Changing At-nold Mitchell
Values and Lifestyles
Values and Lifestyles
It has been apparent for several years that changes in people’s values in the United States, have been occurring more frequently and having greater impact than has previously been experienced. The most significant impacts appear to be coming from people whose values and lifestyles are considerably less materialistic than traditional American values.
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Work at SRI, spanning more than a decade, had identified a new and rapidly growing group of people, the ‘inner directed&; while more traditional groups-‘outer directed& and ‘money restricted-have been declining as percentages of the population. These three major groups and their subdivisions are described in the article and particular emphasis is given to the inner directed group since it is likely to have the greatest impact on business, the market and government.
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chows the TraditIonal, Outer-directed Hierarchical Path Shows the Contemporary, Inner-directed Hierirchical Path
HAIKU At Foot of Mountain, Many Paths; When Peak is Gained The Same Moon is Seen
The Changes The typology developed by SRI to describe the three groups-the ‘outer directeds’ the ‘money restricteds’ and the ‘inner directeds’-is a developmental psychological typology, which was confirmed using the National Opinion Research Centre’s General Social Survey. The typology is presently being refined through a survey administered for SRI. It forms what we call a ‘double hierarchy’, as shown in Figure 1. We believe that this typology will hold for all industrialized countries; a *preliminary investigation of five European countries, based on data and analyses from the Research. Institute on Social Change (RISC) indicates that this hypothesis is likely to be valid. Unless otherwise specified, all the examples given in this paper are from the U.S. The money restricted groups ‘Survivors and Sustainers’ (Figure 2). These are households and individuals whose discretionary freedom in purchasing goods and services is severely restricted by lack of money. In general they are” the least psychologically free Americans and are farthest removed from the cultural mainstream. They have Arnold Mitchell is a senior economist at SRI international. He is Director of the Values and Lifestyles Programme. Christine MacNulty is the Programme Manager, Strategic Environment Center, SRI International, Europe.
1. The double
Little Education BUY IMG EMPHASIS l Basic Needs 0 Staples
low incomes, tend to be education; they live mostly rural areas. Presently 12 population is in this group; will fall to about 10 per cent
older and have little in inner cities or in poor per cent of the adult it is estimated that it within the next decade.
These groups vary quite widely in Europe, with the largest proportions being in the U.K. and Italy, and the smallest in Germany and .Sweden. The outer directed group is Middle America, and is presently over 71 per cent of the adult population, although this will probably fall to 65 per cent in the
next decade. They are generally concerned with externals; behave according to established norms; and respond to peer pressure. Outer directeds can be divided into three main groups: Belongers, Emulators, Achievers. Belongers (Figure 3), the largest group constitute about 38 per cent of the adult population. The Belongers want to conform, to fit in, to be traditional, they do not want to stand out. They come mainly from rural areas or small towns; have low to middle incomes, and span all age groups, although the greatest proportion is middle aged. Many widows are in this category. Although they participate in fads, they are not the innovators; they join the fad in the third or fourth wave, largely because of the influence of the media. Their concerns are mostly associated with their families and with the local community.
VALUES l Conforming, Conventional
DEMOGRAPHICS l Low to Middle Income l
0 Low to Average Education
0 Sentimental l
1981 adult population, decline.
but their numbers
This group seems to be a slightly larger percentage of the population in most European countries than in the U.S., although also declining. The Achiever (Figure 5) is the driving and driven person, oriented towards success, who commonly expends much of his wealth, activity and energy on the good things of life. Achievers want the best and are willing to work hard for it. Work and the Puritan ethic are central to this individual to the point that leisure, too, must be busy and productive. These are rugged individualists in the frontier tradition-competitive, self-confident and willing to try the new, especially if it smacks of technological innovation. At the same time they do not want too much change because they are on top, and really radical change might shake them off. They are well educated, affluent and influential. They are generally found at the top of business, politics and the professions. Presently, they form 24 per cent of the adult population although this likely to decline to 22 per cent within the next decade. .
BUYING EMPHASIS l Family
DEMOGRAPHICS l Excellent Income
Middle and Lower Mass Markets
VALUES . success
Wide Age Spectrum - Emphasis on
0 Fame, Status
BUYING EMPHASIS 0 Give Evidence of Success
Most European countries have Belongers as the largest segment of the population, although not quite so large as that in the U.S. ‘with the possible exception of Germany. The Emulators (Figure 4) are spectacularly outer directed. They emulate the patterns of those they consider to be wealthier, or more successful than they. These people are on the climb, highly concerned with the impressions they make, and at the.stage in life of high ambition and maximum social and job mobility. Generally they have good education, good incomes, and tend to live in cities. Presently they comprise about 10 per cent of the
DEMOGRAPHICS l Good Income
VALUES 0 Ambitious Upwardly Mobile
0 Top of the Line
Luxury and Gift Markets
“New and Improved”
This group has been more difficult to identify in Europe, since wealth, success and education do not form the same basis for social advancement as they do in the U.S. It appears that while 10-12 per cent of the population have similar characteristics to U.S. Achievers, a fairly large percentage of leaders in business and government have strongly inner directed tendencies, valuing time and creativity over material acquisitions. A possible exception to this could be Germany where the percentage of Achievers appears to be greater than in the U.S. The inner directed group (I-Am-Me, Experiential, Integrated) is the fastest Societally Conscious, growing of all groups. The people are motivated by their own inner wants and desires, instead of responding primarily to the norms of others. This group as a whole is presently 17 per cent of the adult population, and is expected to be about 27 per cent by 1988. In seyeral European
Changing population in the inner directed groups is larger than that in the U.S. However, in the last year the rate ofgrowth has tended to decline slightly. At this stage it is uncertain as to whether this is because of economic necessity or is a trend away from extremes. In either case, it seems likely that the growth of inner directeds will continue. The I-Am-Me individual (Figure 6) is narcissistic and individualistic. They tend to be very young; students or in their first jobs, and, in the U.S. fairly affluent and well-educated. People seem to pass through this stage fairly quickly; few linger and many become Experiential. This group is about 4 per cent of the adult population in the U.S. and is expected to remain fairly constant. In Europe, with the exception of Italy, but particularly in the U.K. where school leaver unemployment is high, this group contains two different types: those who are similar to the U.S. type and those who are from poor backgrounds and poorly educated. As they become older and well educated, affluent individuals generally move on to become the poor individuals with lower Experiential; education revert to Belongers if they can find work; the poor individuals with reasonable education generally become Emulators. Those who remain unemployed just drift. Generally the percentage of the population in the I-Am-Me group is higher than-that in the U.S.
DEMOGRAPHICS 0 Student or Young Professional
VALUES 0 Fiercely Individualistic
0 Many singles l
Values and Lifestyles
DEMOGRAPHICS l Bimodal: Low and Moderate Incomes l
Mostly Under 40
Many Young Families
Good Education BUYING EMPHASIS l Obtain Direct Experience
VALUES l Participative l
Interaction With People
“Making” Home Pursuits
Process over Product
and we expect this percentage within the next decade.
In Europe, again with the exception of Italy, this group appears to be larger than that in the U.S. There are slight differences, however, in that they are perhaps not so aesthetically inclined, and are often experimental for the sake of trying something new and different, rather than for the value of the experience. Another group likely to experience major increases is that of the Societally Conscious (Figure 8). These are people who are actually aware of societal issues, are often imbued with a ‘spaceship earth’ philosophy, and are adamant about living in a socially responsible way. Some are young, but there is a growing following among those over the age of 35. One expression of this lifestyle is ‘voluntary in a resource and energy simplicity’ ; living conserving fashion; a ‘small is beautiful’ way of life. Others remain closer to the mainstream, but adopt a socially responsible attitude towards their lives.
BUYING EMPHASIS l Display One’s Taste l
DEMOGRAPHICS e Bimodal: Low and Good Incomes
VALUES l Societal Responsibility
Volatile Buying Patterns
Mostly Under 50
Source of Far-out Trends
0 Global Philosophy
0 Smallness of Scale
0 Simple Living
The Experiential individual (Figure 7) is a person who seeks direct experience, deep involvement, intense personal relationships and a rich inner life. They are young, well educated and af?Iuent, belong to many of the avant-garde movements; they are active in ‘far out’ ideas, ranging from astrology to yoga-their desire for direct, often unusual experience leads them to such sports as hanggliding and backpacking; to have pursuits such as winemaking, weaving and gardening; and to such activities as volunteer social work. They are strongly person-centred, well educated, somewhat intellectual, aesthetically inclined, and with good financial prospects. As consumers they are highly experimental in ‘establishment’ terms, but may be rather conforming in terms of their peers. About 6 per cent of the adult population is in this category
BUYING EMPHASIS l To Conserve, Protect, Heal
Most are well educated and afrluent, although some have voluntarily relinquished aflluence. Societally conscious individuals are often the leaders or members of activist and single issue groups, particularly those concerned with the physical environment. This group is likely to grow from 5 or 6 per cent of the adult population to 12 per cent during the coming decade. In Europe the trends vary from country to country, although this group is generally larger than that in the U.S., and is
increasing. Despite this trend, and continuing activities of single issue groups, concern with the physical environment and ecology seems to be declining. The final group is of Integrated individuals (Figure 9). These are people able to live in accord with an inner sense of what is fitting, self-fulfilling, releasing and balanced. The image is of a psychologically mature person, highly integrated in the various domains of life, and quite certain of what he likes. They tend to be indifferent to the judgment of others, swing easily in matters they consider inconsequential, but can be missionoriented in matters they consider important. Their global perspective makes them tolerant, understanding and aware of the world around them. Most integrated people are well educated, affluent, and many hold professional or managerial jobs. This group is presently 2-3 per cent of the adult population, and may increase slightly to 4-5 per cent by 1988. The same trends are occurring in Europe, also.
DEMOGRAPHICS l Good to Excellent Incomes
VALUES l Sense of Fittingness
&modal in Age
0 Self-actualizing l
BUYING EMPHASIS 0 Varied Self-expression 0 Esthetically Oriented
The Impacts The changes in values and lifestyles of the money restricted and some outer directed groups are not likely to have significant impact on society during the next decade. The greatest impacts will come from the rapidly growing inner-directed groups, and from the Achievers who are beginning to adopt some inner directed values. Since these groups tend to be the best educated and most afIluent of the population, their influence on the market, business and government is expected to be considerable.
The Market Inner directeds buy to satisfy their own internal needs, rather than buying goods which are identified with social status. In general they want high quality, durable goods. Their preference is for natural rather than synthetic (natural foods, natural fibres) and for natural colours. They are very conserving of energy and other resources; will buy
1981 goods which use little energy, and will prefer goods which have been made in the most resource conserving fashion. For instance, where an Achiever would probably buy a Mercedes or large Citroen, an inner directed would probably buy a Volkswagen, a 2CV, or would even ride a bicycle. On the other hand, an inner directed might buy very expensive stereo equipment-not to have on display in his living room, as would an Achiever, but to put in his basement where he can experience the high quality sound in comfort, on his own or with a few close friends. Many of the inner directeds enjoy ‘making’ pursuits: beer, wine, clothes, furniture, art. They prefer handmade, one of a kind items, to mass produced articles. Their attitudes also have an effect on the way in which products can be advertised and merchandised. Inner directeds do not respond to advertisements which emphasize: bigger, better, new improved version, washes whiter than . . . and so forth. They want to know more about the actual productswhat they are made from, by what process, what do they consume. They prefer small, speciality stores to large supermarkets and department stores. Aside from wanting more personal, friendly service it facilitates the ordering of special brands and types of goods.
