Factors that Influence Conformity Discussion

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Factors that Influence Conformity Discussion

Discussion 1: Conformit

Conformity and obedience are forms of social influence, one of the subfields within social psychology. Conformity research addresses the influence the group majority has on individual and group behavior. Sherif and Asch conducted seminal studies on conformity. These researchers and others provide a clear picture of the influence of a group majority on the individual and factors that influence conformity. Research also provides insights into how a minority can influence a group (Fiske, 2014).

For this Discussion, review this week’s media program, Week 6: The Virtual Office. Consider how conformity occurred in the virtual office and describe the conditions that led to conformity.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 3 a brief description of two conditions in the media that led to conformity and explain why. Using the current literature, explain one way to alter the conditions in the scenario to prevent conformity. Finally, provide an example where conformity might be good and explain why.


Fiske, S. T. (2014). Social beings: Core motives in social psychology. (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Chapter 13, “Social Influence: Doing What Others Do and Say”

  • Benjamin, L. T., & Simpson, J. A. (2009). The power of the situation: The impact of Milgram’s obedience studies on personality and social psychology. American Psychologist, 64(1), 12–19.
  • Griskevicius, V., Goldstein, N. J., Mortensen, C. R., Cialdini, R. B., & Kenrick, D. T. (2006). Going along versus going alone: When fundamental motives facilitate strategic (non)conformity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(2), 281–294.
  • BBC. (n.d.). Milgram electric shock experiment video [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.personalgrowthcourses.net/video/milgram_2009-1


CARTER: So how’s the job treating you now that you have three months under your belt?

TERESA: I really like it. The hours have been great so far, and working with cardboard has been really fascinating and informative.

CARTER: I know, right? Sometimes it feels too good to be true.

(Jeannette walks toward Carter and Teresa.)

JEANETTE: Morning guys, how’s it going?

CARTER: Can’t complain, really.

TERESA: Just another Monday.

JEANETTE: Well, here’s a bit of news to perk you up. The big boss has asked you, Teresa, to join Carter here, Brian, and myself on our client’s specialty subcommittee.

TERESA: Wow, really? What does that even entail?

JEANETTE: Well the three of us have been on this group for a little over a year now. And we basically just brainstorm new client strategies to bring in new ones, and retain our good ones. But of course when I say, “we,” I mean Carter and me.


CARTER: Yeah, have you had much interaction with Brian?

TERESA: Only in passing really. We haven’t done any projects together.

JEANETTE: Well you’ll see soon enough, that even when you are on a project with him it still feels like “in passing. “

CARTER: He’s what you might call “unmotivated,” never comes up with ideas, never volunteers to take charge. He’s basically dead weight.

TERESA: Well I guess now that you mention it, I have walked passed his desk fairly often and seen him looking at a lot of non work-related websites.

JEANETTE: Exactly. That’s all he ever does. And yet, somehow, he’s a notch above us on the totem pole. I’ve been here for five years and I could really do a lot from his position. It’s just not right.

CARTER: That’s true. He’s really become dead weight lately. I hear he isn’t helping his group at all in the packaging presentation to the board either. It’s embarrassing. I mean, I know the three of us are constantly embracing the clearly stated company work culture that promotes focused and hard work, where as he’s only promoting slacking. Frankly, I think it’s infuriating.

JEANETTE: That is so not fair. Maybe the three of us should all go into the boss’s office and say, “Listen, we don’t think Brian is pulling his weight anymore. Maybe it’s time for change,” and then we can just list off everything we’ve noticed.

CARTER: Absolutely.

TERESA: I don’t know if it’d be right for me. I’m still pretty new, and haven’t really had much interaction with him.

JEANETTE: Oh no, it’s fine. You’ve seen enough, and it’ll definitely sound better coming from all three of us, right?

CARTER: I think so too. It’s been a long time coming. Should I set up a meeting with the boss this afternoon? Teresa, are you free around four?

TERESA: Umm, yeah, sure. I can definitely be there. JEANETTE: Perfect. This is going to be such a relief. (Brian walks into the break room.)

BRIAN: Morning guys.

JEANETTE, CARTER, and TERESA: Morning Brian.


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