Obedience & Conformity: Rules, Beliefs & Behaviour - Essay Sample

Paper Type: 
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1850 Words
Date:  2023-06-09


The conformity and obedience theory describes the relationship between adhering to a set of rules and the consequences arising from such compliance (Burger, 2020). The change in belief or behavior of someone to agree with others refers to conformity. Obedience on the other hand is defined as an act of behaving in compliance with a direct command or order. Both obedience and conformity are societal behaviors that are subjective to be influenced by the people around a person and defines the conduct of a person in social environments. A person may conform to a particular belief or act for several reasons, either avoid appearing stupid in front of others, to fit in, or to be liked. Unlike conformity, Obedience differs in that it is a response in behavior to commands or order or from an individual usually in power, such as an instructor in a police force or a tutor or parent. Avoiding unpleasant consequences or the fear of being punished are the main reasons a person may be likely to be obedient (Burger, 2020). Depending on the individuals involved and the situations, obedience and conformity can have negative or positive impacts on the life of a person. Understanding the Conformity and Obedience theory is essential because requests, orders, and pleas are made daily, and the repercussions of not complying with them, or choosing to comply with them may be lifetime decisions (Recuber, 2015). Hitler used the conformity and obedience theory to drive an entire nation to participate in widespread genocide.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

One of the conformity aspects a person may possess is the characteristic tendency to mimic other people's behaviors. Conformity can also be defined as the act of following the prevalent wave, maybe to be admired, trying to stay correct, or trying to fit into the group providing in. Although when a person is imitating another person may not be aware of it, they may often imitate talk speed, language, body posture, gestures, and other people's or group behaviors they are interacting with (Burger, 2020). This imitation promotes people's interactions to run more efficiently and escalates the association in society. Apart from the natural affinity to mimic other people, other key motives for conformity are notable. To begin with, the normative impact.

If a person is concerned about what other people within a group think of them and opts to go along with the groups' views, that is said to be a normative influence operating on that person. An individual will dress or listen to music likely to suggest that the particular individuals are afraid of being criticized by their peers. An individual conforms to evade the dismay of being socially rejected and be part of a group (Recuber, 2015). A person may adjust as a result of the impact involving the absence of others or the pressure arising from conventions or social rules. These aspects may enforce a kind of social or group pressure to a person's life. Fitting in is also advantageous in several ways.

The other basis on why more people are adhering to a crowd they belong to is that society is at times information source. This is referred to as influence as a result of information. For example, if the community supposes that litter is put in the appropriate containers, tip restaurant waiters, and speak in a low ton. At the same time, in libraries, it is expected that most people will behave that way. There is an increase in conformity, with adults less prone to adhering to societal expectations than teenagers. When people are sure that their colleagues are not so much into their responses, they conform less often (Dambrun et al., 2014). However, obtaining positive information norms is not always easy, indicating that people are at times misled by relying on unsound criteria when determining how to react.

Although a person may be swayed by those nearby in a more significant way than the person recognizes, whether that person conforms to the rules is up to them. Occasionally people are influenced by more powerful persons to act in a manner they wouldn't have wished to. Obedience influences the decision a person makes; it is merely how a person responds when ordered or commanded by a person in a higher authority. At most times, it is good to be obedient. Obeying people like police officers, teachers, and parents is a good thing. Following directives from lifeguards, firefighters and judges are also important. Likewise, if soldiers stop following instructions from seniors, a failure in the military would be witnessed. There is also a negative aspect of being obedient. In the name of "following orders" or "just doing my job," a person can break laws and infringe moral values. More disturbing is that being obedient is mostly the nature of approximately a percentage of the most horrible human behaviors such as genocide, atrocities, and massacres (Burger, 2020).

According to Kelman's theory of social influence, the act of Compliance arises when one admits being influenced by an individual to avoid punishment or gain a reward (Burger, 2020). Because the induced behavior produces a desirable, the person believes its consequences are inherently beneficial and adopt it. Essentially, what the individual learns is to do or say the anticipated act in exceptional circumstances, irrespective of their private views. Especially from cultural orientation, political conviction, educational level, religion, and age mates, people may conform to feel safe. Many people who obey fear the outlook of being socially rejected.

In a research conducted by Milgram (1963, 1965, 1974), the idea of thousands of decent Germans to conform with the Nazi leaders' cruelty during the Hitler's regime is that in many times brutal guidelines are initiated by only one person (Dambrun et al., 2014). However, these massive cruel deeds can only be executed if a significant number of people conform to commands. Research on obedience and conformity indicates that people live in a social world where much of what the society does is reflected from the people an individual encounter.

