ORG 300- Principles of Management
Colorado State University – Global Campus
Ms. Marie Halvorsen – Ganepola
September 20, 2014
If we think back I am sure we can all remember a time when we were sitting in class and the teacher asked a question; we knew in our minds that the answer we chose was the right one, yet when we looked around, the majority of the class had chosen a different answer. What did we do? We more than likely didn’t answer the question because the rest of the class would have looked at us like we were wrong. We didn’t want to be the odd man out of the whole class. Yu & Sun (2013) state, “when people have different opinions in a group, they often adjust their own attitudes and behaviors to match the group opinion, known as social conformity” (p. 1). Looking back, should we have conformed to the class? Should we have just listened to ourselves and answered the question even though the rest of the class chose the other answer? The answer is no, we shouldn’t have conformed to the class; we should have listened to ourselves, at least for me anyways. According to Robbins, DeCenzo, & Coulter (2014), “conformity is adjusting one’s behavior to align with a group’s norms” (p. 285).
We are taught as soon as we are old enough to grasp the idea that it is bad to be unique and to avoid being different. At some point, however, we must decide within ourselves whether to spend every day trying to be like everyone else because society says we should or living each day true to ourselves. Does the desire to be accepted as part of a group leave one susceptible to conforming to the group’s norms? Can a group exert pressure that’s strong enough to change a member’s attitudes and behavior?
The desire to be accepted and belong to a group is an undeniable human need. Whether we are trying to fit in with family, friends, co-workers, or a sports team, we have a desire to be part of something and belong; we want to feel like we are wanted. What we have to understand is we are all different; we are not all the same. We all have different lives and interests, beliefs, etc.; not everyone is going to fit into certain groups.
Most people tend to want to form to a group’s norms because they want that feeling of fitting in; they don’t want to be considered different. In order for them to fit into a group, they may agree with something they don’t necessarily feel is right, but they go along with it because they want to be part of that group. For example, say you just started hanging out with a certain group that you have wanted to be a part of for a long time; they tell you the only way you can be a part of their group is to walk into a store and steal something. Do you do it so you can be a part of their group? Or do you say no and walk away? If you’ve longed to be a part of that group, more than likely, you are going to do it so you can fit in with them; even though it is not the right thing to do. The pressure of being a part of a group or feeling wanted, makes people do things they wouldn’t normally do. Conformity derives from the desire to be socially accepted and forms the basis for normative influence. (Papyrina, 2012) According to Papyrina (2012), “the theory of normative influence argues that individuals conform because they believe that similarity breeds liking, and that agreeing with others will help them fit in the group and avoid rejection” (p. 468). How does one particular leadership model relate to the most important performance outcomes with regard to teams? There has been a large amount of work that has gone into studying, researching, and developing models of leadership. There have been numerous models put forth, examined, applied, and either used or discarded. However, after all this work, I am not sure there is still one ‘perfect’ model or method of leading a team. Every group is different; therefore a good leader must be flexible. Different...
References: Papyrina, V. (2012). If I Want You to Like Me, Should I Be Like You or Unlike You? The
Effect of Prior Positive Interaction with the Group on Conformity and Distinctiveness in
Consumer Decision. Business Source Premier. (11)(6), 467-476.
Robbins, S.P., DeCenzo, D.A. & Coulter, M. (2013). Fundamentals of Management (8th ed.).
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Module 3, Leadership and Teams-What Makes Us
Effective at Work?
Robbins, S.P., DeCenzo, D.A., & Coulter, M. (2014). Fundamentals of Management: Essential
Concepts and Applications (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Yu, R., Sun, S. (2013). To Conform or Not to Conform: Spontaneous Conformity Diminishes the
Sensitivity to Monetary Outcomes. Academic Search Premier. (8)(5), 1-9.
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