Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the VIA Character Strengths and the Gallup StrengthsFinder strengths?


• The aim of VIA has been to discern the basic elements of personality that are universally thought to be the pathways to “the good life” (fulfillment, satisfaction, flourishing). The VIA Classification is intended as a scientific classification, which provides parsing strategies for the scientific community (for measurement) with explicit rules for determining a strength.
• The aim of Gallup has been to discern various qualities in employees that make them more or less successful in a Western workplace. The Gallup strengths-work was developed through surveys of employees and managers in the work environment and intended to support management.

• Therefore, VIA differs in terms of scope (universal vs. parochial; all life spheres vs. work only) and nature (VIA’s focus is on those basic human elements that are interactive and Gallup emphasizes workplace themes in the U.S.).


• VIA’s perspective is that character strengths are foundational to the human experience. They are psychological ingredients that define virtues.
• Gallup’s work defines strengths as talents plus knowledge that come from study and skill, gained from practice. The StrengthsFinder identifies talent themes that influence where and to what degree skills can be built.


• VIA’s work is peer-reviewed, open to the scrutiny of science. In a short amount of time (since 2004), over 200 peer-reviewed publications have emerged around the world using the VIA Survey and this character strengths work. Hundreds of university researchers and students have used the VIA Survey or VIA Youth Survey in their studies.
• Gallup’s work is not peer-reviewed and much of its research is its trade secrets. The StrengthsFinder is not available for scientists or students to use in their research.


Further questions?

Contact the VIA Institute: 

The VIA Institute on Character
312 Walnut Street, Suite 3600
Cincinnati, OH 45202
VIA's Communications Specialist Kelly Aluise: