Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



That personal values are important determinants of human behavior is, at present, a widely held notion among the students of Public Administration. How values operate to cause people to think and act as they do is not, however, well understood. If the individual's personal value system and how it functions as a fundamental motivational force were understood by trained personnel administrators, values could be acted upon from the vantage point of knowledge and exploited to benefit the organization.

From the foregoing problem definition, an hypothesis was formed which, if proved, would be a significant first step toward using knowledge of personal value holdings as an administrative tool:

An individual's personal value holdings can be measured and used to predict how he will act in a specific work environment.

A review of the literature was undertaken for the dual purpose of acquiring a basic understanding of value and to ascertain the applica­bility of the empirical work done in other fields of inquiry to this study.

A review of several texts dealing with the fundamentals of value yielded concepts of value which were found to be generally complementary. Values were confirmed as being abstract. A definition of values, meaningful in the context of the study--that there are correlations between values and behavior such that knowledge of the former may be

Used to predict the latter-evolved as follows:

Values are thoroughly internalized beliefs that predispose the individual to think or act in specific ways and may produce strong emotional-intellectual responses when anything runs counter to, or reinforces them.

An overview of the past empirical studies of value revealed that, although the effort to date has been concerned primarily with the means rather than the ends of value measurement, the means have yet to be developed whereby meaningful value data (again in the context of this study) may be acquired. The methodological problems of value measurement are so complex as to make the acquisition of the data required to develop a comprehensive value profile a most formidable task. The writer found no evidence to support the premise that meaning­ful correlations between value and behavior do exist.

It was concluded that the hypothesis statement advanced at the beginning of the study had not been validated and the following revised statement was substituted therefor:

That an individual's personal value holdings strongly influence how he will react in a specific work environment is a notion that should be advanced to all organizational elements involved in personnel management in order that employee motivational forces may be better understood.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

John M. Hunger

Second Committee Member

Daniel H. Henning

Third Committee Member

David R. Jones



Document Type