Skip Navigation LinksHome > A Values Inventory > Validity Skip Navigation Links
About UsExpand About Us
A Values InventoryExpand A Values Inventory
Events Schedule
Contact us
PresentationsExpand Presentations
PublicationsExpand Publications
Social MediaExpand Social Media
Values Analysis [RSA]
Helen Sanderson Associates
AVIs to Date: 27070
AVI Validity


The AVI evolved out of the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values. This document provides some details of the validation, relevant to the AVI, which was carried out on the Hall-Tonna. The material presented has been adapted from:

Hall, B., Harari, O., Ledig, B. & Tondow, M. 1986, Manual for the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values, Paulist Press, New Jersey.

 The Hall Tonna Inventory of Values was built on four premises:

  1.  values are an important component of human existence and can be identified and measured;

  2. values are described through words;

  3. values are learned and developed through assimilation; and

  4. values are modified and shaped by our world-view.

Values are an integral part of human existence; as such they relate to every aspect of life.  Values can be viewed as priorities that relate to a persons’ behaviour; specifically, they are the priorities one is motivated to act upon.

Over a twenty-year period of research into the nature of values, Brian Hall and Benjamin Tonna came to identify 125 values that encompass the critical values that have the potential to appear in the life long growth and development of an individual. Specifically, they concluded:

  • Values are an expression of concepts (i.e. personal constructs) that represent dynamic clusters of energy. 

  • Values are described by those words in a language that convey significant personal meaning.  This meaning carries with it a certain psychological energy that activates a persons’ behaviour. 

  • Values are learned and can be measured.

Brian Hall began investigating the nature of values in the mid 1960’s.  At that time he was an overseas missionary for the Anglican Church.  As part of his initial work he spent a year at the cultural research centre in Cuernavaca, Mexico where he came under the influence of Paolo Friere, Ivan Illich, and Eric Fromm.

Following in Friere’s footsteps,  Hall began to seek out and assess the underlying values present in the community in Central America.  He did this by gathering people together to discuss the issues, problems, and opportunities facing them and listening for emotionally laden words.  For Friere, these words were the central factor of conscientization in spoken language.  Later, Hall identified these words as pointers to dynamic clusters of energy inherent in the language.  He called these values.  Hall came to believe that words that represented this energy were common in all languages and are not limited to a particular population.  Over a period of twenty years he and his team at Omega Associates have identified 125 values that appear to be stable and evident across all samples and populations.

Hall’s work with Ivan Illich involved him in a sociological survey of the church and social institutions in Venezuela.  From this experience he recognized the fact that values are not simply internally chosen, but are often imposed and internalised through the institutions which are a part of a person’s life.  This insight had a direct effect on the development of the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values.

Through his relationship with Eric Fromm, Hall became interested in the analytical process as it relates to language.  As a part of his continuing studies he underwent psychoanalysis, both in English and in Spanish, with Dr. Alfaro Sotela.  These experiences laid the groundwork that ultimately resulted in the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values.

A major influence on Hall’s work came several years later from Benjamin Tonna, Lic., D., who was Executive Director of SEDOS, a large documentation centre in Rome.  Tonna, a sociologist, was seeking a method to collect quality information which he defined as information whose values content is evident.  In the process of collecting information and looking at the inherent values in that information. Tonna found that it is the questions raised by the values, rather than the solution, that is of prime importance. Tonna’s contribution led to further development of the Inventory in the form of prioritising the values and listing discernment questions for the individual’s consideration.  Discernment is defined as a method of information retrieval; or, how to make the best possible decision given the available information.  The Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values, then, assesses each respondent’s perspective on the world in terms of values.  On that basis, a series of life questions are presented based on the values the person chose.  These questions enable clients to work with the instrument in order to gain further information about themselves in the area of values development (much as existing instrumentation assist in identifying cognitive and personality development).

Between 1974 and 1980 Hall and Tonna conducted extensive seminars and explorations of value theory in the United States and Europe.  They discovered that values are cross-disciplinary and cross cultural.  Preliminary testing of the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values around the world indicated that the values measured are not idiosyncratic to one particular culture or population.

