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  • Writer's pictureElucidation Strategies

The ABCs of ABV: Attitudes, Beliefs, & Values

It's a couple of years old, but remains true today. Resharing from the ES blog, Fall 2022.

“What’s her problem? She has such an attitude.”

“His belief in paranormal phenomenon is steadfast, but I still think all those ghost hunting shows are fake.”

“The organization values dedicated staff and committed volunteers.”

Attitudes. Beliefs. Values.

These are familiar words that we hear often. At first, they might seem like they’re all saying the same thing. However, if we look closer and really consider what each term means, we realize that these words are aligned, but they are not simply synonyms. Why do these three concepts matter so much when it comes to strategic planning? Who is creating the plan? People. Who does the plan benefit? People. Who makes decisions about goods and services? Yup - people. And when we think of “people,” we should keep in mind that “people” represents an accumulation of individuals. Individuals are who they are because of attitudes, beliefs, and values. Keeping these core components in mind, the ones that determine how we see and experience the world around us - not to mention how we receive and process information - helps us to create better, strong, and more effective messaging.

We can look to helpful resources, like the Indiana State University’s open textbook, “Introduction to Public Communication” to explore the distinctions.

An attitude is defined as an individual’s general predisposition toward something as being good or bad…or negative or positive.

A crucial sentence to keep in mind when considering attitude is - Do I like something or not?

Sometimes the word opinion is associated with attitude. It’s really about one's position with regard to something or someone. What we like or dislike changes as we grow, so attitudes are often shifting and evolving.

A Belief is a proposition or position that an individual holds as true or false without positive knowledge or proof. Typically, beliefs are divided into two basic categories: core and dispositional. A Core belief is a belief that people have actively engaged in and created over the course of their lives (e.g., belief in a higher power, belief in extraterrestrial life forms). A Dispositional belief, on the other hand, is a belief that people have not actively engaged in but rather judgments that they make, based on their knowledge of related subjects, when they encounter a proposition.

An important sentence to keep in mind when considering belief is - Do I find something to be true or false?

When we consider a belief, it’s about having trust of or confidence in something, a state of mind of conviction about an occurrence, situation, or exchange. Our truths can change or shift as we grow, but it often requires more evidence and experience to change beliefs in comparison to attitudes.

A Value refers to an individual’s perception of the usefulness, importance, or worth of something.

A significant sentence to keep in mind when considering value is - Do I find this to be right or wrong? It's often helpful to expand to the idea of rightness or wrongness, actually.

This concept focuses on the moral principles or the acceptable standards that one often employs as a guide - as THE guide - for decisions and actions. Values convey who we are; it’s a fundamental aspect of our identity and what informs our behavior and choices. Values motivate us based on what we identify as most important. Because of this, influencing change when it comes to values is often a far greater challenge when compared to attitudes or beliefs.

When we set out to spark connections with stakeholders, the best results come from an authentic and informed approach. Strategic planning is the tool that gets you there.

To learn more from the ISU communications text, visit

Contact Elucidation Strategies for cannabis consulting services.


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