Signature Assignment Directions: This assignment will require that you read the following vignette carefully and answer the questions at the end of the vignette by writing a complete, full essay response. You are allowed to use you book as a resource and a trustworthy, peer reviewed source (optional). Your written essay should be typed, the main body be two to three pages in length and written in PAP style/ format. You must have a cover page, the main body (essay) and a separate reference/s page. You will find it helpful to search for PAP guidelines in the
Internet. The Power of Groups Human life is entirely social. Our social ties and everyday face to face interactions with others are guided by common cultural norms and expectations, shared interpretations of reality, and the statuses and the roles assumed in our interactions. Social life then is guided and organized in patterned interactions with others that form groups. Social groups are “collections of people who interact regularly with one another and who are aware of their status as a group” (Creator & Haynes, 2013).
People in a group share common bonds and integration based on their similar interests, values, norms, and expectations. Social groups however do more than foster social integration and bonding. Groups exert great influence and power over individuals. Primary groups satisfy our emotional needs for belonging and fulfillment. Secondary groups are those whom we interact with more impersonally to carry out specific tasks. Both primary and secondary groups provide us standards by which we make self-evaluations and judge ourselves to called reference groups.
Sociologists Charles H. Cooley and George H. Mead believed social interactions with groups developed personality and the ‘self. Cooley’s (1964) concept of the “Looking Glass Self’ that proposes that a person’s self-image results from our interpretations of other people’s views of us. According to Cooley, humans are constantly shaping ideas about how others perceive and judge us, so that the resulting self-image-the way we view ourselves-is based on social interactions with others.
Another sociologist, Robert Morton further elaborated the influence of others with the concept of reference groups, referring to the tendency to valuate ourselves in relation to others so that reference groups serve as a standard for judging our attitudes and behaviors by our group associations (Chemicals & Giggliest, 2014). Groups promote a sense of loyalty and solidarity. Also, groups exert power and control over the actions of individual members through various means. Studies on conformity and obedience have shown how group members will feel the social pressure to follow or conform to the group consensus.
Irving Janis (1989) developed the term grouping to describe a arm of “uncritical thinking “that reinforces the group consensus. Solomon Cash (1957) in his classic experiments on conformity and peer pressure yielded surprising findings about the power of groups. Imagine yourself in a situation where you have signed up for a sociological experiment, you and seven participants arrive on the specified date and are seated in a table in a small room. The experimenter tells you that the study in which you are about to participate concerns visual judgments and begins to place two cards before you.
You and the participants are to choose the card which best matches the line in the other card. Several trials of this task with different cards are repeated and occasionally the other participants choose the wrong line in the card. How would you respond in this situation? What would you do? Explain how conformity works in a functional way, citing two examples. Also, explain how conformity could be harmful or dysfunctional, citing two examples of dysfunctional, harmful conformity in groups. Discuss the social dynamics. Discuss what your social responsibility in harmful conformity.