Contrasting among Obedience, Conformity and Compliance
Obedience, Conformity and Compliance- all are human behaviors. Let’s look at the following incidents- 1. The student followed his teacher’s orders.
2. The parents bought a crib for their new born baby.
3. The factory implemented all the safety measures (for its workers) set by the Government.
In the first example above, we see the student doing as he was told by his teacher. That means he obeyed the teacher, which is obedience. In the later example why do you think the parents bought a crib for their baby? Because everyone we know buys or bought crib for his/her new born baby to sleep in. This is a social norm and sticking to this is what we call- Conformity. And in the last example, some rules and regulations set by the authority (in this case, the Govt.) led the factory to take some actions in order to abide by those rules. This is an example of compliance. Obedience means following orders without questioning since they come from a legitimate authority. Any person can have many legitimate authorities in his/her life starting from parents, to teachers at school and even the spiritual leaders. The society has given most of these authoritative figures the power to give orders to others. Every person in his/her life has followed orders from authoritative figures at some point of time without asking why they are doing what they are doing. For instance, we never question why we take tests in school. We just take them as the teachers told us to do so. We abide by many other rules because they usually come from someone who is in a position higher than we are at. There is a very significant psychological experiment which deals with the issue of obedience. The experiment was conducted by Stanley Milgram. The experiment involved two people where one would play the role of a student trying to remember different words that he had heard, and the other person that was the subject o this experiment; played...
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