• 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 influence.
  • 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 or votes.
  • 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.

Insufficient Coordination

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

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 circumstances:

Popular pages: Social Psychology