Adolf Hitler: How Conformity and Obedience Was Used to Promote Mass Genocide

Between 1933 and 1945, Adolf Hitler used the German Nazi regime to initiate a prosecution of millions of people where homosexuals, dissidents, the intellectually disabled, Gypsies, and European Jews were murdered (Russell, 2009). Millions of people were killed. Whereas Hitler couldn't have killed all the people, nor a handful of them, implying that a large number of those killed whereas a result of blind obedience and influence. The Nazi Germans exterminated masses of people by beating, starving, shooting, and gassing them to death (Mandel, 2016). During this regime, ordinary German citizens from "all walks of life" played every level of execution, including direct participation, innovation, management, and instigation. Authority obedience was adequate to be blamed on the Holocaust culprits at all the execution stages.

Anti-Semitic beliefs by Germans concerning the Jews were the leading cause of the holocaust mass killings. The views were significant reasons for both Hitler's decisions to prosecute European Jews and also for the willingness of the perpetrators to brutalize and kill Jews. Antisemitism led to substantial numbers of decent and ordinary German citizens to butcher the Jews (Russell, 2009). Though the society seemed to be well cultured, educated, and sane, they implemented barbarism policies that resulted in violence and mistreatment of the Jews. Top echelon Nazis were complete racists who believed entirely in the "Aryan" race dominance. Many non-German and German scientists claimed that the Aryan were eugenically the best, and therefore believed allowing inferior groups to pollute their race was not a good thing (Russell, 2009).

Because of the possibility of increased professional advancement and social status, many German citizens were motivated to cooperate. Adolf Eichmann, for instance, left his job as a Vacuum Oil Company traveling salesman and successfully applied for a Security Service job. During the genocide of European Jewry, five million unarmed people of the Nazis were murdered (Mandel, 2016). The people were considered 'inferior people' or 'enemies of the German state' and therefore were not worthy of life according to Nazi logic. The Nazi group comprised of political opponents, Gypsies, Russians, Poles, and people with apparent genetic weakness or physical disabilities or mental problems (Mandel, 2016). However, no set of people was as ardently victimized or targeted for unappropriated humiliation and brutality by the Nazis as was the case for the Jews.

Hitler termed the Nazi extermination strategy towards the Jews as the 'the Final Solution' by making it formal in 1942 at a Conference referred to as Wannsee (Russell, 2009). This conference was the unfolding of the mass murder process. In 1941, special mobile killing units referred to as Einsatzgruppen were set up to be used for the shooting of the Jews in large grave numbers, which the Jews were forced to dig for themselves (Mandel, 2016). The Jews were also forced to enter into moveable killing vans that contained carbon monoxide gases into the closed van compartments where they would slowly suffocate inside the van compartments. German Order Police battalions were added to back the extermination force in 1942, where they were responsible for mass killings by shooting and deportation actions in Poland (Russell, 2009).

Jews were forced into freight trains that steered without water or food to death camps, which increased the efficiency of the annihilation process. On arriving, the Jews were then forced to strip, and cramming of hundreds of them at a time was done into showers. The Jews would then be gassed with prussic acid and burned in open pits, and later in crematoria furnaces. Thousands of the Jews were ushered into labor-death combination sites (Mandel, 2016). Unending brutality and harsh physical labor were subjected to those who were gassed, and after that, starved to death. Some Jews were killed in gruesome medical trials, others were hanged, and others tortured to death. Eventually, most of the Jews who endured the abominable conditions and selection for gas chambers were exterminated.

Hitler introduced anti-Semitic laws discriminating against the Jews in the regions he controlled. A section of the rules meant that children with Jewish origins could not have a bicycle, could not keep pets, or go to school. According to the Nazis, Jews were believed to be the problem that required to be eliminated. The other underlying factor behind the Holocaust is the Nazis spirit by themselves to enforce policies on Jews in other countries. The German army occupied half of Poland in 1939 (Mandel, 2016). Tens of thousands of Jews in Poland were forced out of their homes by German police and their repossessed property was given to ethnic German citizens. In the so-called Euthanasia, Nazi officials selected over 69,000 Germans in 1939 (Russell, 2009). They were institutionalized for disabilities or mental illness and were gassed to death.

Hitler put an end to the program in 1941, after the protests of prominent German religious leaders, though the disabled continued to be killed in secrecy (Mandel, 2016). By the year 1945, disabled people exceeding 275,000 from different countries in Europe had been exterminated (Russell, 2009). Hitler accused the killing of Jews on "International Jewry and its helpers" and insisted that German leaders and people would continue following the strict observance of racial laws and with fierce resistance against the universal poisoners of all people - directly referring to the Jews. Ordinary Germans conti...

Cite this page

Obedience & Conformity: Rules, Beliefs & Behaviour - Essay Sample. (2023, Jun 09). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/obedience-conformity-rules-beliefs-behaviour-essay-sample

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism