Review research concerning the relationship between culture and conformity. that is creating the conformity are also more likely to conform to group norms. Another study examined levels of conformity across age groups; it was predicted by participating such as new friendships, relationships, and greater popularity. In a study on cooperation in sports teams, it was found that the perception of. Oxytocin Conditions Intergroup Relations. Through Upregulated In-Group Empathy,. Cooperation, Conformity, and Defense. Carsten K.W. De.
However, despite our imaginations and wishful thinking, the majority of human beings comply with some set of societal rules most of the time. Cars stop at red traffic lights; children and adults attend school and go to work; policemen are paid to protect our communities. These are examples of conformity for obvious reasons; without compliance with certain rules of society, the entire structure would break down.
Why, though, do individuals give in to less important reasons to conform? Why do college students play drinking games and elementary school children shun the outcast child? Correctness Simply put, individuals strive to be accurate and correct in their judgments and observations; they often rely on social cues around them to aid in interpreting a given situation. An important study examined how an individual's motivation to be accurate was influenced by the social pressure created by a group of inaccurate individuals.
It was observed that when a task of low difficulty a task with an obvious solution was presented to a subject, the subject's motivation to perform the task correctly lessened the impact of social pressure created by a group who answered the task incorrectly. In other words, even though everyone else answered differently, the subject knew the correct answer to the task with confidence and therefore felt less pressure to agree with the incorrect group.
However, when the difficulty of the task was increased considerably, the subject looked to the group for cues on how to answer. Again, the group answered incorrectly on purpose; it appears that when we are unsure of how to perform a task or how to behave, we may take comfort in agreeing with a large number of other people.
In a second study, confidence of the group was manipulated; the individual was again given a difficult task where the group answered incorrectly. This time, the group expressed very low or no confidence in their answer to the task.
It was observed that the group's lack of confidence had no significant effect on the individual subject's reliance on the group for social cues. Another study examined levels of conformity across age groups; it was predicted that older adults would feel less impact from social pressure than would young adults. Subjects were asked to judge geometric shapes an unemotional stimulus and facial expressions an emotional stimulus by providing them with labels from a set given to them such as circle or square for the shapes, and anger or fear for the facial expressions.
The question addressed by the researchers was whether or not the two age groups would be affected by surrounding social pressure when asked to judge the stimulus. The hypothesis was confirmed; older adults showed less reliance on social pressure to make their judgments.
It would appear that as individuals age, they gain a better sense of judgment and independence, which is augmented by their growing experience Pasupathi, In the case of this study, both age groups were concerned with being correct, but the younger group seemed to rely more on each other when making decisions.
It is clear from these experiments that people are very concerned with being correct, leading to conformity across many situations. Social Acceptance There have been numerous studies that illustrate the ways in which human beings strive to be accepted as part of--or at least avoid being rejected by--a social group.
One such study was conducted to examine multiple reasons that college students engage in the risky behavior of playing drinking games. It was hypothesized that college students often engage in these drinking games because of an anticipated outcome, or rather, an outcome that some individuals intend to induce by participating such as new friendships, relationships, and greater popularity.
Another fascinating study examined the human fear of rejection; it was predicted that when people were asked to express their opinion on a particular topic, those who perceived themselves as holding the minority opinion would be slower to express that opinion than would the people who perceived themselves as holding the majority opinion.
Not only was this prediction found to be true, but as the perceived size of the minority group decreased, the minority individual expressed even more hesitancy in the expression of their opinion.
Interestingly, this slow response did not appear to be affected by the strength of the attitude being expressed nor the knowledge that the subject would have to make their opinion publicly known. It appears that when people feel they belong to the minority of a group they become reluctant to express their own opinions because they can foresee negative consequences of not fitting in with the majority.
This demonstrates how social influence can be a powerful force affecting the expression of opinions Bassili, An interesting study was conducted to measure peoples' reactions to deviant behavior and how these reactions contributed to the maintenance of culture stereotypes. Participants were set up to lose a competition with either a "typical" or an "atypical" man or woman. In this particular study, gender deviance was the measure of typicality; if males and females behaved in accordance with what was expected of their gender and were therefore considered "typical", researchers believed there would be relatively little backlash from the loser subject.
For instance, if a male subject lost a computer game to a female, the female would be viewed as having behaved "atypically" for her gender, and would receive greater backlash from the male subject than if he had lost to another male. Participants were then given the opportunity to thwart these individuals so that they would be unsuccessful in future competitions.
It was found that people were more willing to undermine the atypical individuals, an action ultimately resulting in the increased self-esteem of the subjects; this behavior seems to imply psychological rewards for punishing deviant behavior. People want to preserve social order; the consequences of atypical behavior are unfavorable, so we conform--and are rewarded--for doing so.
Another study conducted on the influences of social pressure on acceptance or rejection was a study in which it was hypothesized that perception of increased social pressure would weaken the connection between a person's attitude and their resulting behavior. It was found that under conditions of no social pressure from a surrounding group, participants' attitudes appeared to be fairly good predictors of their behavior.
However, as perceived social pressure was raised, it was found that attitudes were less able to predict behavior accurately. For instance, if a subject had no objections to smoking cigarettes, in the absence of any social pressure, the subject would smoke. From these four experiments, it is reasonable to conclude that many times we choose to conform because--whether consciously or subconsciously--we all desire to fit in somewhere, with someone.
Group Goals Another reason for conforming would appear to be the desire to accomplish group goals, which has been illustrated in several studies.
Are there many, few, or none? Are they clearly defined or difficult to distinguish? In other words, what situational factors enter into the picture, both as to the physical setting and the other people involved? When studied in the context of these questions, conform- -ing or nonconforming behavior can be taken as an index of the degree of stability or the extent of change in the human relationships of a given setting and specifies whether stability or change occurs primarily as a consequence of coercion or primarily through the voluntary interaction of individuals.
Thus viewed, conforming behavior and nonconforming behavior can serve as a basis of evaluating the trends in human relationships: These are among the basic problems for any human group.
They are all the more vital in this modern shrinking world. Whether we like it or not, peoples and groupings are being brought into closer functional relationships. Scarcely a group is left which is contained within itself as a closed system.
What a particular group is doing and where it is headed have wide impacts on other peoples. The implication of this enlarging interdependence of peoples is rather obvious, namely a normative system which transcends restrictive, monopolistic loyalties and conformities still surviving from relatively more closed group patterns of previous periods.
Apart from the questions just raised, that is, questions of the referents of conforming behavior, of the relative importance of the area of behavior, of the integrated or conflicting character of the normative bases of the behavior in question, of how conformity is brought about, conforming and nonconforming behavior cannot be studied as a scientific problem.
Neglect of one or the other issues raised here has resulted in a spate of literature in recent years by social psychologists, social scientists, and essayists, which at its best is healthy social critique and at its worst boils down to a romantic protest and a cry for heroes.
We even read discussions of whether man is by nature a conformist, a submissive prey of social winds and tides, or whether by nature lie is a seeker of truth, hence required by -his own nature to be independent.
Such formulations are reminiscent of the old controversies over human nature by instinct theorists of whether man is altruistic or selfish, cooperative or competitive, acquisitive or sharing. Now the argument seems to be transferred to the cognitive sphere. By implication, those who would define "human nature" as basically conformist or as basically independent praise one kind of behavior and damn the other. Yet by formulating the problem in this dichotomous form in the abstract, conforming behavior or deviating behavior cannot be evaluated in a consistent fashion.
Taking a stand as an apologist of conformity can amount to the praise of blind subservience. On the other hand, singing the praise of nonconformity apart from evaluation of the norm or value to which it is related may lead to an absurd dilemma. Let's just cite a few cases of nonconforming behavior, such as driving down the middle of the road, monopolizing a conversation, deliberate plagiarism, or stealing.
Of course, those who see virtue in nonconformity in its own right would protest these crass examples. For praise of nonconformity is made of righteous nonconformity. This is exactly the point.
Nonconformity or conformity cannot be evaluated in its own right apart from its referent, namely the normative basis of the behavior in question. Normative Process in the Laboratory I shall first consider the formation of the normative process as studied in the psychological laboratory, with special reference to variations in results owing to the kind of controlled stimulus setup presented to the subjects. The study of norm formation in the laboratory has been undertaken through producing a characteristic mode of behavior relative to the aspect of the stimulus situation experimentally introduced.
This production embodies the bare essential of norm-regulated behavior. If the stimulus arrangement provided by the experimenter is objectively well graded or has compelling anchorages, the ensuing uniformity of behavior relative to it is determined by these salient features of the stimulus conditions.
As a result of repeated encounters with them, characteristic modes of behavior come into close fit with the stimulus properties. Tresselt and Volkmann clearly demonstrated the principle in their study dealing with the production of uniform opinion by nonsocial stimulation.
These authors formulated the principle in question as follows: When stimuli are presented serially over a period of tune, the range representing categories of behavioral uniformity to particular items is appropriate evidence for inferring the formation of a psychophysical scale. The study of stimulus relationships affecting the formation and functioning of psychophysical scales cannot occupy our attention further at this time.
It has been carried to a rather sophisticated level in recent years through the efforts of such contributors as GrahamHelsonJohnsonStevensVolkmannand others. For the present discussion it is sufficient to emphasize that the normative process can be determined primarily by the range and salient anchorages of the stimuli to which individuals are exposed repeatedly.
If so, the rapid shift in psychophysical scales following the introduction of new stimulus values may be pertinent to understanding the relatively faster assimilation of new technological items as compared with new social concepts. This refers, of course, to the well-known empirical facts formulated by sociologists and anthropologists as the "cultural lag.
Mean ratings of moderately undesirable behavior items. Drawing based on data from Cohen . Of course, weights, lines, and sounds do not have an exclusive copyright on compelling stimulus characteristics. Stimuli with social relevance, including verbal statements, may have such compelling properties as well. In his study on stimulus conditions as factors in social change, Cohen at the University of Oklahoma studied changes in norms as a function of alteration in the range of social stimulation faced by the subjects.
By scaling statements of undesirable behavior of the kind used earlier by McGarveyCohen selected moderately undesirable acts, such as "fishing without a license. Exposed to the restricted range of items, control and experimental pairs rated them similarly see Figure 5. In the second experimental presentation, very undesirable behaviors, such as "kidnapping a baby for ransom," were included. The differences between the experimental and control subjects were maintained in the third session when individuals rated the behaviors alone, indicating a normative process primarily determined by the exposure of interacting individuals to specified ranges of stimulus items, It is in this sense that conformity is related to the formation of psychophysical scales.
Laboratory Studies Now let's turn to laboratory studies on the formation of psychosocial scales: Features of man's relationships with man become most salient as determinants of his conformities precisely when the stimulus situation they face together is highly fluid and provides various alternatives.
This observation has been made time and again by social scientists. I was first impressed with it upon reading Durkheim's accounts of the formation of representations collectives in out-of-ordinary interaction situations and the accounts of Chicago sociologists-notably Clifford Shaw, Thrasher, and Zorbaughof small group functioning in interstitial areas of large cities.
Even in the midst of "social disorganization," in the sociological sense of that term, an orderliness prevails in the social life of these small groups.
How does the normative process take shape under such conditions? How do new standards of conduct arise in out-of-ordinary situations, times of crisis and the breakdown of established conformities? These were among the questions that led to the laboratory norm-formation experiments which utilize the autokinetic setup as a fluid stimulus in the dimension in question amenable to various alternative modes of behavior Sherif, ; The problem was conceived in terms of stabilization of behavior over a period of time, and not as a question of whether an individual is susceptible to suggestion in this or that particular round of judgment.
Contrary to Durkheim's view, even when the individual is alone and not interacting with others, his psychological functioning becomes organized and exhibits emergent properties. This was the finding of the individual sessions. As some of you know, after the individual faces such a situation repeatedly, his behavior stabilizes within a characteristic range and around a modal point with reduced variability.
When individuals face the autokinetic setup together, over a period of time a convergence of the individual behaviors occurs, resulting in similarities not initially present. But the norm that emerges during interaction is not an average of the individual norms. Nor is it necessarily identical with the initial behavior of one or the other individual, although a large prestige or status differential may almost produce this result.
To specify the normative outcome further, the relationships of individuals in a particular interaction process have to be delineated.
However, once formed, the convergent behavior is not dependent upon the immediate Presence of other individuals. In subsequent sessions when the individual was alone, behavior was still regulated by the normative process.