In 1979 Hall began teaching at the University of Santa Clara (now Santa Clara University) in the graduate Counselling Psychology and Education program and used the inventory didactically.  The inventory and resulting output underwent several iterations prior to its present form.  In addition, in 1983 the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values was subjected to a series of specific standardization procedures.  Through a series of group interactions at the University, the 125 values were given standardized definitions.  Next, a cross disciplinary team compared each of the 308 value selectors in the inventory to the value definition that stands behind the statement.  Through this process the value statements and definitions were refined and modified.  The inventory was field tested and refined by administering the Inventory to some 3,000 people.

For a full and complete discussion of the theory and rationale upon which the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values is based, the reader is referred to The Genesis Effect:  Personal and Organizational Transformations, by Brian P. Hall (Paulist Press, 1986).

Reliability and Validity

Since the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values taps complex and abstract concepts, construct validation was the strategy chosen.  Construct validity “…integrates criterion and content considerations in a common framework for testing rational hypotheses about theoretically relevant relationships” (Messick, 1980, p. 1015). The validation strategy for the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values has been described in detail by Harari in The Genesis Effect (Hall, 1986).  Briefly, the steps included the following:

  1. Format, language, and style of all instructions and items in the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values were empirically pre-tested.  This was done by presenting the Hall-Tonna to committees of native users who analysed and (in conjunction with the researchers) revised the instrument sentence-by-sentence and word by word until complete consensus in understanding was attained.

  2. Test-retest reliability was obtained from a sample of 89 individuals ranging from high school students to adults, all from diverse backgrounds.  The time interval between test and retest was four weeks.  Using specific value choices as raw scores, the test-retest correlation was .66, an acceptable figure considering the number and heterogeneity of the values in the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values.  Using developmental levels as raw scores, the test-retest correlation improved to .75.  Using specific responses to specific items as raw scores, the test-retest correlation was a respectable .72.

  3. Internal consistency reliabilities were computed using two versions of coefficient alpha (see Kaplan & Saccuzzo, 1982, for rationale and formulae).  Version 1 estimated split-half reliability when the variances for the two halves of the instrument are considered unequal.  Version 2 was the more general model of coefficient alpha, one that averages the split-half reliability estimates obtained by dividing the test in all possible ways.  Results from using the raw score categories described above are summarized in Table 1.

Type of scoring Item responses Values Developmental Level
Version 1, alpha         .78          .73          .92
Version 2, alpha         .76          .66            .91
Test-retest          .72          .66           .75

Table 1.  Comparative Reliability Measures

The results indicated a strong consistency in the pattern of data across the three types of raw score categories.  Clearly, the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values is most consistent in assessing developmental levels [Note: the AVI uses “world-view” rather than developmental level] and somewhat less consistent, although still acceptable, in assessing specific values. The high consistency of developmental level is most critical to the stated purpose of the Hall-Tonna.

The fact that the test-retest correlations are lower than the coefficient alpha correlations is not surprising.  Internal consistency measures are based on one administration of an instrument while test-retest measures are based on two administrations.

There are at least two possible reasons why an individual’s responses might change from the first testing to the second.  First, change may be due to unsystematic effects, e.g., differences in how a person feels while completing the inventory, or differences in the setting and administration of the instrument.  Change may also be due to non-random effects, e.g., retention of items or familiarity with the instrument, or real changes in the person’s value orientation or world-views between the times of the two administrations.  It was concluded that the preliminary test-retest and internal consistency reliabilities all fell within the desired range.  This is particularly noteworthy since the coefficient alpha generally provides the lowest, most conservative estimate of reliability that can be expected  (Cornbach, 1951 and Allen & Yen, 1979).

The instructions ask people to respond according to their situation at the time of testing.  Thus, the responses may be expected to change over time as the individual’s life situation changes.  Test-retest correlation of item responses and values any higher than those reported would have been disappointing in that it would have been an indication of non-responsiveness to changes in people’s value orientation over time.

Norm data have been extensively sampled.  Thus far, approximately 20 norm group populations consisting of over 2,000 people have been given the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values in order to ascertain the extent of predictable subgroup differences.  Norm data include samples as diverse as engineers, church leaders, fire fighters, Catholic divorcees, and military recruiters.  As will be reported, norm data also have been broken down by age and sex.  Moreover, only the individuals who took both the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values and the Allport-Vernon-Lindzey Survey of Values generate the data reported in this manual.  Hence part of the validation process reported here includes comparisons of Hall-Tonna results and Allport-Vernon-Lidzey results.  The comparison findings are highly supportive of the proposition that the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values really does measure what it purports to measure.

Methodological Considerations

Some important issues about validation strategy must be addressed.  It is important to remember that the “validation” phase of the Hall-Tonna has been going on for more than 20 years.  This section of the manual deals with only the more formal efforts that have been occurring during the past two years.  This is not to suggest that prior efforts did not assist in “validation”.  There have been countless variations of an instrument of values that slowly grew via myriad samplings, both formal and informal, in cities and villages around the world.  We refer also to the rich body of theory-building which accompanied these efforts over the past 20 years where each change in theory resulted in the evolution of a modified instrument, which was again given to samples and focus groups, and so on.

In order to maintain the integrity of the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values it was necessary to go beyond the “raw empiricism” which might dilute or subvert the essence of the values.  Thus, validation efforts have followed a hybrid strategy.  On one hand, the general working model that has been followed is an established and rigorous approach to validation.  Simultaneously, however, it has been necessary to recognize that this domain of inquiry includes complex constructs such as global spiritual descriptions.  The depth, heterogeneity, and richness of the value clusters have had to be maintained despite the fact that by definition many of these values are complex, ambiguous, and highly conceptual.  Hence, while using accepted methodological and psychometric steps as a frame of reference, it has also been important to avoid any moves that would simplify, distort, or confound the value constructs themselves.

The authors and publishers are committed to the proposition that neither the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values nor the validation steps will ever be “completed” and static; rather, they will be continually refined.

These ongoing efforts at validity and reliability have been the hallmarks of the most widely used psychometric instruments.  For example, over the past 40 years more than 8,000 articles have been published on the MMPI.  During this time the number of scales used with the instrument has grown from 12 to over 200.

Independence of the 125 values

A major concern in the development of the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values was that each of the values represents a different domain of the spectrum of attitudes and feelings generally subsumed under the term values.  To check this, inter-correlations (125 by 125) were run on the norm groups.  The correlations for each group were quite similar and all the groups were combined and the inter-correlations were run for the total group (n=703).  The correlations are universally low, ranging from .00 to .50.  This low correlation indicates that each of the 125 values is independent and does, in fact, measure a different aspect of the values spectrum.  It also highlights the very broad spectrum of inner life (feelings and thoughts) that the Hall-Tonna encompasses.


As part of the validation study, Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values scores and AVL Study of Values scores were compared on eleven groups.  Because there are differences in the value categories of both instruments some adjustments were necessary. 

Throughout, as would be expected in the correlation validity, there is overlap between the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values, and the Study of Values (AVL).  However, due to broader domain of values and the much greater number of value categories in the Hall-Tonna, which leads to finer resolution, there are some notable differences between the two instruments.  For example:

The AVL’s category of “Economic”, (“The economic man is characteristically interested in what is useful”), is much more limited and generalized than the Hall-Tonna value set.  Most of the AVL categories (Economic, Religious, etc.,) are limited in scope. The listing above typifies the greater coverage of the Hall-Tonna.  Examples of values in the Hall-Tonna, which are not addressed in any way in the AVL, are (Self) Actualization and World Order. Indeed, often values in the Hall-Tonna cannot even be compared to the six categories in the AVL because there is no logical fit. Life/(Self) Actualization, Integration/Wholeness, and Expressiveness/Freedom/Joy are just three examples of values that have no obvious correlates in the AVL typology.

AVLStudy of Values Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values
Economic (Self) Preservation
Religious Wonder/Awe/Fate

An analysis of the value categories of the Hall-Tonna Inventory of Values and the AVL Study of Values indicates the following:

  1. Each of the broad categories in the AVL is more specifically itemized by a number of values in the Hall-Tonna.
  2. There are a number of additional values in the Hall-Tonna which do not neatly fit into any one AVL category, but rather encompass more than one AVL category, or are not addressed at all in the AVL.
  3. There are a number of additional values in the Hall-Tonna which may on the surface appear to fit into the AVL value category but in reality do no, because they transcend the meanings of the categories defined by the AVL.

What remains are the Hall-Tonna values that do in fact correspond with the AVL:

  1. The AVL Theoretical category corresponds with the following Hall-Tonna values:  (Self) Competence/Confidence, Education/Certification, Criteria/Rationality, Technology/Science.  While such Hall-Tonna values as Knowledge/Discovery/Isight, Research/Originality/Knowledge, and Education/Knowledge/Insight are theoretical, these include the integration of knowledge and discoveries into creative organizational structures.  Likewise, Convivial Technology is a theoretical value but it includes global complexity.  The AVL definition defines theoretical as the pursuit of truth but without any ethical judgement or practical application other than systematization.  Therefore these HTI theoretical values go beyond the meaning of the AVL definition.
  2. The AVL Economic category corresponds with the following Hall-Tonna values: (Self) Preservation, Security, Economics/Profit, Property/Control, Productivity, Economics/Success and Ownership.
  3. The AVL Aesthetic category corresponds with the following Hall-Tonna values: Wonder/Curiosity/Nature, Design/Pattern/Order, Independence, Art/Beauty as Pure Value. The Hall-Tonna value of Research/Originality/Knowledge is an aesthetic value of creativity, but it cannot be included here because it is more expansive and complex than the AVL category.  As in many of the Hall-Tonna values, the definitions become more wholistic and transcend the AVL categories.  As in this example, Research/Originality/Knowledge was mentioned as a theoretical value and again here as aesthetic, but in both cases it is more differentiated, more precise, and more wholistic than any AVL concept.  This configurable aspect results from the wider theoretical scope encompassed by the Hall-Tonna.
  4. The AVL Social category corresponds with the following Hall-Tonna values: Family/Belonging, Friendship/Belonging, Care/Nurture, Empathy, Sharing/Listening/Trust, Generosity/Service, Personal Authority/Honesty and Adaptability/Flexibility are social values of the Hall-Tonna that include more complex differentiation into the area of personal development that is not included in the AVL.  Likewise, Human Dignity is a social value but goes beyond the AVL definition of love for people by including the concept of addressing injustice through some course of action that corrects unjust conditions.  While some HTI social category values may correspond partially to the AVL definitions, they include a high degree of personal integration and self-knowledge not specifically included in the AVL definition.
  5. The AVL Political category corresponds with the following Hall-Tonna values: (Self) Interest/Control, Social Affirmation, Achievement/Success, Competition, Hierarchy/Propriety/Order.
  6. The AVL Religious category corresponds with the following Hall-Tonna values: Wonder/Awe/Fate, Rights Respect, Worship/Faith/Creed, Limitation/Acceptance, Contemplation/Asceticism. The HTI values of Limitation/Acceptance, Limitation/Celebration, Presence/Dwelling, Contemplation/Asceticism as well as Detachment/Solitude, Intimacy/Solitude as Unitive, Generosity/Service (overlapping with the social category) and Prophet/Vision are religious values that may be seen to correspond with the AVL definitions, however the AVL definitions again don’t state the world views that are explicit in these Hall-Tonna values.  These views include detachment in order to enrich the quality of one’s life as well as one’s relationships with others.  They also indicate a larger, more global awareness of reality that has practical implications for active and interdependent involvement with others to take responsibility for the created order.

Summary of the Comparison

Many of the Hall-Tonna values transcend the AVL categories.  For example, the Hall-Tonna value of Mission/Objectives is “the ability to establish organizational goals and execute long term planning that takes into consideration the needs of society and how the organization contributes to those needs.”  Such a value includes the AVL theoretical category since it requires basic education and skills of rationality and technology; it includes the economic category of business and efficiency as foundations of the organization; it may include the aesthetic category in terms of elegance of design and order; it includes the social category in terms of caring for others by making this love manifest in practical ways that have positive impact; it includes the political category as well as the religious.  Likewise, the definitions and many other Hall-Tonna values can be seen to transcend the limits of the AVL categories.

System Support | Privacy Statement
Release-170407 - Copyright © 1988-2017 Minessence International Cooperative
Ph: 61-(0)7-3803-5809 - Mobile: +61-415-149-644
Minessence Learning Centre, PARK RIDGE, QLD 4125, AUSTRALIA
01 May, 2017