Is Conformity to Group Norms a Good or Bad Thing?
Topic 8 – Question 1
Is conformity to group norms a good or bad thing?
Conformity is a type of social influence involving a change in belief or behavior in order to fit in with a group. Conformity is inherent in our everyday lives and can occur when we are with others or when we are alone. For example, many of us follow social standards for eating when we are with a group and when we are alone. Conformity occurs when individuals yield to group pressures or expectations, also called norms. The text defines norms as the informal rules and shared expectations that groups establish to regulate the behavior of their members (McShane and Steen, p.194). Norms develop as soon as teams form because people …show more content…
This study concluded that people conform due to normative influence and informational influence. Normative conformity occurs when individuals yield to group pressures because he or she wants to fit in with their group. Individuals who conform normatively are generally scared of being rejected by the group; they may comply by agreeing with the group despite their personal opinions. Informational conformity occurs when a person lacks knowledge, therefore they look to their group(s) for guidance; or when a person is in an unclear situation and socially compares their behavior with the group (Home: Social Influence: Encyclopedia, 2009).
It is also interesting to see how group norms and conformity affect one’s creativity. While many people, including myself, find collaborating with others and working in teams an effective approach to creativity, the truth is group norms can really impact the creative process. Since creativity is “thinking outside the box”, it calls for nonconformity. A study conducted by Adarves-Yorno et al. (2006) demonstrates how group norms impact student’s creativity. The study asked two groups of participants to create posters and gave each group a subtle norm about their groups. One group was given the norm ‘words’ and the other ‘images’. Afterwards when they judged each other’s work, the participants linked creativity with following their