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Seniors extend understanding of what constitutes universal values

Oliver K. Burmeister (Centre for Research in Complex Systems, School of Computing and Mathematics, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia)
John Weckert (Centre for Applied Philosophy and Professional Ethics, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia)
Kirsty Williamson (Monash University, Melbourne, Australia Charles Sturt University, Caulfield East, Australia)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 22 November 2011

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to add one further value to the previously articulated “universal values” and to describe the constituent components of three universal values.

Design/methodology/approach

This interpretive/constructivist study of Australia's largest online community of seniors involved a 30‐month ethnographic investigation. After an initial period of 11 months of observing social interaction on the entire site, in‐depth, semi‐structured interviews were conducted with 30 participants, selected according to criterion sampling, a form of purposive sampling.

Findings

Four key moral values were identified: equality, freedom, respect and trust. All of them had been found in other studies, with equality and respect (as human dignity) identified as universal values. The findings from this study suggest that freedom is another universal value.

Originality/value

This study extends the understanding of universal values to include freedom. Further, it demonstrates the constituent components for freedom, and those of two other universal values previously identified in the literature, equality and human dignity, as well as revealing linkages between these three values.

Keywords

Citation

Burmeister, O.K., Weckert, J. and Williamson, K. (2011), "Seniors extend understanding of what constitutes universal values", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 238-252. https://doi.org/10.1108/14779961111191048

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited