Sunday, May 1, 2011

Group Conformity 

Conformity refers to the change in beliefs and actions as  reaction to real or imagined group pressure. In order for a society to function, its members develop norms, or informal rules that govern their behaviour. If such a system of agreement and rules did not evolve, choas would result. Imagine the confusion if a simple norm such as sitting down to attend class did not exist?

The reason for conformity is not an automatic process, and many factors contribute to the likelihood that consumers will pattern their behaviours after others. Among the factors that affect the likelihood of conformity are as follows:

Cultural pressures- different cultures encourage conformity to a greater or lesser degree.
Fear of deviance- The individual may have reasons to believe that the group will apply sanctions to punish non-conforming behaviours. 
Commitment- The more people are dedicated to a group of values and their membership in it, the more motivated they are to do what the group wants. 
Group unanimity size- As groups gain in power, compliance increases. It is often harder to resist the demands of a large number of people than just a few, and this difficulty is compounded when the group members are perceived to know what they are thinking.
Susceptibility to interpersonal influence- This trait refers to an individual's need to have others think highly of them. 

Opinion Leadership

If you decide to buy a new stereo, you will most likely seek advice from a friend who knows a lot about sound-systems. This friend may own a sophisticated system, or they may subscribe to specialized magazines such as stereo review and spend free time browsing through electronics stores. On the other hand, you may have a friends who has a reputation of being stylish and who spends their free time reading fashion and life style magazines and shopping at trendy boutiques. While you might not bring up your stereo problem with them, you may take them with you to shop for a new wardrobe.  
Everyone knows people who are knowledgeable about products and whose advice is taken seriously by others. These individauls are opinion leaders. An opinion leader is a person who is frequently able to influence others' attitude or behaviours. Some people's recommendations carry more weight than others.

Peer Pressure 
When you were a little child, your parents usually choose your friends, putting you in playgroups or arranging playdates with certain children they know and liked. Now that you're older, you decide who you want for friends and what groups you spend time with.
Your friends and peers are people of your own age or people close to you who have experiences and interests similar to yours. You and your friends make dozens of decisions every day, and you influence each other's choices and behaviors. This is often positive, it is human nature to listen to and learn from other people your age group.
As you become more independent, your peers naturally play a greater role in your life. As school and other activities take you away from home, you may spend more time with peers than you do with your parents and siblings. You'll probably develop close friendships with some of your peers, and you may feel so connected to them that they are like an extended family.

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