It was suggested that when the individual changes his verbal reports in the presence of another person making somewhat different judgments, he is not really seeing the stimulus any differently, hut is simply changing his behavior in order to avoid disapproval and appear agreeable.
Certainly this does happen in some situations. A recent experiment by W. Hood and the writer was designed to investigate whether or not behavior in the highly unstructured autokinetic situation represented such public compliance.
Procedures were planned to eliminate suspicion that the experiment had anything to do with social influence and to remove the immediate presence of another person or the sound of his voice at the time judgment was rendered. The subject simply overheard another person making 20 judgments while waiting his turn to make estimates by himself.
Conformity and Group Mentality: Why We Comply
One sample overheard judgments ranging from 1 to 5 inches and another sample overheard reports ranging from 6 to 10 inches. Later, when asked what extent of movement they had usually seen, the subjects' estimates did not differ sig- -nificantly from their own median judgments in the situation.
We may conclude, I believe, that in this situation, individuals "call them as they see them" and they see them as influenced by judgments previously overheard. There is no evidence of a discrepancy between judgment and verbal report.
Can we say, then, that in highly fluid situations, the relationships among individuals determine behavior altogether, and that the "sky is the limit" as far as the extent of social influence that can be achieved? Harvey, -the subject-to-light distance, exposure time, intensity of the light, and other stimulus arrangements set rather definite limits upon the extent of movement perceived.
If another person's judgments exceed these limits too far, they are unlikely to exert any determining role at all. Whittaker showed this at the University of Oklahoma by having planted subjects make judgments which exceeded the individual's largest estimate made previously when he was alone. For different samples, the "plant" made judgments ranging upward from magnitudes I inch larger, twice, eight, or twelve times larger than the maximum estimate the individual had given when alone.
It may be seen that the partner's judgments had a significant effect when they exceeded the previous maximum estimate by I inch and upward, that the effect decreased when his judgments were twice as great, and that no significant effect was found when the partner's judgments were eight or twelve times as large. These latter changes do not differ significantly from those for the control group, which simply judged alone a second time. Analysis in terms of frequency of judgments exceeding the individual's initial range when alone leads to the same conclusion.
We conclude "the sky is not the limit" in the effectiveness of attempted influence even in a highly unstructured situation. Furthermore, once a psychosocial scale has been established, the experimenter cannot play around indefinitely, Figure 5. Mean difference scores for judgments alone and with "plant.
This is in some contrast to laboratory findings on psychophysical scales, which reveal strikingly quick adaptations to changes in the stimulus values presented. The successive introduction of conflicting social anchorages produces breakdowns of a psychosocial scale, as Norman Walter's experiment at the University of Oklahoma shows. Walter was interested in what would happen to an established psychosocial scale for judging autokinetic movement when conflicting reports from equally good sources were presented successively.
A few days after the individual established a characteristic range and mode of behavior alone, he was informed casually of the performance of students at a university with high prestige in his eyes. The figure given was actually either the 90th or l0th percentile of his own previous estimates.
The result was a significant shift toward the figure introduced, with greatly reduced variability, even a greater reduction than for control subjects whose variability decreased regularly, during four sessions on different days without procedural changes.
At a third session 3 or 4 days later, a second "data report' opposite in direction to the first was given experimental subjects, this one from another institution of about equal prestige in his eyes. The typical result was a shift in behavior back to the region of the initial norm established when alone, but with increased variability.
Finally at a fourth session, the experimenter discredited both reports by saying the results were suspected of error. The result was further marked increase in variability such that a breakdown in the normative process ensued.
The effect of systematically reducing the number of anchorages available in the stimulus arrangement is to increase the probability that characteristic behaviors developing as individuals face the situation repeatedly will be significantly influenced be relationships among the individuals.
This generalization is supported by the findings of various studies. His stimulus setups represented three gradations of stimulus structure. Judgments were obtained from individuals alone, then in pairs composed either of good friends or initially neutral persons. In the situation with the most stable anchorages available in the stimulus setup, neither friends nor neutral individuals affected cacti other's behavior significantly.
But in the least structured situation, the relationship among the individuals as friends or as initially neutral decidedly affected the normative process. The intermediate situation produced results intermediate between these two. Limitations of Laboratory Confines for Valid Research Strategy The general conclusion to be drawn is that the choice of the stimulus setup in the laboratory determines to a great extent how effective social factors introduced by the experimenter will be.
If the structural properties of the stimulus arrangements allow no alternatives, social factors introduced will play relatively little part in patterning characteristic behavior. If the stimulus conditions provide alternatives in his siring up of them, the likelihood of compliance to social influences introduced by the experimenter will increase.Dynamic Team-Building Exercise for Small Groups - Paper Holding
There are a good many combinations and gradations in between the stimulus situations representing these two extremes. If space permitted, we could draw upon experiments by AschCoffinLuchinsMausner ;and others to accentuate this conclusion. Frequently, the manipulator in public relations, the demagogue in public affairs enjoys a cynical glee at the compliance and malleability of people owing to the muddied atmosphere which the manipulator and demagogue themselves have helped manufacture.
It is a laudable antidote against such cynical views of human affairs to set up experiments in the laboratory with clear-cut stimulus arrangements and to present results showing that people are independent in their appraisals of the situation, that they do not blindly succumb to false social influences.
However, the demagogue himself seldom works with a situation as clear-cut as, say, matching a pencil to a yardstick, when he attempts manipulations.
He fishes in muddied waters, unless he feels that brute force is on his side. Perhaps the more effective way of counteracting such situations may be a concentration on analysis of conditions which render people susceptible to manipulative influences. Here one problem is what is presented at all, in the first place.
All the information, all the news fit to be presented in speech and mass communication media on vital matters which lie far beyond the individual's perceptual range come to him through the selectivity of people in control of the mass media. Especially in the contemporary scene, when man is faced with the problem of taking sides, making decisions, and expressing opinions on issues that relate to the use of atomic energy, foreign aid in distant lands, or the merits or demerits of a balanced budget, he gets most of his information through the mass media or from other persons who got it from the mass media.
The problem of selectivity in what is presented is at least as important as that of the presence or absence of alternatives once a situation requiring a decision is encountered. Furthermore, we suspect that in problems such as those just mentioned, man's ethnic, religious, and political ties may be weighty factors in determining which side is taken and which decision is made.
If so, it is a bit unrealistic to study conformity and noncomformity in an arbitrary situation within the confines of the traditional laboratory and to declare the generalizations reached on this basis as the verdict of psychological science. The study of the relative contribution of selected stimulus factors, in which almost infinitely fine gradations of structure are possible, and of selected social factors, which are also numerous, is an interesting psychological problem.
A good many psychologists could devote their whole lifetimes to it.
Conformity and Group Mentality
But no amount of concentration on all the variations between a sharply defined stimulus setup at one extreme and a highly fluid setup at the other, and no amount of technical refinement within the traditional laboratory setting will settle for us the important question of what are typical conditions conducive to the production of various modes of compliance and independence to social influences.
It is not yielding or being independent to discrete and transitory social influence that brought about concern over problems of conformity and independence in human affairs on the contemporary scene. That is why my brief report of experiments dwelt mainly upon studies of the normative process producing a characteristic attitude and mode of behavior to its referents over a span of time.
Studies of yielding and independence in relation to one-episode social influence are reminiscent of Allport's early studies of "social decrements," "social increments," and "social subvaluents" through what is referred to as the study of "pure social effect. The settings in which compliance and noncompliance become important problems cannot be determined within the confines of the traditional laboratory setting. Here we have to extend our research perspectives and put validity checks upon ourselves to catch the essential properties of actual situations conducive to various modes of compliance or independence.
In order to achieve this perspective, intimate familiarity must be achieved first with interaction settings in which an integral aspect is that of compliance or independence in behavior. And the proper focus for developing valid research strategies is upon the formation and functioning of actual groups in both their ingroup and intergroup interactions.
Conformity and Nonconformity in Group Relations This brings us to the central part of my presentation. The representative, the typical, problems of conformity and nonconformity can be more effectively singled out through due recognition of man's behavior relative to significant other persons.
Significant other persons stand in specifiable relationships to the individual-friendly or unfriendly, pulling together or pulling apart. Conforming or noncomforming behavior makes very little sense when it is not analyzed within a framework of these relationships. An observation will illustrate the point. Ina group of liberal students at a southwestern university were interested in persuading restaurants and soda fountains in the area to cater to Negro students.
