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Group Psychology: Conformity and Obedience Compare and Contrast

The effect of group influence on the self can be profound, often resulting in conformity and obedience to the group, even when such behavior is against the individual's personal desires or ethics. This paper will examine the effect of group influence on the self and will compare and contrast the concepts of conformity and obedience.

Choi, Price, and Vinokur (2003, p. 358) identify two ways that group influence can affect an individual's efficacy beliefs. The first is via the individual's personal experiences as a part of the group, and the second is what the authors call "a cross-level process" in which the characteristics of the group exert an influence (Choi, Price, & Vinokur, 2003, p. 358). The authors cite Hackman's (1992, as cited in Choi, Price, & Vinokur, 2003, p. 358) observation that members of a group are both exposed to and influenced by two different types of group stimuli-discretionary and ambient. Discretionary stimuli are those stimuli directed specifically at the individual, such as "messages of approval or disapproval, role negotiation or differentiation, and leader-follower exchanges (Choi, Price, & Vinokur, 2003, p. 358). Ambient stimuli are those that "pervade the group setting" and are thus available to everyone in the group, such as "group composition, shared group norms, climate, and the task environment" (Choi, Price, & Vinokur, 2003, p. 358).

The response to group influence is often conformity or obedience. Conformity is a "response to group norms," often within a peer group, and it is "associated with need for acceptance and knowing what to do" ("Conformity vs Obedience," n.d.). When an individual conforms to a peer group, his behavior is similar to that of his peers, and he attempts to go along with what the group is doing ("Conformity vs Obedience," n.d.). There are two primary reasons for conformity-a "normative social influence," or "public conformity," and an "inter

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Group Psychology: Conformity and Obedience Compare and Contrast . (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 12:54, October 24, 2014, from http://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/2001181.html