Living Your Values 2 – The Economic

As a follow on to my previous article on The Altruist (my personal highest Value) I have chosen to look at my lowest Value based on the Seven Values (or Drivers) identified by Gordon Allport.  Future articles will be looking at Aesthetic, Individualistic, Political, Regulatory, & Theoretical.


It would be a mistake to think that someone (such as myself) with a low Economic driver is not financially aware!  It merely means that we are not motivated by financial rewards first and foremost.  However, we can be best summed up with the term “take the issue of money off the table so we can focus on what we do best”.  A previous boss (with a high Economic drive) suggested he would train me to increase my financial drive.  In doing so he completely missed the point of the Drivers impact on an individual’s approach!  Despite my low Economic drive I am very aware of budgets and am constantly looking at opportunities to save money for the company.  On the reverse a high Economic may well spend money in pursuit of the higher rewards (for example buying an expensive car on the basis that ‘money attracts money’.  This is an area identified in the research by Spranger & Allport (described below).


Eduard Sprangers research published in his 1914 book “Types of Men: the Psychology and Ethics of Personality” identified Economic as a “person who is characteristically interested in what is useful”.  Based on Sprangers work Gordon Allport defined Economic as “A drive for economic or practical returns”.


These definitions were further expanded to state “Based originally upon the satisfaction of bodily needs (self-preservation), the interest in utilities develops to embrace the practical affairs of the business world—the production, marketing, and consumption of goods, the elaboration of credit, and the accumulation of tangible wealth.  This type is thoroughly practical and conforms well to the prevailing stereotype of the businessperson”.


They go on to state, “More than perhaps any other, the Economic attitude frequently comes into conflict with other values.  The Economic person wants education to be practical, and regards unapplied knowledge (often sought by the Theoretical person) as waste.  Great feats of engineering and application result from the practical demands Economic people make upon science and theory. In his personal life the Economic person is likely to confuse luxury with beauty.  In his relations with people he is more likely to be interested in surpassing them in wealth than in dominating them (Political attitude) or in serving them (Altruistic attitude).  In some instances he may have regard for the Regulatory attitudes, but inclines to consider it as a means to rewards of wealth, prosperity, and other tangible blessings”.


The preferred approach of a high Economic is a professional one with a focus on bottom line results.  For them it’s about: Practical returns, Monetary interests, Efficiency, Utility, Production, Capitalism, Maximising gains, Results.


On a more practical front I have debriefed several hundred assessments and consistently what I see from those defined as Altruist by being a ‘top’ score is the desire to use their power, influence, time, and expertise to help others.  It is what drove me to become a Trainer & Coach after I realised how much I could help someone change their life and realise their passion.


People we may recognise as having a high Economic driver are the likes of Donald Trump, Warren Buffet.  Both of these men have the same driver but how they use it will be seen as very different, but this will be because of their scores across the other six drivers.  The former is also high in his Political (the need for power, influence and control.  Whereas the latter is more about the Theoretical.  Again this reinforces how we are all different, even when we have such strong similarities.


High Economic people typically make excellent sales people, where they are driven to perform harder if their remuneration package is linked to sales targets.  Typically they are happy with a moderate salary but higher levels of commission or bonus, where they can potentially achieve much higher levels of income.


As with all the other Values, none is wrong or right but about developing an understanding of ourselves and others, and remembering that we all have each to some level but what is important is ‘what gets you up in the morning’.  This is what make us happy to take on the challenge of the day and work to our best.

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