A few posts back I nearly caused my brain to explode while writing an article on group decision making in the respect that a phenomena called groupthink could be used as a tool for corporate spies. To read the article click here.
Today I would like get into another topic that works very well within the context of groupthink and that is conformity. Instead of banging out a 5 page read, I surfed YouTube to find something interesting. While I had no idea what to write today, a friend suggested I write about groups and how useful they are. I have a feeling this was in reference to the groups on miio.com but it got me thinking. To my friend Twechy, this probably isn’t what you were thinking, but thanks for planting the seed.
To relate to my article on groupthink, conformity plays a very large role in the decision making process. Again, if you would like an in depth view, here’s the article. To simply put it, the draw back to group decision making is conformity. People will go along with the majority leaders when trying to solve a problem, complete a task, or reach a goal. The members of the minority will go along even if it’s a decision they object to in order to keep from rocking the boat.
To try out conformity for yourself, there’s a little experiment that you can do and it involves elevators. If you’re daring here is what to do. Grab a friend or two and enter an elevator car. Make sure it’s empty. Once inside, turn 180 degrees so your back is facing the door. When someone new enters the elevator, see how long it takes for them to conform. Because of group pressure, the subject(s) should conform and stand similar to you and your friends. I know an experiment like this exists out there and I’m willing to guarantee it is published, but I currently cannot find the source to credit it. When I do, I’ll update this post.
Instead of reading, how about a couple of videos on conformity. First here is the Asch Conformity experiment.
Finally, here’s my absolute favorite experiment on conformity and obedience via a figure of authority. And I have to say this. Unfortunately this isn’t the original experiment. Penn State Univ. has claimed copyright on this very important psychology experiment. I am truly disheartened and extremely disappointed by the University. By the way they’re selling it for $330 at http://www.mediasales.psu.edu/pdf/milgram_new_release.pdf Way to go PSU. The original experiment took place in 1961, but this BBC version is a satisfactory recreation. In regards to the theme of this blog, Milgram’s experiment can show how an outsider can assume a position of authority within a company in order to extract information out of a target. Would you disobey a request from your CEO? Anyway, here’s the
Hope you enjoy and I apologize for the fit of nerd rage about Penn State.