Dangers of Conformity

Dangers of Conformity



Course Instructor


Conformity is a social response to real or imagined pressure that involves matching behaviors and beliefs of an individual to fit into a group. Conformity may also involve adaptation to group’s pressure or the majority influence imposed by an individual in a group. It is common to find an individual trying to fit into a certain group or society simply because he desires to act right or maybe because he wants to be identified with the society. There are different forms of group pressure that may be very dangerous in one’s life such as ill-treatment, encouragement, mocking and criticism. It is important to understand some of the reasons why people conform (McLeod, 2007).This essay analyses some of the effect, causes and dangers of conformity.

According to Mann (1969), there are different types of conformity which involve normative, informational and ingratiation. But Kelman (1958) distinguished between three types of conformity that involve compliance, internalization and identification. Considering informational conformity may always be caused by lack of adequate knowledge to the group or perhaps someone is in undecided condition and therefore associates their behavior with the group. Informational conformity may further mean that an individually agree with the group’s views and decides to fit in that particular group (Shami, 2003). Unfortunately, even as people change their behaviors to adapt to the public pressure, some do not agree with the public privately. An individual may just force himself into a behavior he does not like just to please the public or may be gain favor from the public. However, it is worth noting that not everyone accepts to be influenced by the group or society because they value being independent and value their private lives and decisions (Sunstein, 2003).

However there are several dangers of conformity especially considering that people are at times forced to do things that they do not love doing. It is clear that when people do not do what they want and love doing then it is like denying an individual a very crucial right. In some instances, conformity has deprived us of achieving our dreams that we wanted to achieve while we were young. When an individual grows, there are always great ambitions that later fade in life because of trying to conform to a particular society (Sunstein, 2003). Our passions and desires are always cut short because we want to be like everyone because we feel being independent is threatening. People have come up with great things such as theories simply because they refused to remain comfortable or denied to think in the same way as the society. For instance, Christopher Columbus was convinced that the world was round regardless of people’s opinions against it. Conformity is very wrong because it denies people chance to be inventive and innovative for fear of being irrelevant to the society. Someone may simply not take the right direction because the group or the society may be against it (Levin, Carney & Barrett, 2003).

It is indeed unfortunate to believe in something you are not sure about such as faith because the group believe in it. Someone may not even have the time to know more about the faith or religion but just goes into it without looking back. People may carry out some horrible and bad acts because they follow instructions that the society demand them to be (Bakken, 2000). An individual who finds himself in a group of criminals may turn out to be a criminal just because the individual want to be accepted in the group. Many people have found themselves in trouble after many years just because they have taken most of their years doing what they don’t love (Kostick, 2008). For, instance a child may want to be a singer but the parents would force the child may be to study medicine or something different. The child may therefore do something or be in a career that is not interesting. At the end, the child may not love the career and therefore perform poorly in the career (Waack, 2007).

People are just afraid to be different and this hinders them from getting the best out of worse situations. In some situations, many people may not want to take risk in some situations because they always want to remain relevant. For instance, a nurse may sometimes not consider an emergency situation of an ordinary man if may be there are other procedures that need to be followed first just because that is the way the hospital operates (Kaplan & Johnson, 2001). This clearly shows that conformity can even cost an individual’s life if not well taken care of. Why should an organization or a nation be corrupt but no one can stand up and condemn such kind of vise because it is done by almost everyone. It is therefore apparent that conformity is very dangerous and can hinder or catapult someone to do unwanted things.


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Kaplan, H. B., & Johnson, R. J. (2001). Social Deviance: Testing a General Theory. New York, NY [U.A.: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

Kelman, H. C. (1958). Compliance, Identification, and Internalization: Three Processes of Attitude Change. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2, 51–60.

Kostick, Kristin Marie. (2008). Buying Into Culture: An Exploration Of The Effects Of Cultural Conformity On The Island Of Mauritius. Connecticut: DigitalCommons@UConn.

Levin, C., Carney, J. E., & Barrett-Graves, D. (2003). Elizabeth I: Always Her Own Free Woman. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Mann, L (1969). Social Psychology. New York: Wiley.

Mcleod, S. A. (2007). What Is Conformity? – Simply Psychology. Retrieved From Http://Www.Simplypsychology.Org/Conformity.Html

Shami, J. (2003). John Donne and Conformity in Crisis In The Late Jacobean Pulpit. Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer.

Sunstein, C. R. (2003). Why Societies Need Dissent. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Waack, B. (2007). Post Event Misinformation Effect, Source Strength, and Eyewitness Memory Conformity. Laramie, Wyo: University Of Wyoming.

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