Difference between Values and Principles

By: | Updated: May-28, 2019
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People react to certain events or circumstances in different ways. Their manner of approach or behavior may be influenced by certain beliefs. These beliefs are rooted on someone’s personal values and principles. When we talk about values and principles, initially, you might think that they are one and the same. However, if you dig deeper into a person’s psyche, you will understand that there is indeed a difference between the two. Continue reading this article to understand the difference between values and principles.

Summary Table

Values Principles
Internal and subjective Self-evident and objective
Malleable Firm, stable
Change over time Unchanging



Values are about someone’s faith, beliefs, and opinions pertaining to certain ideas or issues. It is something internal, and may be swayed or influenced by certain conditions or the state of life a person has at the moment. Values may change as the environment, demands, or needs change.


Principles are often part of most traditions and philosophies. Concepts of integrity, honesty, and fairness are principles that transcend individuals and cultures. Principles govern how people behave and interact in various situations, often in a firm and consistent stance.

Values vs Principles

The main difference between values and principles is that values are internal and subjective to a person, whereas principles are objective and self-evident. Values are beliefs and opinions that a person holds dear, but due to changes in needs and in one’s environment, values may also change over time. Principles, on the other hand, are objective realities and rules a person lives by, and something that is firm and often permanent. Principles may be used as a reference point in determining one’s current goals and values.

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