The Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered

Topics: Conformity, Asch conformity experiments, Solomon Asch Pages: 3 (731 words) Published: June 23, 2013
The Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered
Billie Jo Grassinger
June 1, 2013
Barry Baker

What Does That Mean?
“The nail that sticks out gets hammered down” is a quote that reinforces the importance of ‘fitting-in’. In Japan, the nail that sticks out can be hammered down for any reason – better grades, worse grades, making a mistake in a team activity. In a country where an unspoken rule of conformity is combined with a strict hierarchical structure, bullying – or ijime – becomes an ingrained, almost tolerated phenomenon. (Watanabe, 2012) As Amin Maalouf said in his book, “Every individual is a meeting ground for many different allegiances, and sometimes these loyalties conflict with one another and confront the person who harbors them with difficult choices.” (Maalouf, 2000) Maalouf has personally felt the conflict that can exist between different elements of a person’s identity. Quite simply, he writes that people “often see themselves in terms of whichever one of their allegiances is most under attack.” Asch C Solomon (1951) conducted research (the Asch experiment) to investigate the extent to which social pressure from a majority group could affect a person to conform. Apparently, people conform for two main reasons: because they want to fit in with the group and because they believe the group is better informed than they are. ( Business Owners Opinions

A survey was taken among numerous friends and business owners in the community to see what they thought of the quote and what it meant to them. The first people asked were employees. The responses ranged from, “If you are on top of your game, you will have people try to bring you down” (Putkonen,D. personal communication, June 1, 2013) to “they try to hammer us down but it does not work once the nail is strong and solid!” (Kelly,S. personal communication, June 1, 2013). It was surprising to see the responses from business proprietors. Their answers were well thought out and...

References: Maalouf, A. (2000). In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong. New York, Ny. Penguin Books.
Retrieved from:
Thatcher, M. (September, 1975) Speech to the Institute of SocioEconomic Studies. Speech presented at St Regis Hotel, 2 East 55th Street, New York.
Watanabe, A. (2012, July 17). The nail that sticks out gets hammered down: Bullying in Japan. Retrieved May 31, 2013 from
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