The Relationship Between Beliefs, Values, Attitudes and Behaviours

Updated on July 23, 2018
Docmo profile image

Mohan is a family physician and a postgraduate associate dean working in the UK. He has a keen interest in self-regulated learning.

Attitudes are a construct of internal beliefs and value systems.
Attitudes are a construct of internal beliefs and value systems.

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."

— William James

What Are Beliefs, Values and Attitudes?

In our various roles, our beliefs, values and attitudes are constantly interacting with those of our peers, friends, family or teachers. We seem to instinctively 'like' the individuals who share our core values and beliefs. Harmonising our value systems is what makes a relationship successful, be it personal, educational or professional.

Proponents of adult learning state that in order to achieve competence and excellence, one needs to be able to teach and assess not only knowledge and skills, but attitudes, as well. To achieve excellence, we must be able to identify the core values and belief systems that underpin attitudes2.

Performance improvement can only come from learning the appropriate knowledge and skills. Possessing the right value and belief systems may influence our motivation, intention and engagement with a specific task.

We may come across individuals who seemingly possess the knowledge and skills to a do a task, but only with a positive attitude towards the task will there be motivation, engagement and intention to complete the task.

The 'iceberg' diagram below shows the relationship between our hidden values and belief systems and our outward behaviours. However, there are two factors displayed that directly influence behaviours—one is the attitude that underpins the behaviour, the other is the capability to express the expected behaviour.

Iceberg demonstrating implicit and explicit bias.
Iceberg demonstrating implicit and explicit bias. | Source

'The power of knowledge to organise, select, learn and judge comes from values and beliefs as much as, and probably more than, from information and logic'

— Thomas Davenport and Laurence Prusak (2000) Working Knowledge

Attitude: Description and Significance

Almost all educational theories encompass teaching and assessment of knowledge, skills and attitudes. While we find it easier to define knowledge and skills, definitions of attitudes vary.

Attitudes have been described as hypothetical constructs that represent a person's like or dislike for anything. Attitude is a judgment made on the 'attitude object' (a person, place, task, event, skill, etc.). Judgments from attitude can range from positive, negative or neutral.

Attitudes arise from an inner framework of values and beliefs, developed over time. Carl Jung, in his essay on psychological types, defines attitude as "the readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way,"1.

Beliefs, Values and Attitudes
Beliefs, Values and Attitudes

The Three Components of Attitude

Attitudes are comprised of three components: emotions, behaviours and thoughts. These three components can also be described as the 'ABC' model: affective, behavioural and cognitive.

The 'affective' response is one's emotional response to a task or an entity. The 'behavioural' response is the displayed verbal or behavioural tendency to a task or entity, whereas the 'cognitive' response is the cognitive evaluation of the entity based on an internal belief system.

There is considerable overlap in the semantics of beliefs, values and attitudes, however, these are also distinct constructs (as illustrated above).

Attitude: Based on the Behaviours of Ourselves and Others

One of the key lessons to be learned is that we are at the mercy of expressed behaviours. Both in ourselves and in others, we ‘assume’ attitudes based on observed behaviour.

For example, someone who regularly arrives late may be considered not very punctual or organised. However, this same person may spend time caring for somebody who is very ill, and their personal time delivering this care may interfere with their prompt arrival to work or lessons. With this new information, they may be viewed from a different perspective.

Our attitudes toward observed behaviour will also tint our judgements. For example, if a person arrives shoddily dressed for an interview, we may feel they have not taken the time to prepare. However, if the said person believes their talent and skills are what should be recognised and not their appearance—this mindset influences their attitude toward dressing ‘smart’ and thus influences their behaviour.

Behaviours may also be ‘false’. A person may display false obeisance and ritualistic behaviour when they need a favourable review, or feel they are being observed for performance. This may indicate a certain attitude, but the observer needs to delineate the difference between a true attitude and a false behaviour implying an attitude. A person who is constantly fawning and agreeing to everything their superior says may not necessarily be in agreement, but may fawn in order to carry favour.

In assessing behaviour, one needs to be aware of capability. There have been situations where a particular person may be considered ‘rude’ due to a raised voice or lack of clear idioms and phraseology, such as saying 'thank you' and 'please'. Yet, if the person or persons observed have never received any training to modulate their speech pattern or learn the idioms and phraseology of the language they are communicating in, they may not have the capability to express the right behaviour for the situation. This, in turn, may be perceived as a ‘bad attitude’ by those that have the capability to express a more appropriate behaviour.

"It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome."

