Group size: Asch found that group size influenced
whether subjects conformed. The bigger the group, the more people
conformed, up to a certain point. After group size reached a certain
limit, conformity didn’t increase any further.
Group unanimity: Asch also found that subjects
were much more likely to conform when a group agreed
unanimously. If even one other person in the group disagreed
with the group, a subject was much less likely to conform. This
was true even when the other dissenter disagreed with the
subject as well as the group.
Researchers have found that conformity also increases when:
- A person feels incompetent or insecure
- The person admires the group
- The group can see how the person behaves
Reasons for Conforming
People have many reasons for conforming:
- They want to be accepted by the group, or they fear rejection by
the group. In this case, the group is exerting normative social
- The group provides them with information. In this case, the group
is exerting informational social influence.
They want a material or social reward, such as a pay raise
- They admire the group and want to be like other group members.
Productivity in Groups
Research shows that productivity tends to decline when a group of people
are working on a task together. This happens for two reasons: insufficient
coordination and social loafing.
When many people work on a task, their efforts may not be sufficiently
coordinated. Several people may end up doing the same portion of the task,
and some portions of the task may be neglected.
Social loafing, which contributes to declines in the
productivity of a group, is the reduced effort people invest in a task when
they are working with other people. Diffusion of responsibility
contributes to social loafing. A person does not feel as responsible for
working on a task if several others are also present, since responsibility
is distributed among all those present.
Social loafing is particularly likely to happen in the following