Maslow Groups, Values Modes and OCEAN – Part 2
Bridging Personality and Values?

In Part 1 we showed how a CDSM literature search, in preparation for improvements of our data base and understanding, had led us to the discovery of peer-reviewed sources of scales which revealed how to use the model of personality developed by Costa and McCrae. This model – called the Big 5 in academic literature - had been extensively tested in academia and was being used in a limited extent in commercial research, where it is labelled OCEAN.

We first defined the scales most appropriate for our research and tested them on a sample of over 3,000 randomly selected, statistically balanced, UK adults between 15-85 in 2012. When the results were in, and we compared models (described in Part 1), we felt we needed to further understand OCEAN before we could provide further information to our clients.

This provided the impetus to look deeper into the academic literature of personality measurement to further deepen our understanding of the strengths and limitations of the widely accepted, and useful, OCEAN model of personality.

Our research led us to the farther reaches of psychological research. This was fascinating to us as social researchers primarily concerned with consumer psychology and international differences in human values.

Our starting point for these explorations was the final map at the end of Part 1 and something that we thought was missing from standard OCEAN research.

The Higgins analysis had shown that the OCEAN model was very robust at measuring factors aligned along an axis that correlated with Prospector vs Settler Values – which is fine when measuring many situations in which it is important to measure personality (OCEAN) or values (Maslow groups most importantly, but also some forms of Values Modes) but it is less than fine when attempting to understand a wider range of values sets – especially those of the Pioneers.

Les Higgins’ graphic representation of his OCEAN analysis had revealed what appeared to be to be at least two big ‘blank spaces’ on the CDSM values space map – possibly another axis of information that was not being measured by OCEAN. We had to ask ourselves:-

  • was there another axis that hadn't been identified?
  • are we just asking ourselves questions that don't have answers - yet?

While compiling lists of new scales to add to our new survey – an ongoing process within CDSM – we gave added attention to these questions.

Pushing Boundaries

We soon discovered that other academic researchers had been asking the same question of the Big 5 for over a decade. One lead researcher in particular (with various teams of other academics) had not only questioned the data but evolved a new model which explored the two areas correlated with the ‘blank areas’ on the CDSM value map.

Kibeom Lee at the University of Calgary, and other researchers had for years academically tested the Costa and McCrae model of the Big 5, discovered limitations within the model and developed a model that extended the robustness of the basic model. They called this HEXACO:

  • Honesty-Humility (H)
  • Emotionality (E)
  • Extraversion (X)
  • Agreeableness (A)
  • Conscientiousness (C)
  • Openness to change (O)

We were excited by the discovery of this extensive body of research and after hypothesising about what it could do to our understanding of the connection between values and personality we decided to run the 60 scales that comprise the factors in the HEXACO model on our 2013 BVS.

The results showed that there was a strong likelihood that another axis might exist if OCEAN was extended with the addition of a few more questions. The HEXACO CDSM data was quite encouraging about the existence of an axis, along the lines of the factor Lee identified and called Honesty-Humility.

It needs to be said at this point that the academic research Lee was conducting was not looking for an axis, or pairs of contrasting personality factors, hence it wasn’t a surprise for us, or a criticism of fine research, when our results produced findings that ‘suggested’ rather than ‘validated’ the existence of another axis.

CDSM was looking for an axis containing two factors (rather than single factors) as our clients over the last 30 years had found data presented in this form was more useful to them when choosing strategies and tactics.

What the results suggested was that Honesty/Humility may indeed be a separate factor that was congruent with factors within CDSM values space on an entirely different axis than the OCEAN factors – and even possibly a paired opposite relationship with Emotionality.

The data was eventually analysed in depth, using many other statistical tests to determine strength of correlation between the factors, balancing of individual respondents for different types of response bias and so forth. The tentative conclusion reached by Higgins was that, although the raw data suggested a tight correlation of sub-factors that seemed to validate the hypothesis that a 6th prime factor that could be added to the Big 5 (OCEAN) of Costa and McCrae.

The problem was not so much that the prime factor (Honesty/Humility) didn’t exist, it did; but it was composed on sub-factors that were not as closely linked as the geography of values space would initially indicate. In some of the academic research it was suggested that ‘Sincerity’ should be a significant sub-factor – and indeed in some of the tests we ran this was the case.

But to be safe, if there is an outlier in the mix contained in a prime factor, this should be more deeply explored – an example of a question leading to a better question. CDSM has continued with the refining of the HEXACO model and its extension of the understanding of OCEAN and has run, and will continue to run, new tests of new scales now and into the future.

HEXACO did not set out to test the validity of the OCEAN model, but to robustly expand it; much as CDSM was doing in this analysis. The CDSM insight was that OCEAN did have strong correlations with the Attributes contained in the values space but was largely confined to Prospectors values and had an axis that ran through Prospector and Settler values space – but almost entirely missed the Pioneer values space.

The CDSM insight into HEXACO was that the scale-derived data identified two quite different factors tagged with the titles Honesty/Humility and Emotionality that appeared to fill in the areas that were ‘Blank Spaces” on the CDSM values map when OCEAN was tested. The analysis strengthened the suppositions a) that there was a second axis in a personality model based on a hybrid OCEAN/HEXACO model and b) that the hybrid model would contribute to deeper insights into the CDSM values model – and vice versa.

For current users of OCEAN typologies – and it is becoming more popular now that Big Data techniques can add it as another in analysis – the CDSM research at this stage is an advanced understanding and if for no other reason should be included in portfolios of psychological analysis of targeted individuals and populations.

But, as good researchers know, the last answer is only as good as the question it creates.

While Higgins gave credence to the existence, and known limitations, of the Honesty/Humility HEXACO factor, the same data threw up the probability of a second axis, with the opposite end point being Emotionality. This initially appeared to be congruent with other CDSM values-based Attributes developed over the years. But the data was throwing up more insights that were unexpected when compared to current understandings about power and control – important factors in the current political and social climate worldwide.

Part 3 will explore how this insight led to the discovery of another whole field of values-based insight that, when combined with a hybrid OCEAN/HEXICO model, takes values analysis to a whole new level not available from any other source.