Business The inner directed groups are not motivated by the traditional incentives: money, power, ambition, success. They want to have rewarding, fulfilling jobs, and, particularly if those criteria cannot be satisfied, they tend to want shorter working hours. Since this is the best educated group it would, traditionally, have been the one from which leaders in management, the professions and politics were drawn. Now, the real question is: how can business and the professions attract such people? What conditions can they be offered? Or will an increasingly larger segment of industry and government be deprived of this resource? Inner directeds appear to have no interest in hierarchical management structures, since they are not particularly concerned about advancement beyond a level they find to be fulfilling. They believe that heterarchical* or functional structures are more effective. Also, apart from making enough to keep an profit and return on investment organization viable, many inner directeds believe that other objectives are more important than maximizing profits and RoI. Thus in order to attract inner directed people to positions of responsibility within business, and to retain them, it is likely that organizations’ objectives and ‘A heterarchy is a structure in whrch for a particular purpose, or function A can be over B. B over C, Cover A. There is no fixed pyramid of authority; the leader at any given time is the one who can perform the function required in the optimum fashion.
Changing structure will have to be changed. Once a business is assured of survival then it is likely that its objectives must give priority to conservation and social responsibility, rather than to financial objectives. During the early years, the inner directed groups and outer directed ones may become polarized, since their objectives are so different. As the groups of inner directeds grow the people with traditional views, particularly Belongers, are likely to feel threatened. (It is likely that the intense union activity in the U.K. is caused by ‘militant Belongers’ who not only want to conform to traditional ‘norms’, but who want to make sure that everyone else conforms.) Although these groups are likely to decrease in size during the next 20 years, they may retain considerable influence over the workforce during the next decade. Management will have to handle this conflict very carefully in order to maintain effective operations during the transition period. In time, it is likely that corporate objectives will reflect inner directed views to a and that organizational much greater degree; structure will become more horizontal, eventually shifting to heterarchy.
Government The government is likely to be affected by the growth of the inner directed groups in several ways. As an employer it is likely to encounter problems similar to those in the industrial sector. As an arbitrator it will find that conflicts between various polarized groups in industry, in single issue groups* and in government itself are likely to occur more often and be less amenable to compromise. As a regulator and legislator it is less likely to be pulled in many directions by different single issue groups.
‘Single issue groups are groups which espouse a single cause to the exclusion of almost everything else, and work to advance and protect that cause. The reason for their strength is that they operate as segmented, polycephalous networks.’ They are held together by a common ideology which is so powerful that it overcomes differences in approach or strategy. A network has no hierarchy, although individual segments of it probably have. If a leader of one segment of it isdeposed (or assassinated) the network holds together until another leader appears. Examples of such networks are the Black Liberation Movement, which includes such diverse groups as the very moderate NAACP and the militant Black Panthers; others are the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, anti-nuclear power activists, etc.
Values and Lifestyles
Single issue groups are probably the area of greatest concern to business and government; many of them have been formed by, and are peopled by inner directeds. Already in the U.S., single issue groups have had profound effects on government-they were the cause of much proliferation of regulatory agencies, and regulatory legislation: they were probably the force behind the unseating of one senator and are likely to prevent others from being returned at the next election. The congressional system is more easily affected by single issue groups than are parliamentary systems. Nevertheless, we are seeing reactions against power plants and chemical plants in Europe, causing them to be delayed or relocated; battery hens are no longer permitted in some countries. It is likely that this is only the thin end of the wedge. Under the influence of these single issue groups governments are trying to adopt stronger regulatory controls. These may cause increasing tension between members of the EEC where, for instance, countries bordering on the same river have differing regulations regarding permissible eflluent. European multinationals are likely to have difficulty .in keeping track of all the regulations imposed by host and mother countries.
Conclusions All these trends seem to point to a turbulent decade ahead. While many problems are likely to occur in almost every aspect of society there will also be opportunities. It may be necessary to modify our objectives and to change our perspective of the way in which society, business and government operate; but if leaders in business, trade unions and government can learn to be more flexible and accept, even encourage change, then the conflicts and problems will be minimized and opportunities generated.
Acknowledgments-This article is reprinted from Futures Researcll for Managers-A Basisfor Action, Published in Dutch by VSB in September 1980.
References (1) Virginia H. Hine, The basic paradigm of a future socio-cultural system, World Issues. pp. 19-22, April/May (1977).