An Exploratory Study of the Links Between Personal Values and Temporal Orientations

ABSTRACT - Perception of time is central to many marketing issues, especially for consumer behavior, and comparative and international marketing. This research first shortly explores the literature relating to values and time orientations. We then use Kahle’s List of Values and a scale recently built in order to measure six main temporal orientations. The main purpose of this study is to explore the possible connections between personal value systems and temporal orientations. This is done both at an exploratory and at a confirmatory level. This research further relates personal value systems and temporal orientations to four specific consumption patterns.


Pierre Valette-Florence, Jean-Claude Usunier, Jean-Marc Ferrandi, and Gilles Roehrich (2001) ,"An Exploratory Study of the Links Between Personal Values and Temporal Orientations", in AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 4, eds. Paula M. Tidwell and Thomas E. Muller, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 37-45.

Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 4, 2001      Pages 37-45


Pierre Valette-Florence, Universite Pierre Mendes-France, France

Jean-Claude Usunier, Universite Louis Pasteur, France

Jean-Marc Ferrandi, IUT de Dijon, France

Gilles Roehrich, Universite Lyon III, France


Perception of time is central to many marketing issues, especially for consumer behavior, and comparative and international marketing. This research first shortly explores the literature relating to values and time orientations. We then use Kahle’s List of Values and a scale recently built in order to measure six main temporal orientations. The main purpose of this study is to explore the possible connections between personal value systems and temporal orientations. This is done both at an exploratory and at a confirmatory level. This research further relates personal value systems and temporal orientations to four specific consumption patterns.

Within the personal value research stream [For a recent synthesis, see Smith and Schwarz (1997)] the "macro" perspective (Reynolds, 1985) still remains the most popular approach. Its success lies in its ability to segment individuals into qualitative groups defined by value orientations. Although more than 25 measures are available (Robinson, Shaver and Wrightsman, 1991), the Rokeach’s Value Survey (RVS) and the Kahle’s List of Values (LOV) remain the most preferred instruments. Despite a few recent studies (Grunert and Scherhorn, 1990; Crosby et al., 1990; Kamakura and Mazzon, 1991; Kamakura and Novak, 1992) the structure of these two instruments has not yet been clearly established, especially in the context of different cultural settings. Moreover, the relationship of values with other psychological or social concepts has not yet received the attention of many researchers. At the most, a few researchers have studied the nature of the relationship shared between values and innovativeness or the enduring and situational facets of involvement (Roehrich et al., 1989).

Among the numerous concepts studied in consumer behavior the role of time has received an increasing attention (Jacoby et al., 1976; Hawes, 1980; Hornik, 1984; Bergadaa, 1990; Ko and Gentry, 1991; Usunier, 1991; Schroeder et al., 1993). Indeed perception of time is central to many marketing issues, especially for consumer behavior and comparative and international marketing. Although some scales have already been built, we do not know, to the best of our knowledge, any scale which has been designed from the outset to grasp most of the temporal orientations previously studied in different fields and still applicable to diverse cultural contexts. Recently Usunier and Valette-Florence (1995) have presented such a scale, meant to capture six important temporal orientations.

The main purpose of this study is to bring new insights toward a better understanding of the possible connections between personal value systems and temporal orientations. Consumer life styles have already been studied with an emphasis on individual time orientation, but researches have been quite few (Settle et al., 1978). In any social environment there are habits and customs related to how people plan and organize their activities and synchronize with each other in their personal and business lives. In that perspective one might expect some connections between an individual’s value system and his/her temporal orientation.


Value Systems

The nature of human values is a topic of growing interest in the social sciences and particularly in marketing. Within the field of marketing a lot of empirical studies have established links with product/brand choice (Henry, 1976), media usage and preferences (Todd et al., 1997; Beatty et al., 1985), store patronage (Becker and Connor, 1982), gift giving (Beatty et al., 1996). Research has also brought evidence of the relationship of values to various variables influencing consumer behavior, such as attitudes (Homer and Kahle, 1988; Wang and Rao, 1995), pro-environmental attitudes (McCarty and Shrum, 1994; Grunert and Juhl, 1995), emotions (Laverie et al., 1993) or innovativeness (Roehrich et al., 1989).

According to Schwartz (1992), there are five features that are common to most of the definition of values. Values are described as concepts or beliefs, about desirable behavior(s) and/or end states, that transcend specific situations, guide selection or evaluation of behavior and events and are ordered by relative importance. Switching to a less general definition of values, one can regard them as the most abstract type of social cognition, that help people to guide themselves in the interpersonal world (Grunert and Scherhorn, 1990).

