‘An individual’s behaviour may be influenced by a group’. Discuss this statement with reference to group theory. Being a part of a group can significantly influence the behaviour of an individual. The way people behave being alone can be totally different from the way he or she behaves being a member of a group. Often people tend to “stifle their own preferences in favour of the group’s code of behaviour” or conform to the particular group environment (Mullins, 2005, p.336). To explain the phenomena there are several group theories. To begin with, according to the Social exchange theory, the main purpose for people to enter into relationships with other individuals is a wish to obtain some benefits from them.This means that both sides are expecting to get several rewards from one another and to make sure that they will continue to receive these benefits, each side has to incur some costs all the time (Rollinson, 2005). On this basis, groups are able to control the behaviour of their members. What is more, individuals are highly dependent on group norms and values, which mean set of behavioural rules or standards established to regulate how group members will behave (Wallace, 1990). Usually people conform to group norms and behave more predictably which makes it easier for group members to trust and contact with one another (Robbins, 2005). Several experiments have been conducted to show how significantly human’s behaviour can change by the consensus of opinion around them. In the Asch experiment (1951) the groups of people were asked a question about which of the offered lines most truly matched the length of line “A”. The sense was that only 1 person in the group was a true subject, others were instructed to give incorrect answers. In these circumstances the majority of true subjects eventually agreed with the incorrect groups’ judgement (Shuttleworth, 2008). So that the experiment showed that group members tend to conform even if it means to agree to the...
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Shuttleworth, M. (2008). Asch Experiment.Available from: http://www.experiment-resources.com/asch-experiment.html [Accessed on 10th November 2011]
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