Euroopan kartta Koneen säätiö

The societal and scientific bases of the study

The study is based on the idea of values as forces which maintain the stability and continuity of society, but which are influenced by economic and societal phenomena. One of these forces in recent decades has been the globalization of markets, which Theodore Levitt defined in 1983 as a technology-driven process in which companies produce standardized products for similar people in different countries.

The shift from multinational to global action together with the deregulation of financial markets spurred growth in the markets for home electronics in the 1980s. The same happened to information and communications technology ten years later, followed by mobile services and social networks in the 2000s.

This study adopted the Schwartz (1992) theory of universals in the content and structure of values as its frame of reference. The central question of the study is: Does societal change cause value changes or do value changes cause societal changes?

According to the preliminary analysis, the 34-year time span of the study is divided into four social-psychologically distinguishable seasons:

  1. “The rise of consumer markets” (1981–90) electrified homes with new kinds of household and entertainment electronics.
  2. “The rise of information and communications technology” (1991–2000) enabled individual choices via home computers and cellphones.
  3. “The era of smart life and new collectivism” (2001–05) gave rise to mobile services and social media.
  4. “The era of global conformity” (2006–15) brought closed communities (e.g. Apple, Facebook) and ecosystems (Android, iPhone, Windows Phone) to the markets.
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