Group influence is important in determining how individuals behave in a society or at workplace. Generally, a group consists of two or more individuals sharing a common goal, and is usually adaptable and capable of influencing each other, perform interdependent tasks and affect one another in a particular way. In a group, individuals regard each other as one and share collective influence. Research studies have indicated that such influences are guided by three important phenomena that are going to be explored in this essay and which include deindividuation, social loafing and social facilitation.
Individuals in a group situation get influenced to perform a task due to the presence of others. The influence of the presence of other individuals boosts the morale to improve their accuracy and speed of tackling issues (Nuechterlein, 2011). The critical dynamic of social facilitation is found in the groups’ interpersonal interaction and whereby an individual feels represented and confident. It also works well in heedful interrelating.
In this sense, in the presence of others, an individual in a group carries out tasks feeling the support from each member that creates confidence while maintaining an environment of mutual respect and trust (Mead, 1979). The mere presence of others causes an arousal which according to Zajonc (1965), a psychologist, enhances and energizes an individual’s ability to perform tasks. For instance, musicians, actors and athletes who perform in the presence of a supportive audience would get tense or exited and as a result get energized to carry out their task well.
However, there are those who can’t perform well in the presence of many others. These individuals may a feel faster heart rate, high blood pressure, tension, be unable to breathe and perspire more (Mead, 1979). In fact, during challenging tasks, the presence of others may illicit poor performance (Gherasim-Ardelean & Goras, 2011). For instance, an individual going to a piano recital for the first time and in the presence of entire extended family may lose the ability to perform well. Negative and positive effects are intensified by the interference caused by large crowds such that the pressure and distraction from that group makes it impossible for an individual to carry out automatic and well-learned behaviors (Mead, 1979).
Social loafing too plays an important role in getting tasks done by a group without putting much effort. Little contributions from each member of the group motivate an individual to perform tasks. This works wee in effectively accomplishing something that and individual working alone would have found hard to do (Nuechterlein, 2011). Additionally, the group in a working situation pulls their effort together to attain a common goal. Social facilitation researchers have found out that individuals in a group work less hard as they rely on group effort and thereby lack individual accountability. When team spirit exists in a group, goals are achieved through more effort and reward become significant (Mead, 1979).
Furthermore, social loafing and facilitation arouses people and enable them diffuse their responsibility and through this groups accomplish tremendous things due to the diminishing of normal inhibitions. However, social facilitation and social loafing combined may trigger deidividuation and this may have other startling results. Individuals tend to lose sense in the presence of others and cause destructive social explosions such as lynching, riots and acts of brutality (Mead, 1979).
Others may demonstrate impulsive self-gratification through thefts, orgies and group vandalism. Also, through group influence, individuals who have lost their senses and restraint may cause disruptions to normal activities due to excitement of something bigger than one’s self. Factors such as group size and physical anonymity play a role in arousing and causing distracting activities from groups such as dancing, clapping, chanting and group shouting.
Deindividuation disconnects behavior from attitude and causes self consciousness of individuals in a group to diminish (Mead, 1979). It replaces self-awareness and is triggered by a combination of high level social arousal and diffused responsibility. Individuals in this case take advantage of being physically anonymous, lose self-restraint and exhibit positive or negative response to an immediate situation. Researchers have identified that the interactions and opinions polarize the groups and influence their behavior in everyday situation and how they think.
In the society prejudice has become widespread among people seeking to purchase property, looking for love, employment, marriage and the overweight. Other areas of prejudice include race and gender discriminations (Bierce, 1911). When it comes to employmes stage, weight discrimination takes the center stage in the areas of discharge, discipline, compensations, promotion, placement and hiring (Nuechterlein, 2011).
Prejudice refers to the negative evaluation of an individual or group member. The attitude of a prejudiced person causes a behavior tendency towards another person disliked because of self or behavior (Gherasim-Ardelean & Goras, 2011). The behavior tendency is normally discriminatory and complex. The negative behavior of discrimination is caused by negative attitudes. However, there are some forms of discrimination that are not attached to prejudice such as racism, sexism and some other forms of oppression (Nuechterlein, 2011).
Prejudiced individuals can display negative attitudes towards a person or group member which can be automatic or implicit or conscious (Bierce, 1911). One of the most common forms of prejudice is racial prejudice. Research studies have indicated that it is mostly seen in the area of skin color. This is because other areas even though still dangerous, don’t bear much significance. For instance, every race in the world forms a minor group compared to another and so it would be not easy for one group to discriminate against another (Gherasim-Ardelean & Goras, 2011).
Similarly, due to migrations, individuals have intermingled and formed amiable relationships that have played down discriminations. Racial prejudice has changed over the years as witnessed by the way the blacks and whites share same aspirations and attitudes towards certain issues (Nuechterlein, 2011). For instance, seeking fair treatment for everybody and sharing learning institutions. In another area the blacks and whites have voted for a black candidate to be the president.
Prejudice can be subtle when it is hidden behind other motives. These motives can seem comfortable, similar and familiar with what people prefer but bias in behavior (Bierce, 1911). Researchers refer to such prejudice as modern prejudice or cultural racism. It appears to be fighting against discrimination by exaggerating its reactions through inflated praises and insufficient criticisms to isolated minority persons (Nuechterlein, 2011).
Gender prejudice is another form of prejudice common among people today. This is most commonly practiced against women and how the ought to behave. The belief of behavior are guided by norms which are descriptive, stereotypes and prescriptive.
Prejudice has been maintained in social situations in several ways. Prejudice can be driven by social factors that may include social inequalities displayed in prejudice due to unequal status, socialization, religion and institutional supports (Gherasim-Ardelean & Goras, 2011). Groups have justified their positions of privilege and their socioeconomic superiority to spread their prejudicial beliefs (Bierce, 1911). Social institutions, religious communities and families play a role in fostering, supporting or reducing prejudice.
Some of the motives for prejudice include frustrations, social identity, in-group bias and the need for belonging, status and self regard (Gherasim-Ardelean & Goras, 2011). These motives breed hostility towards a group or show favor to a person over others. It is important to note that prejudiced behaviors can be changed.
Bierce, A. (1911). Prejudice. The devils dictionary. 302-343.
Gherasim-Ardelean, S., & Goras, M. (2011). Stereotypes and Prejudices in HR Industry in Romania. Applied Medical Informatics, 28(1), 53-61. Web.
Mead, M. (1979). Group influence. Social influence. 361-298.
Nuechterlein, J. (2011). Race Matters. First Thing (210), 3-5. Retrieved from ProQuest Religion.