— William James

Provide Feedback on Behaviours, not Attitudes

Positive attitudes are needed in an individual in order for them to be motivated and engaged in a task. Attitudes arise out of core values and beliefs we hold internally. Beliefs are assumptions and convictions we hold to be true based on past experiences. Values are worthy ideas based on things, concepts and people. Behaviours are how these internalised systems (attitudes, beliefs and values) are expressed.

These factors heavily influence the ability to learn and organise knowledge and skills. In order to influence performance in a learning context or an organisation (or even at home!), one needs to be aware of the key differences between these constructs.

Feedback on attitudes will always be perceived as judgemental as it is about others' behaviour filtered through our value systems. It is better, therefore, to provide feedback on behaviours. It is even better to determine ideal behaviours for an organisation, situation or learning environment and set the scene before the behaviours are being assessed. This way, feedback can be contextualised on behaviour that is observed and factual. This reduces the potential for conflict and low morale.

  • Attitudes are not the same as behaviours.
  • Attitudes are a construct of internal beliefs and value systems.
  • Attitudes, capability or circumstance influence observed behaviour.
  • Use caution when assessing attitudes and use behaviours as examples.
  • Feedback and behaviour management can change attitudes.
  • Changing attitudes can also change values and beliefs and vice versa.
  • An understanding of these constructs helps personal and organisational management.

"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."

— Lou Holtz

References

  1. Jung, C.G. [1921] (1971). Psychological Types , Collected Works, Volume 6, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01813-8
  2. Knowles, M. (1975). Self-Directed Learning.New York: Association Press.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        23 months ago from UK

        Thank you rozina, mimimeche, Zipperconstantine and Mel- glad you found this helpful and some fruit for thought. appreciate your comments.

      • Mel Carriere profile image

        Mel Carriere 

        2 years ago from San Diego California

        We certainly bandy about an awful lot of neat words that we can't really define - he has a bad attitude, she has a great attitude, we use it as a label but do we really know what it means? Attitudes are certainly subject to change, I think. I had a coworker that I assumed had a bad attitude toward work because he is frequently injured. Then a couple of weeks ago I got hurt, and now my attitude toward him has changed. I am more tolerant, and less critical. We need to be careful with our attitudes. Great work.

      • ZipperConstantine profile image

        Zipper 

        3 years ago from United States

        This article is very thought provoking! Thank you!

      • profile image

        mimimeche 

        3 years ago

        I am most grateful for this hub author. I am looking into researching the impact of value education on behaviour. this article has really broken down some aspects i want to look into with regards to behaviour. thank you very much

      • profile image

        rozina nomali 

        3 years ago

        very nice and fruitfull article.it is a source of socail awareness also thank you!

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        3 years ago from UK

        Thank you Dr Gaikwad, much appreciate your visit and comment.

      • profile image

        ani 

        4 years ago

        Its very educative. thump up.....

      • profile image

        Dr. Shshi Gaikwad 

        4 years ago

        Hi Docmo,

        Hub is a wonderful discovery for me. I came across it accidently but some accidents are fruitful.(positive thinking)!

        Very good article, very useful, thoughts very clearly explained. The iceberg is a ture representation of an individuals mind. (We learn that in Psychology too)

        Would like to be a regular reader.

        Dr. Gaikwad

      • profile image

        Johnk831 

        4 years ago

        You completed a number of fine points there. I did a search on the theme and found the majority of folks will agree with your blog. ccbkcdfdeeed

      • profile image

        Johne18 

        4 years ago

        I think this is a real great blog post.Much thanks again. fdgfdafkdkde

      • profile image

        AlllyM2014 

        4 years ago

        Hi Docmo, great article. thank you. question the iceberg picture, did you create that or do u have a source for it?

      • stuff4kids profile image

        Amanda Littlejohn 

        5 years ago

        That has opened up my understanding a great deal. You have presented a very detailed, thoughtful and informative piece here that clearly shows the difference and the interactions between attitudes, beliefs and actions.

        You have a very deep understanding of psychology and do a great job of communicating your ideas clearly. Not only in words, as the images you have chosen to explain some of the more complex concepts really help to visualize what you mean.

        I think that this sort of thing should be more widely appreciated in order to develop greater understanding and self and social awareness.

        Thank you,

      • profile image

        delruth 

        5 years ago

        thanx for this sir... my mind really got crumpled thinking of the distinction between belief and attitude. My student is planing to cinduct a research on "Belief and Attitudes and their effects on performance in math" Its more on perceptional study of students. I don't know what are the statements that describes attitude or belief so that the students can rate whter it affects much, moderately or not at all. Thanx looking forward for your help and bright ideas.