Concepts of time

The concept of time and therefore of time-related behavior has been studied in numerous disciplines [For those who want a more complete review see Bergadaa (1990).] (Jacoby et al., 1976, Feldman and Hornik, 1981; Jones, 1988, Levine, 1988, Adam, 1990).

Time in economics may be an input in any consumption process (Becker, 1965). It then has to be allocated where its marginal productivity is the highest; or, at least, the different "slices of time" have to be used in such a way that their respective marginal productivities outweigh their marginal costs. Individuals maximize their overall satisfaction by optimally allocating units of time to units of activity. This economics-based concept of time is perceived linear, continuous, and economic. It may be qualified as "Anglo" time (Graham, 1981).

Cultural anthropology (Munn, 1992) has been a major contributor to the study of temporal orientations. Most of the literature in anthropology considers time perceptions as cultural artifacts. Numerous anthropological observations highlight that it is impossible to assume that men were born with any type of innate "temporal sense". Our concept of time is always culture-based (Hallowell, 1955).

Psychology, and especially experimental psychology, has also been a large contributor to the study of time, with a more individual and perceptual approach (Cottle, 1976; Knapp, 1971; Bond and Feather, 1988). Whereas the anthropological approach has been mostly conceptual and descriptive in nature, psychological research has been more concerned with measurement. Psychometric scales emphasize the dimensions of individual adaptation to the cultural time patterns, which are described by the anthropologists.

Dimensions of time orientations

Usunier and Valette-Florence’s time-style scale (1995) give emphasis to dimensions of time perceptions, which have been described both by anthropologists and experimental psychologists (Kluckhohn et Strodtbeck, 1961; Calabresi and Cohen, 1968; Hall, 1959, 1976, 1983). Their combination depicts a concept of time, which is partly internal and partly external to the individual. It is multidimensional, individual based, but also framed by prevalent patterns in a definite society and environment. These dimensions are:

$Economicity of time and the monochronic versus polychronic use of time. This organized-linear economic time has also been described at the individual level, with a word which is mostly "structure" (Alreck, 1976; "structured routine", Feather and Bond, 1983). This relates to individual orientations to planning and scheduling daily activities. These attitudes are perceived favorably, since they are supposed to facilitate the efficient use of one’s own time.

$Temporal orientations, and especially projection toward the past and projection toward the future. Time perceptions tend to be related to temporal orientations vis-a-vis the arrow of time (Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck 1961). At the individual level, orientation toward the past, the present or the future has been an interest for experimental psychologists. Broadly stated, the research question is to discover how people locate their consciousness over the spectrum of time (Settle et al., 1978).

$Psychological dimensions, which emphasize how people do individually cope with time, as an external and constrained economic resource and as a social and culture based process of synchronizing themselves with others. They may be divided into two main headings:

-The motivational aspect, especially the capacity to undertake projects or tasks for which the rewards will not be received until the passage of long time periods. This aspect is often described as persistence or tenacity as in Settle et al. (1978).

-Anguish in front of time: when experiencing time as the proper organization of their activities, individuals may feel adjustment problems and tend to feel some anxiety. Among the four factors that Calabresi and Cohen (1968) found in their study, one was related to discomfort and anxiety about time and the need to control it. Another factor, which they called time submissiveness, described a dutiful and conforming attitude toward time, emphasizing appointments and schedules. There is clearly an affective dimension of the individual relation to time.



The questionnaire was subdivided into four parts. The first part contained 23 items aimed at measuring temporal orientations on a seven point Likert scale. The second was shorter and contained the 9 LOV (list of values) items measured on a seven point Likert scale. The third part measured selected consumption patterns and the attitude toward vacation (4 items). As usual the fourth part was related to the identification of interviewed people.

As for the selection of the scales, we made the following choices:

$Values were measured by means of Kahle’s List of Values. We could have chosen Rokeach’s questionnaire, but we did not for many reasons. Kahle’s questionnaire is shorter. It is based on the same theoretical concepts. His scale has the same internal structure as Rokeach’s, but seems more appropriate to the study of consumer products and has proven superior to Rokeach’s when explaining behavior (Beatty et al., 1985).

$Temporal patterns were measured with Usunier and Valette-Florence’s scale (1995). The building up of this scale started from a large item base (around 180) using five studies: the Bond and Feather (1988) 26 item TSQ (Time Structure Questionnaire), the 64 item F.A.S.T. scale (Alreck, 1976), the 37 items generated by in-depth interviews on time perceptions with subjects from different nationalities (French, Chinese, Swedes, Brazilians, Moroccans; Usunier and Prime, 1988), the 39 items of the Calabresi-Cohen (1968) study, and the 17 items of Usunier (1991). The scale, after filtering for low correlation items (minimum loading set up to .5) and testing for reliability (Cronbach, 1951; Nunnally, 1967; Peter, 1979; Peter and Churchill, 1986), is made up of 23 items and is designed to capture six main temporal orientations: Preference for economic/organized time, Preference for non-linear and unorganized time, Orientation toward the past, Orientation toward the future, Time submissiveness, and Time anxiety.

Each of these dimensions was measured by four items (except one with three items), hence giving rise to a total of 23 item scale. [As it may be clear for the reader, all the theoretical dimensions outlined in the review of literature appear at the empirical level, except the one, which is related to the motivational aspect. There are such items, depicting the motivational aspect, in the FSQ (Futurizing Style Questionnaire) scale (Evered, 1973; Holman and Venkatesan, 1980; Holman, 1980). But this scale is not publicly available, and unfortunately we did not succeed in obtaining it. Furthermore there are some items related to the motivational aspect in the F.A.S.T. scale (Alreck, 1976), under the dimension called Tenacity. But there is probably too much overlap with some other dimensions, both theoretically and empirically (e.g. orientation toward the future and time submissiveness.)]


The survey took place in the city of Brianton (Southern part of the French Alps). 255 questionnaires were collected. Interviewed people were mainly vacationers spending their holidays in that part of France. Although our sample is a convenienceone, it still remains usable, due to the exploratory nature of our research (Calder, Philips and Tybout, 1981).


Our analysis has been divided into four successive steps:

$First, we performed exploratory principal components analyses in order to assess the structure of the selected scales.

$Second, confirmatory factor analyses were performed (PLS method) on these scales, in order to confirm their internal structure. For each dimensions, reliability estimates were computed as well.

$Third, both exploratory canonical analysis and generalized canonical analysis were performed in order to assess the links between value dimensions and temporal orientations.

$Finally, as for a test of nomological validity, we used several logistic and linear regressions in order to explain specific consumption patterns and the attitude toward vacation, with individual values and temporal orientations used as explanatory variables.



Exploratory factor analysis

In order to test the structure of each scale, we performed principal components analyses with oblique rotation. The corresponding results are displayed in Tables 1 and 2. They deserve the following comments:

$As for the temporal scale, the dimensions are identical to those obtained by Usunier and Valette-Florence (1995) in their former studies. However, six dimensions were extracted only after the cutoff level of the eigenvalue has been lowered to .9. If the preassigned criterion for the number of factors used is that eigenvalues must be greater than one, five factors are obtained. In that case, factor one is a combination of factor one and six (preference for economic time / preference for non-linear and unorganized time). With the six factors solution, the percentage of total variance explained is 58%.

$Regarding the List of Values scale, three factors were extracted, which were capable of explaining 60% of the total of variance in the variables. Unfortunately their meanings are not the same as those obtained by Homer and Kahle (1988) in their US based national survey. Indeed, they are much closer to those obtained by Valette-Florence et al. (1991) in a cross-national study. Factor 1 represents a social orientation whereas factor 3 is more related to an individual dimension. Factor 2 seems to represent a hedonic orientation. Although the variable "excitement" appears associated to this factor, it shows a low communality (.18) as in other former French studies. With the purpose of retaining the global meaning of the original scale, this variable has nonetheless been kept in the remaining analyses.

Confirmatory factor analysis

Due to our limited sample size and the non-normality of the observed variables, we chose to perform confirmatory factor analyses by means of the partial least squares approach (PLS method). Tables 3 and 4 present the corresponding results. Both models are validated with regards to the usual convergent and discriminant validity criteria (Fornell and Larcker, 1981). Moreover the reliability estimates are fairly high and give further support to the validity of the scales. Once again these estimates are similar to those obtained in former studies (Usunier and Valette-Florence, 1995; Roehrich et al., 1989). Lastly, latent scores on each of the uncovered dimensions were kept for further analysis.



