Social influence involves intentional and unintentional efforts to change people’s beliefs, as well as attitudes, or behaviour. It often operates through peripheral processing. Therefore, the target individual may be unaware of the influence of encompassing strategies as; indebtedness or reciprocity, commitment, social proof, liking and attractiveness, authority, as well as scarcity.
Social influence may take a wide variety of forms, including; obedience, conformity, persuasion, social loafing, social facilitation, deindividuation, observer effect, bystander effect, likewise pressure. The change in human behaviour to meet the demands of a social environment defines social influence in a nutshell. Social influence comprises three primary forms: conformity, compliance, as well as obedience.
To have a clear understanding of how social influences impact change and change adaptation; you will need to understand the distinction among these forms.
Psychologists have cited conformity as the most common form of social influence. It occurs when individuals alter their behaviours to gain the acceptance of a group; impress someone else, or gain a sense of belonging.
It refers to a change of behaviour because you are requested to do so. In a situation involving compliance, the individual or group that makes the request is not in a position of authority; thus, compliance with the request isn’t obligatory but may come on the hill of admiration
In situations involving obedience, the individual responds not to a request from a peer; but rather to order from someone in authority.
Kelman’s varieties of Social Influence
The central theme of Kelman social influence theory is that an individual’s attitudes, beliefs, and subsequent behaviours are influenced by others through three processes: compliance, identification, and internalization.
He was of the opinion that social influence brings about changes in attitude and actions and that changes may occur at different “levels”. This difference in the level of changes can be attributed to the differences in the processes through which individuals accept influence.
The three primary process according to Kelman’s theory;
This occurs when individuals accept influence and adopt the induced behaviour for rewards or, approval and avoid punishments or, disapproval. Hence, “the satisfaction derived from compliance is due to the social effect of accepting influence.”
This is when individuals adopt the induced behaviour to create; or maintain a desired and beneficial relationship with another person or a group. Hence, satisfaction occurs due to “the act of conforming.”
This is when individuals accept influence after perceiving the content of the induced behaviour is rewarding; in which the content indicates the opinions and actions of others. Individuals adopt the induced behaviour realizing that it is in-agreement with their value system. Therefore, the satisfaction from internalization occurs due to “the content of the new behaviour.”
Internalizing change is crucial to developing the right behaviour. You should adopt a behaviour or accept an influence because it is congruent to your value system; and not because you want to conform to the norms (even if they are immoral or unethical); or complaint to adopting induced behaviour.
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