The representative response of the shopkeepers was that they were willing to do so but each individual was concerned about what the other shopkeepers in the area would do. Our image of ourselves, our appraisals of our own practices, are not self-generating. They are not independent of our relatedness to people significant in our eyes, whether these significant people are seen as friend or foe.
This point will be specified further in connection with the properties of groups and ingroup and outgroup demarcations. It may not be too far off the mark to maintain that man's relation to significant others is, on the whole, in terms of his membership in various groups, such as family, club, fraternity, occupational outfit, religious or political outfit of some sort.
If the problem of conformity and independence is formulated within a framework of the individual's group setting, we are confronted head on with relationships in which the problem is an ever-present, integral aspect of interaction situations day in and day out, and not an incidental side issue.
If the problem is formulated within the concreteness of group relations, as these relations unfold in the actualities of social life, then conformity or noncomformity acquires a functional significance which is mutilated when either is considered apart from these relations, as by those who advocate a doctrine of an irreconcilable individual-group dichotomy. The social philosophy which puts issues in dichotomous either-or form, that is either for the individual or for the group, starts with the categorical assumption of individual and group as irreconcilable entities or antithetical polarities, as though demands and interests of one are necessarily in conflict with the interests of the other for all occasions.
Within the framework of man's ties with other men in lasting relationships, the conflicting or harmonious character of interests is itself a problem of study. With the vantage point thus gained, the external stimulus, whether it be sharply defined or fluid and uncertain, can be studied as it becomes relevant to relationships among individuals facing definable problem situations. Member's Experience of Conformity and Independence, and Properties of Groups A rounded analysis of the important problem of the individual's experience when he complies and when he is independent in specific instances of his group relations should start with specification of the essential properties of the group itself and the individual member's psychological relationship to these properties.
The concept "group" means all things to all people. Various concepts are offered in the academic market place today in the name of operational definitions. Not infrequently, the model and technique are derived from more established sciences without due concern for their appropriateness as tools for valid study of human group problems.
Unless the appropriateness of the proposed techniques and models is examined relative to the essential properties of actual groups, they are doomed to inefficacy in yielding valid results which can be generalized to handle the individual's behavior in his actual group setting. Prompted by this serious methodological concern with formulation of valid problems, we undertook an extensive survey of sociological field studies dealing with properties of small groups.
We turned to this literature for the simple reason that sociologists have priority in their concern. These surveys were a first step in our ongoing research program on formation and functioning of groups in both their ingroup and intergroup relations, in which the problem of conformity and deviation is an integral part.
They arc presented in various publications Sherif,Chs. These early surveys deliberately centered on informally or spontaneously formed small groups in order to start with group formations which are the creation of voluntary and free interaction among the individual members, and not the product of an organizational blueprint with rules and bylaws handed down by a governing body with outside authority.
From this survey, severa1 generalizations about the properties of small groups were extracted. Here we touch only on the minimum essentials. It is extracted that any small group functions as a delineated social unit.
Social Psychology: Third Edition by Eliot R. Smith and Diane M. Mackie
The members have a rather clear notion who is in, who is out, and also the marginal ones who did not quite make it at the time. It is extracted that the individuals who achieve accepted membership in groups can be ordered at a given time along a status hierarchy from the leader down to the position at the bottom.
This property of status differentiation need not be brought about through a formal vote or through formal codification on paper. The relative status position that a given individual member occupies is operationally inferred from the relative frequency of effective initiative that he achieves in starting and carrying out activities and projects in which the membership as a whole participates.
This result is confirmed by sociometric choices of the group members along dimensions of effective initiative as well as popularity. The status differentiation of the members constitutes the organization of the group and embodies the power aspects of relations within the group.
The psychological counterpart of the emergence of group structure or organization is revealed through reciprocal performance expectations of members, not through dictates of an outside authority, but on the basis of their experiences of the relative contributions of each member in previous efforts towards solution of common problems.
It can be said that the "groupness" of the group as a more or less lasting social unit may be best defined in terms of these essential properties, viz. More transitory social situations which lack these properties may be referred to as mere aggregates or togetherness situations. The set of values or norms of a group variously referred to as its code, standards, or rules has probably a more direct bearing on the problem of conformity and deviation.
