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Unit 4: Understanding discipline within the uniformed public services Assignment 2: Conformity, obedience and authority in the uniformed public services.

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Presentation on theme: "Unit 4: Understanding discipline within the uniformed public services Assignment 2: Conformity, obedience and authority in the uniformed public services."— Presentation transcript:

1 Unit 4: Understanding discipline within the uniformed public services Assignment 2: Conformity, obedience and authority in the uniformed public services

2 Grading Criteria UNIT 5 To achieve a pass, you must:To achieve a merit, you must: To achieve a distinction, you must: P3 explain what is meant by conformity and obedience, and how they are represented in the uniformed public services, including the factors that influence them P4 describe three research studies which explore conformity and obedience P5 describe four types of authority P6 explain the nature of authority in relation to the uniformed public services. M3 analyse how three research studies on conformity and obedience apply to the uniformed services M4 explain the importance of recognizing authority and the consequences of a lack of authority within the uniformed public services. D2 critically evaluate the positive and negative effects of blind obedience to authority.

3 Background Understanding Over the next few slides you will begin to understand the difference between conformity and obedience and the research studies exploring these. Task 1 In pairs you are to produce a 20 word maximum poster on conformity and obedience. This poster will be used to present to the rest of the class. Task 2 Using the notes from this PowerPoint and the internet you need to prepare for a ‘no notes’ presentation on one of the following research studies; Asch (1952) Hoffling (1966) Milgram ( ) Haney, Banks, Zimbardo (1973) Your presentation should be on what the research was about and what the results tell us. Now you should be able to complete Task 1 & 2 on the assignment brief.

4 INTRODUCTION Social psychology is different from sociology because it is concerned with individuals rather than studying whole groups, such as the family. This can be in various ways: you may imitate the behaviour of others, obey others,conform to the rules of behaviour of a group of other people or society may influence the way that you behave, for example the way in which you might bring up your children. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Society in general may influence you through its culture. Social psychology considers the ways in which other members of the species (conspecifics) affect and influence you.

5 INTRODUCTION Social psychology has been applied to many areas of society where people are of the utmost importance, such as education and health. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Sport has applied psychology to team-building exercises Industry has looked to psychology when deciding on the ideal candidate for a job or even when considering stress amongst employees. Social psychology contributes to a healthier and more ‘people- friendly’ society.

6 INTRODUCTION Let’s now begin to consider two areas of social influence that has an impact on people: SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Conformity and minority influence How do we change our behaviour to ‘fit in’ with other people?

7 Social influence is the effect that people have on each other. CONFORMITY What is conformity? An example of conformity Conformity is the tendency to behave in the same way as others in the group. It is a response to real or imaginary pressure to behave in a particular way. You choose to behave in a similar way to others in your society. You arrive at the post office. There is a queue of people. You join the end of the queue. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

8 Social influence is the effect that people have on each other. CONFORMITY What is conformity? An example of conformity Conformity is the tendency to behave in the same way as others in the group. It forms the norms* of behaviour in our society. You belong to a group and you are influenced by them in the way you respond to stimuli. You are invited to a wedding. You wear your best clothes. It would not be acceptable to others to turn up in torn jeans, an old t-shirt and trainers. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY *Norms are the rules by which the group lives to regulate behaviour

9 Social influence is the effect that people have on each other. CONFORMITY What is conformity? Kelman (1958) Conformity is the tendency to behave in the same way as others in the group. Conformity is the social influence we have on each other. Conformity can be real: the physical presence of other people or imaginary: the expected norms of your society. Kelman suggested that there are three types of conformity: Compliance Internalisation Identification SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

10 How do these three types of conformity break down? Compliance Internalisation Identification Change in behaviour without changing your opinions deep-down i.e. going along with the crowd You change your behaviour to identify with the group. Your personal opinion and behaviour change because the group’s and your opinions are shared. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY CONFORMITY

11 Social influence is the effect that people have on each other. Apparent non- conformity What is apparent non- conformity? An example of apparent non- conformity Conformity is the tendency to behave in the same way as others in the group. Apparent non- conformity occurs when an individual appears to reject the norms of the main group but does conform to the norms of another group. Dressing as a hippie or being part of a group, such as Hell’s Angels, is apparent non- conformity. This is not standard society but you are still part of a group. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY So what is apparent non-conformity?

