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Definition

Outer-directed

Definition (1):

Outer-directed is a term introduced to sociology by the American sociologist David Riesman to describe people who respond to their society mainly by conforming to social norms, by seeking approval and courting popularity.

Definition (2):

Outer-directed means-“directed in thought and action by external norms: conforming to the values and standards of one's group or society.”

An individual can be either outer or inner-directed or can be a mixture of these two extremes. Outer-directed individuals follow instructions and advice from others. They are afraid to act and be different. They are afraid to make waves or stand out and are scared to take a stand on crucial issues. It is safer wearing a uniform, belonging, and thinking uniform thoughts and squashing any symbols of being unique or different. They follow the crowd and fear being alone.

The outer-directed individual’s desire is being a team player and therefore belonging to a team. They consider a specific type of safety in numbers. They also give importance to tradition. They think what was good for their ancestors will be good enough for them. It comforts them and gives continuity in life.

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