Exploratory and confirmtory canonical correlation analyses

In order to explain and to test the relationships between values and temporal orientations we performed two kinds of canonical analyses:

$An exploratory canonical analysis between the set of value dimensions and the set of temporal orientations extracted at the previous stage. The latent factor scores obtained from the confirmatory factor analysis with PLS have been used as input in this analysis. As shown in Table 5, we obtained three canonical dimensions according to Bartlett’s test. The canonical loadings, which are also displayed in Table 5, indicate the nature of the relationships between each canonical variate. Briefly stated, it appears that the hedonic orientation is mostly associated with the preference for a non-linear and unorganized time and negatively related to the orientation toward the past. The social dimension is also positively related to the preference for economic time and the orientation toward the future, whereas the individual orientation is negatively associated with unorganized time, orientation toward the past and time submissiveness. Time anxiety is the only temporal orientation which seems rather unconnected to any value dimension.

$Since in traditional canonical analysis, canonical variates are orthogonal, we performed by means of PLS a generalized confirmatory canonical analysis. This kind of approach allows to directly test the incidence of each value dimensions upon each temporal orientation. Table 6 displays the corresponding results: they confirm the links evidenced at the previous step. The main relationship concerns the incidence of the social (value) dimension upon respectively the organized economic time (.225), the orientation toward the past (.205) and the time submissiveness (.108). As in the previous stage, the hedonic value dimension is mostly associated with unorganized non-linear time (.256) and in opposition to the orientation toward the past (-.198) and the organized economic time (-.191), whereas the individual, more personal value orientation, is in opposition to the preference for non-linear unorganized time (-.260), and to a lesser extent the orientation toward the past (-.077) and time submissiveness (-.097). Again, time anxiety seems weakly related to the social value dimension (-.072).

Nomological validity

In an attempt to give further support to the combined incidence of values and temporal orientations on consumption, we performed several regression analyses on selected consumption patterns. Moreover, the results shown in Table 7 and 8 give further support to the nomological validity of the value and time concepts used in this research.

$Table 7 indicates the influence of the value dimensions and the temporal orientations on the attitude toward vacation. The stepwise regression analysis performed shows that 35% of the attitude can be explained by three components: economic time and unorganized time on the one side, social value dimension on the other side.

$Table 8 exhibits the results of logistic regressions performed on four specific consumption patterns coded in a dichotomous manner:

-A: Ownership/non-ownership of a life insurance policy (or for young people in their twenties: planning/non-planning to subscribe such a contract);

-B: Preference for acquiring a new lodging or revamping an old one;

-C: As concerns money are you more, "cicada-type" (spend now to enjoy yourself) or "ant-type" (be thrifty and save for long term projects);

-D: If you are given the choice, what would you prefer, a high interest rate with your money unavailable for the next five years or a small interest rate with your money fully and immediately available?

Stepwise logistic regression has been selected over discriminant analysis because of its robustness to violations of the usual assumptions of discriminant analysis and its adaptation for the analysis of dichotomous as well as interval or ratio variables (Press and Wilson, 1978). Two statistical indicators are used in a logistic regression: c2, R2. c2 is used to test the statistical significance of the model coefficients. It plays the role of the F test in a regression. The R2 value measures the improvement of log likelihood obtained through the introduction of independent variables in a stepwise manner. In two cases (A and D), the results show that the temporal orientations bring additional explanatory power to the predictive power of the value dimensions.




This article was written from the outset with two main objectives:

$First, to explore the possible linkages between social values and temporal orientations.

$Second, to investigate the combined predictive power of values and temporal dimensions on selected consumption patterns.

An exploratory survey conducted on about 250 subjects has shown promising results since it reveals specific relationships such as between hedonism and the preference for unorganized time, between sociability and a preference for economic time and the orientation toward the future. Moreover, taken together, values and temporal orientations have shown a significant predictive power on the attitudes toward the consumption of specific time-related products such as insurance and loan products.

Due to the convenience nature of our sample, the results that are presented in this paper should not be generalized without some precautions. Replications with fully adequate samples have to be undertaken. Related research tracks also have to be investigated before we will be able to claim for the generalizability of these findings. Among these tracks one of the most promising would be the comparison of the nature and structure of value-based markets segments on the one side and "time-styles" clusters on the other side. A lot of research avenues still remain open












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Pierre Valette-Florence, Universite Pierre Mendes-France, France
Jean-Claude Usunier, Universite Louis Pasteur, France
Jean-Marc Ferrandi, IUT de Dijon, France
Gilles Roehrich, Universite Lyon III, France,


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