuals must restrain impulses and inhibit actions that might hurt others.
A self-direction value was derived from organismic needs for mastery and from the interaction requirements of autonomy and independence.
Each of the ten basic values can be characterized by describing its central motivational goal:
1. Self-Direction. Independent thought and action; choosing, creating, exploring. 2. Stimulation. Excitement, novelty, and challenge in life. 3. Hedonism. Pleasure and sensuous gratification for oneself. 4. Achievement. Personal success through demonstrating competence according to social standards. 5. Power. Social status and prestige, control or dominance over people and resources.3 6. Security. Safety, harmony, and stability of society, of relationships, and of self. 7. Conformity. Restraint of actions, inclinations, and impulses likely to upset or harm others and violate social expectations or norms. 8. Tradition. Respect, commitment, and acceptance of the customs and ideas that traditional culture or religion provide the self. 9. Benevolence. Preserving and enhancing the welfare of those with whom one is in frequent personal contact