What is an Instrumental Value?
Instrumental value refers to the worth or usefulness of something based on its ability to help achieve a particular goal or objective. In the context of behavioral science, instrumental values are typically seen as means to an end, rather than as valuable for their own sake. These values can be related to personal goals, such as career advancement or financial success, or they can be tied to broader societal objectives, such as environmental conservation or social justice. Instrumental values can vary widely depending on individual preferences, cultural norms, and the specific context in which they are being considered. Understanding instrumental values can be crucial in predicting and explaining human behavior, as they often serve as the underlying motivation for actions and decision-making processes.
Examples of Instrumental Values
Education is often considered to have instrumental value because it serves as a means to achieve personal and professional goals, such as securing a well-paying job, developing a specific skill set, or gaining knowledge in a particular area. In this context, the value of education is derived from its ability to help individuals reach their desired outcomes.
Money has instrumental value as it serves as a medium of exchange, store of value, and unit of account. It enables people to acquire goods and services, save for the future, and make financial transactions. The value of money is not inherent but comes from its ability to facilitate various economic activities and satisfy individual needs and wants.
Networking is an example of an activity with instrumental value, as it helps individuals build relationships and connections that can be leveraged for personal or professional gain. In this context, networking is valued for its potential to create opportunities, such as job offers, business partnerships, or access to resources and information.
Technology often has instrumental value because it provides tools, devices, and systems that facilitate the accomplishment of tasks, increase efficiency, or solve problems. For example, a smartphone has instrumental value as it allows users to communicate, access information, and perform various tasks, thus contributing to personal and professional productivity.