12 Conformity tests Empirical studies Asch (1952) carried out an experimental situation where people were asked to judge the length of lines. Unknown to the subject, the rest of the group called out false judgements. Results showed that although these judgements were obviously wrong, subjects mostly conformed. Conformity may also be due to the fact that people want to be liked by others. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

13 Conformity tests Empirical studies Some experienced distortion of perception - where they really thought that their wrong answers were right. Others experienced a distortion of judgement - they did not think their answer was correct but they did go along with the majority view. Others did not want to experience ridicule and feel an outcast from the group so they went along with the majority view. Even people who did not conform said later that they felt pressure to conform. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

14 Conformity tests Empirical studies Conformity increases though if people in the group are considered of high status. Eye contact and glaring at the subject was also considered pressure for the subject to bring about conformity. Interestingly, similar experiments carried out by Asch showed that there is less pressure to conform if people are not face to face. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

15 Conformity tests Majority influence The subjects in the experiment were being observed to find out if prison guards’ behaviour was caused by the situation or the personality of the guards. 25 volunteers were carefully selected. Some participants played the role of guards; others were prisoners. The ‘prisoners’ were arrested and taken into detention with all the normal procedures, including having a manacle on one ankle. Haney, Banks and Zimbardo (1973) undertook a study of prisoners and their guards. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

16 Conformity tests Empirical studies As the experiment unfolded,the ‘guards’ became more aggressive; the ‘prisoners’ became more passive. Even when the participants were unaware that they were being watched, they played their roles. The prisoners began to show extreme stress; some had to be released early as they exhibited forms of depression. The whole experiment had to be halted early because of the effect on the participants. The ’guards’ were given military-style uniform, clubs, keys and whistles. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

17 Conformity tests Empirical studies The strength of social norms What did the experiment show? SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Reluctance to disobey Social influence and identification Compliance Loss of a sense of identity Learned helplessness - you learn to stop responding because your past responses were to no avail Dependency - the prisoners depended on the guards for everything and had no free choice

18 Conformity tests Criticisms It is also possible that because the situation was so artificial, the subjects took on the characteristics of their role that they might not have done in real life. These are called ‘demand characteristics’. There is also the possibility that participants want to please the experimenter so they do not react naturally but consider their reactions to fit in with what they anticipate the correct result should be. The experiments were all conducted with strangers; in real life people may behave differently if they know the people concerned. There was not the option to ‘do nothing’ which is there in real life. The experiment has been criticised on ethically grounds because of the stress caused to the participants. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

19 Majority Influence What is the majority? The majority Why do people yield to majority influence? The term ’majority’ refers to the greater number. Therefore they hope that if they share the views and behaviour of the majority, that must be correct. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Norms can be determined by a majority of people. People like to think that they are right in their behaviour and their opinions. People assume that the majority supply the correct information. Where there is ambiguity or choice, informational social influence takes place.

20 Majority Influence Normative social influence Individual differences Why do people yield to majority influence? People want to be accepted by social groups. Some people will conform more than others. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Normative social influence takes place when people want to conform to the group, particularly when with strangers. This is likely to bring about compliance, rather than internalisation. Some evidence has suggested that women may conform more than men, although this is not conclusive.

21 Minority Influence What is minority influence? Majority and minority influence Why do people yield to minority influence? Minority influence occurs when a number of people fewer than the majority hold different opinions. Moscovici (1980) claimed that majority influence may result in people changing their public behaviour but not their private views. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY The minority may be able to put forward arguments to change the opinions of the majority. He also stated that minority influence can change private opinion i.e. conversion.

22 Minority Influence Minority influence Why do people yield to minority influence? Minority influence can produce cognitive conflict. Moscovici led a laboratory experiment where subjects were shown blue-coloured slides. Two confederates consistently described the slides as green and invariably answered the first at each stage. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Minority influence can be the most important kind of influence because it changes opinions.

23 Minority Influence Minority influence Why do people yield to minority influence? The minority influenced opinion both publicly and privately, when participants gave their views in private. The criticism of this experiment is that the experiment is artificial and unlike real life so therefore may lack validity. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Minority influence was greater on private opinion.

24 Minority Influence Minority influence Why do people yield to minority influence? Moscovici found in his experiments that consistency was an important factor. Flexibility is another important factor in minority influence. If the person in the minority shows a degree of flexibility and shifts his viewpoint slightly, he is likely to be more effective. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY If a minority was opposing the majority viewpoint, the minority had to remain consistent and stay with their viewpoint to be effective in bringing about influence.

25 Minority Influence Minority influence Why do people yield to minority influence? A minority can bring about rethinking amongst the majority who may shift their position. So, to sum up, we could say that the following factors are important for minority influence: Relevance Conversion Flexibility Consistency SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY They tend to be particularly influential if their views are in line with current issues, rather than a topic that does not have an immediate social meaning for people.