      • profile image

        rex 

        5 years ago

        what a brilliant article...its so nice to read your article...well done..

      • profile image

        Mujda 

        5 years ago

        Excellent work, well done.

      • profile image

        Tillsontitan 

        5 years ago

        " beliefs, values and attitudes", often thought to be one and the same, however, you have more than explained it so it is easy to understand.

        Unfortunately I have just had to install Firefox as my Chrome wasn't working but now I can't get any voting even after logging in. Will try to get back to this hub to make sure I vote it Up and Wonderful!!

      • rcrumple profile image

        Rich 

        5 years ago from Kentucky

        Mohan -

        I can see why this hub is so highly scored. You've taken many of the items taught in secondary institutions and lined it out beautifully for all to understand. Really a tremendous job accomplished!

      • Daisy Mariposa profile image

        Daisy Mariposa 

        5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

        Mohan (Docmo),

        I came back to read and share this brilliant article a second time. Well done, polymath!

      • profile image

        Abdilahi Abdirezack Ali 

        6 years ago

        this web bage is searchebale knowlage and beter learn education thank you for written

      • Emanate Presence profile image

        Gary R. Smith 

        6 years ago from the Head to the Heart

        Your iceberg illustration especially caught my attention. I remember attending in the 70s a workshop called 'Adventures in Attitudes' founded by Bob Conklin. Afterwards I wrote an article for the organization magazine and titled it 'It's All in the Attitude.' However, the editor was not as enthusiastic about my approach as I was and it was not published. I was pissed for awhile. Seems my head ideas still needed to be integrated into my response to life. It is all a marvelous evolution, isn't it. May I invite you to visit my website, emanatepresence.com with symbolic art and a blog post on 'Authenticity and the Art of Life' with an illustration of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs depicted not as the usual triangle but in a golden spiral. How do you feel in general about collaboration? Thank you also for your presence, Docmo.

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        Nyamache- appreciate your visit and comments. Glad you found this useful.

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        Keith- that's very kind of you- Thanks friend. The Iceberg reference is something I use a lot in my teachingand lectures.

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        Nell you are so right - we are at mercy of displayed behaviour and once we see past that we would be able to make a more accurate assessment of the individual. Some - in fact many- people don't and they end of stereotyping! thank you!

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        Cyndi - thank you ,I am glad this was thought provoking and useful.

      • Nyamache profile image

        Joshua Nyamache 

        6 years ago from Kenya

        This is a well researched hub. I particularly liked the quotes and your explanation using images and diagrams.

      • profile image

        KDuBarry03 

        6 years ago

        Docmo, again your intelligence bursts through your words. The Iceberg reference is definitely something unique, easy to remember, and highly creative. Great Job!

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        6 years ago from England

        Fascinating stuff Mohan, this actually brought to mind the behaviour that I noticed when I was working in my last office. If someone started out friendly, happy and a good laugh, even though they may go down hill after that and even start being nasty, people seemed to veer towards the fact that this was ' a good, nice, hilarious person' and so on, and it worked the other way too, if someone was nasty, late, or downright rude to start with, even though they changed or were having a bad day, everyone remembered their first meeting with the person and they were always disliked, strange stuff going on. the one thing I noticed where I was concerned was the fact that they saw me right from the begining as someone who like a laugh, was a bit of a flirt and so on, and even now when I visit the office, they automatically presume that's me, so without realising I change on cue!

      • Alecia Murphy profile image

        Alecia Murphy 

        6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

        People are like anything that has layers- well developed, complicated, and mysterious. To a fault, we see a surface behavior and judge a person on that when like you said there's more than meets the eye. This hub definitely helps clear up misconceptions people seem to have about the difference between attitudes and behaviors and what it could really mean. Great hub!

      • cclitgirl profile image

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        6 years ago from Western NC

        You're correct - there is so much more than meets-the-eye with people. It's so often hard to understand actions and motivations without knowing someone. Even then, our own perceptions and values color our perspective. Add to that all of our different experiences and personality types - whew! Your narrative here summarizes everything so well.

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        Thank you, Crazed Novelist- much appreciated. Glad you found this useful.

      • CrazedNovelist profile image

        A.E. Williams 

        6 years ago from Hampton, GA

        Very good use of the data and I love the chart. You put a lot of work into this and I must say, it paid off. Good work, sir, voted up!

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        Nithya - much appreciated!