There would be no persistent problem of conformity or deviation if there were no norms to conform to or deviate from: As long as there are values or norms shared, upheld, and cherished by group members, compliance to and deviation from- them are ever-present concerns.
In the literature, there is confusion in regard to the concept "group norm. The social attitude of the individual, determining characteristic and persistent modes of behavior to relevant stimuli, be they other persons, groups, activities, institutions, or symbols, is derived from those expected, or even ideal modes of behavior referred to as a group norm. A norm is a group property and, as such, is a sociological designation. The individual's social attitude is the consequence of internalization of the norm by the individual.
Social attitudes define the individual's relatedness to stimuli in question-to other persons, groups, symbols, etc. As such, social attitudes may be referred to as his ego-attitudes or, if you like, self-attitudes. The individual's experience of self-identity, his feelings of stability securityhis strivings toward expected and ideal goals consist in large part of ego-attitudes derived from his membership character in given groups during his life history.
This being the case, norms are not rules or standards of behavior devoid of motivational and emotional warmth. Social attitudes formed relative to group norms define a substantial part of the individual's goal-directed behavior, which is the earmark of any motivational state. The motivational-emotional character of norm-regulated behavior is not a mystery if we consider the rise and stabilization of norms in spontaneously formed groups.
Small groups arising on an informal basis in actual life are outcomes of interaction among individuals with motives perceived as common, be they common deprivations and frustrations such as those experienced by youngsters in slum areas-or desires for social distinction and exclusiveness with appropriate facilities and prestige symbols-such as those characteristic of clubs mushrooming in residential extensions of large cities like Los Angeles, Houston, and Chicago.
As anyone familiar with the history of labor organizations in this country knows, it was the common urge for mutual protection and improvement of working and wage conditions which prompted the banding together of laborers in the latter half of the 19th century, at first secretly and then in public forms which foreshadowed the modern labor unions.
The norms cherished as almost sacred and upheld most tenaciously in word and deed by labor organizations to this very day are those related to the motivational issues that brought the early workers together-collective bargaining, the right to strike, seniority rights, the closed shop, minimum wage, and so on. The motivational bases of such norms are readily seen when one of the members deviates from the hard-won standards. Not just a few administrators, but the rank and file have coined labels and developed corrective measures for deviations they consider as selling out their interests.
A similar analysis of motivational bases in the rise and functioning of norms can be applied to management and business organizations. In short, norms arise and are stabilized relative to motivationally important relationships and activities.
Serious issues of conformity and noncomformity arise relative to norms pertaining to matters of consequence to the group, its existence, its perpetuation, its solidarity and its effective functioning toward central interests and goals. Therefore, it is somewhat unrealistic to dwell upon cases of conformity or nonconformity in matters considered peripheral to the scheme of things by the group in question, such as the hobbies engaged in by members privately.
This question of the relative importance of the behavior area was one of those which opened this presentation. In this connection, it is essential that the investigator recognize that the importance of a norm in the scheme of a particular group may or may not correspond to the importance and seriousness of the issue in question in determining the course of human relations in a larger sense. For example, in this country until recently, many organizations, including labor, considered political matters as the politician's realm.
Latitude of Acceptable Behavior Defined by Norm Now we turn to discussion of a concept which will provide us with a baseline for classifying given behavior as conforming or deviating and for evaluating unique personal variations of individuals in this respect. Norm-regulated behavior cannot be represented as a single point. As long as behavior falls within bounds defined by this range, it will not call for correctives applied to cases of deviation Jackson, o.
Behavior outside the limits is viewed as objectionable by other members and will arouse spontaneous correctives from the membership, even without deliberate formal action. In our present ongoing research on naturally formed groups in settings differentiated as to social rank in several southwestern cities, we find that an important difference between groups distinguished as to their solidarity is the extent to which the membership actively participates in correctives for deviating behavior Sherif, ; Sherif K - Sherif, o.
Solidarity is measured by members' behaviors when the leader is present and absent, by their secrecy and exclusiveness relative to outsiders, by relative coordination of role performance in the face of mildly threatening situations. The group with greater solidarity by these measures is also the group whose members react to a man when a member deviates from an important norm. Of course, the usual routines of social life run within the bounds of acceptable behavior.