Pre-Conference Workshop – Thursday 21st May

Common Cause – Working with values & frames:

This four hour, pre-conference workshop delivered by Common Cause Australia co-founder, Angela Rutter, will introduce the principles of how our cultural values affect our behaviour, social and environmental attitudes and even our sense of identity. But how can practitioners tap into our cultural values in a positive way so as to do good by our social and environmental others?

Our values have been shown to influence our political persuasions; our willingness to participate in political action; our career choices; our ecological footprints; how much money we spend, and on what; and our feelings of personal wellbeing.

Social and environmental concern and action, it turns out, are based on more than simply access to the facts. In reality, both seem to be motivated above all by a particular set of underlying values. In what follows, we will examine what values are (and what they are not), the ways they work in a dynamic and interacting system, and why they are so important for those concerned with social and environmental issues.

Following decades of research and hundreds of cross-cultural studies, psychologists have identified a number of consistently-occurring human values.


Early researchers into human motivations discovered a surprising consistency in the things people said they valued in life. After testing this finding many times and across many countries and cultures, they put together a list of repeatedly occurring values.

Rather than occurring randomly, these values were found to be related to each other. Some were unlikely to be prioritised strongly at the same time by the same individual; others were often prioritised strongly at the same time.

Researchers then mapped this relationship according to these associations, as presented above. The closer any one value ‘point’ is to another, the more likely that both will be of similar importance to the same person. By contrast, the further a value is from another, the less likely that both will be seen as similarly important. This does not mean that people will not value both cleanliness and freedom, for example – rather, they will in general tend to prioritise one over the other. Values can thus be said to have neighbours and opposites.