26 Obedience to authority takes place in every society. OBEDIENCE TO AUTHORITY What is obedience? We are all instructed to do things with which we comply. We would drive on the wrong side on the road if instructed to do so by a police officer as he was clearing a traffic accident form one side of the road. Obedience takes place when you carry out an action that you are told to do but at the same time you don’t change your opinions. You would not drive away from the police officer and then believe that you should drive on the wrong side of the road permanently. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

27 Obedience usually involves doing something that one individual is telling you to do or that the law indicates that you should do. OBEDIENCE TO AUTHORITY Do we always obey? Obedience is different from conformity because conformity relies on you being shown an example of behaviour. The concerning issue with obedience is what should be the result if you are told to do something immoral or unethical? We would all like to think that faced with an immoral situation, we would refuse to obey. After all, we would not hurt people if told to do so by another individual. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

28 After the second world war and the horrors of the concentration camps were revealed, many people considered what they would have done if they had been in the situation of the guards in the camps. OBEDIENCE TO AUTHORITY Do we always obey? Most people felt that they would have been incapable of torturing and killing and would have just refused to carry out orders, even at the risk of being killed for disobeying. Milgram ( ) set up a series of experiments to test obedience. The results were not as people might have expected them to be. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

29 His study of ‘teachers’ and ‘learners’ where the teacher administered electric shocks whenever the learner made a mistake is now famous. OBEDIENCE TO AUTHORITY Do we always obey? With each mistake the voltage was increased. The ‘teacher’ was in fact the subject of the experiment; the ‘learner’ did not in fact receive any shocks. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY How far people would go in the experiment surprised social experts at the time. They thought that if the ‘learner’ protested, the ‘teacher’ would soon refuse to continue.

30 However, 63% of the subjects went to the highest limit of voltage, even though the ‘learner’ protested, shouted and appeared in pain. OBEDIENCE TO AUTHORITY Do we always obey? Distance appeared to play a role in the obedience levels. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY If the ‘learner’ was in close proximity or the ’teacher’ had to touch the learner, obedience was not great. In other words, if the situation is more removed from the ‘teacher’ physically, it appeared more impersonal.

31 Equally, if the experimenter was distant or absent from the room, the obedience levels dropped too. OBEDIENCE TO AUTHORITY Do we always obey? The location of the experiment seemed of some importance too. Obedience levels fell in a less prestigious building. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY The experiment has since been repeated across different culture groups and results vary considerable. Australians, for example, were the most likely to disobey the instructions. If other ’teachers’ were introduced to the situation, there was less obedience.

32 Hofling (1966) carried out an experiment which was perhaps closer to reality than the previous one that we have looked at. OBEDIENCE TO AUTHORITY Do we always obey? The nurses accepted the instruction over the telephone from a doctor that they did not know for a dose that was not safe. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY The nurses explained their behaviour by saying that the situation often arose and that doctors would be angry with them if they refused. 21 out of 22 obeyed. Nurses were told to give a patient a drug. However the circumstances were not under their normal code of behaviour.

33 Evaluating obedience research Milgam’s study was the subject of much criticism because psychologists felt that the test did not have validity. Validity equates to ’accuracy’. A valid test measures what it aimed to measure. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY It was also criticised on ethical grounds for deceiving the participants. Critics also claimed that demand characteristics had taken over and participants were playing the role that they thought was expected of them.

34 Evaluating obedience research Milgam’s response was that he thought that the participants were not playing a role but that they had believed the test to be reality. He believed that the test had experimental realism. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

35 Why do people obey? In most situations in our society, being obedient is healthy and is an apt response for the things that we are being told to do. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY In our environment, it is the norm to obey authority. However, we may obey and not realise that we are obeying before we have committed ourselves to many actions. Binding factors ensure that we continue. Milgram also put forward the theory that the participant in the experiment loses a sense of responsibility, as he becomes the ‘agent’ of the experimenter. The participant acquires demand characteristics and almost acts a role that he expects that the experimenter will want to see.

36 Why do people not obey? Sometimes people will resist obeying. This is known as independent behaviour. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY People tend to disobey when they have the possibility of disobeying with others rather than just on their own. Sometimes when people are being forced to conform in a situation where they are in the minority, they may choose to assert their individuality. Past experience may alter reactions and cause someone to rebel. Otherwise, it may be that some people are more independent than others and therefore have less desire to be approved of by the majority and are willing to resist obedience.


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