        Rahul -thank you very much for your visit.

        I really need to catch up with both your hubs.

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        Daisy, this was based on a talk I gave at a national conference- I had to really think this through to make it understandable- firstly to myself and then to an audience of senior educators. IT was a tough call but it worked well. I am delighted that if you search for attitudes, beliefs and values this hub usually comes up in the top 5 on Google. Thank you very much.

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        Ruchira- Thank you very much- glad you found this useful.

      • rahul0324 profile image

        Jessee R 

        6 years ago from Gurgaon, India

        Wonderfully written and useful!

        Our Attitude certainly reflects the outcome of any work we do

        Great hub

      • Vellur profile image

        Nithya Venkat 

        6 years ago from Dubai

        Deep thoughts analyzed and explained brilliantly. Interesting and makes me wonder about these three componenets in our daily lives. Voted up.

      • Daisy Mariposa profile image

        Daisy Mariposa 

        6 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

        Mohan (Docmo),

        Your genius shines through, once again, in your explanation of the three concepts. The use of the Venn diagram crystalizes everything in one's mind.

        Another brilliant article, my friend.

      • Ruchira profile image

        Ruchira 

        6 years ago from United States

        Beautiful hub explaining these 3 adjectives, which are always surrounding us. however, our beliefs and values makes our attitude thus, gotta learn to change them so that we can try to keep our life in balance with our attitude.

        voted up as useful hub and sharing it across

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        7 years ago from UK

        I am surrounded by very educated and experienced people who are also completely unaware of prejudging that prompted me to visit this subject. My discussion around changing attitudes through feedback on behaviour is mostly around educational and training relationships where there is implicit requirement to give and take feedback. On a personal level this has to be handled carefully and may not always be welcome- as you rightly say we need to pick our 'battles' carefully. Thanks Amy!

      • Amy Becherer profile image

        Amy Becherer 

        7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

        Mohan, I found your information regarding assumptive attitudes based on observed behavior personally validating. I worked with someone who had no qualms about passing judgement and "rolling her eyes" everytime I suggested that things are not always "cookie cutter" cliches, particularly regarding the homeless that strolled past my window everyday. I "stifled" myself eventually as I had no interest in changing her opinion, knowing it was a losing battle (an assumption on my part). I was content to believe what I believed with no further conflict from this individual. I've learned to pick my battles carefully. It is good to know that attitudes can be changed through feedback and behavioral management. My assumption on that note is I believe it would be a difficult task as some of the most obstinate attitudes are oppositional to change and the only changes that can occur must be desired and with the realization/acceptance by the individual that change needs to occur. Inspiring, thought provoking and interesting write, Docmo. Thank you!

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        7 years ago from UK

        Thank you LisaMarie, glad it makes sense... appreciate you dropping by!

      • LisaMarie724 profile image

        Lisa Stover 

        7 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

        I never gave this much thought but your hub is right on the money. It makes sense that your attitude would stem from all these things. Good hub!

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        7 years ago from UK

        Will sure do, BaileyBear. I teach on this subject to Medical Teachers and budding Doctors.

      • profile image

        Baileybear 

        7 years ago

        That would be great if you could to that, Docmo. It's something I know a little about, but have many other things to write about first. I would like to link how beliefs are formed to my hubs about religious indoctrination.

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        7 years ago from UK

        Thanks. Beliefs and Values are received and responded to subconsciously in the formative years. It can be a very powerful osmosis - kinda like brainwashing- I am going to write a hub in detail about how Beliefs and attitudes are formed and implanted. Glad you are interested.

      • profile image

        Baileybear 

        7 years ago

        good job. Beliefs, thinking and emotions are interconnected too, are they not? (Basis for Cognitive behavioural therapy). Many of our early beliefs come from our parents. Have you written anything about these related themes? I'm curious about how people can have very strong, irrational religious beliefs.

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        7 years ago from UK

        Thank you my friend. You are always very welcome. I am honoured to have such readership.

      • richtwf profile image

        richtwf 

        7 years ago

        As always an excellently written and presented hub - Top drawer stuff! Content was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and the quotes that you shared as well.

        Great work my friend and God bless you!

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        7 years ago from UK

        Thank you, I agree. It is important to share the core values and beliefs in order to express and expect shared attitudes.

      • profile image

        cookingdiva 

        7 years ago

        Mohan,

        Our Attitude is based on our beliefs and Value. I so agree with this wonderfully written hub. I recently wrote about what is important to you with finding our core personal values in mind. Sometimes we need to find out what our values are.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)