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Difference Between Conformity and Nonconformity

The wrong use of words in statements may completely alter the meanings as specific words are used to convey specific meanings. While most words may be used interchangeably, it is important to know the meaning to avoid altering the meaning or context of a statement. For instance, the terms conformity and nonconformity are antonyms. They hence show the opposite in the meaning of the other. 

What is a Conformity?

This is the act of matching behaviours, attitudes and beliefs to like-minded people, group norms or politics. In society, people find it easier to conform to rules, practices and beliefs in place as opposed to creating new ones. Although this occurs in the whole society or in small groups, it often results in social pressure or unconscious influences. 

Conformity arises from the need for security from a group of similar age, educational status, religion and culture, often referred to as groupthink. This often ignores the realistic appraisal of other societal and personal beliefs. Failure to conform to these societal pressure carries the risk of rejection. While it is mostly associated with the youth culture, it affects humans of all ages. 

According to Herbert Kelman, a Harvard psychologist, conformity has three major types. 

  • Compliance- This conforming to other people’s beliefs but holding on to one’s beliefs for the fear of being rejected
  • Identification- This is conforming to a respected person whereby a person derives motivation
  • Internalization- This is conforming both privately and publicly

What is Nonconformity?

This is a deviation from a standard, a specification or an exemption. To ensure the quality of a service or product, nonconformity is classified into a minor, major, serious or critical nonconformity. 

Common sources of nonconformities include lack of/ poor documentation, miscommunication, lack of motivation for the personnel, limited or lack of training, poor organizational systems and poor-quality equipment or materials. Nonconformity has become rampant in society. While people can benefit from nonconformity by standing true to their beliefs, organizations do not benefit from nonconformity to the set quality standards and safety guidelines, just to name a few. 

Similarities between Conformity and Nonconformity

  • Both are used in reference to behaviours, attitudes and beliefs 

Differences between Conformity and Nonconformity

Definition

Conformity refers to the act of matching behaviours, attitudes and beliefs to like-minded people, group norms or politics. On the other hand, non-conformity refers to a deviation from a standard, a specification or an exemption. 

Conformity vs. Nonconformity: Comparison Table

Summary of Conformity vs. Nonconformity

Conformity refers to the act of matching behaviours, attitudes and beliefs to like-minded people, group norms or politics. On the other hand, non-conformity refers to a deviation from a standard, a specification or an exemption.


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References :


[0]Popular Delusions: How Social Conformity Molds Society and Politics. Cambria Press Publishers. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=ut00JrP4UN0C&pg=PA279&dq=conformity&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjXlqGB3tzrAhULzYUKHR6bAQYQ6AEwCHoECAIQAg#v=onepage&q=conformity&f=false

[1]Sarup G & Granberg D. Social Judgment and Intergroup Relations: Essays in Honor of Muzafer Sherif. Springer Science & Business Media, 1992. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=OCSbXQfHtKQC&pg=PA175&dq=Difference+between+conformity+and+nonconformity&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiwjIGh3dzrAhUOLBoKHYJ7Bk4Q6AEwBnoECAkQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20conformity%20and%20nonconformity&f=false

[2]Samuel Stouffer. Communism, Conformity, and Civil Liberties: A Cross-section of the Nation Speaks Its Mind. Transaction Publishers, 1955. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=ut00JrP4UN0C&pg=PA279&dq=conformity&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjXlqGB3tzrAhULzYUKHR6bAQYQ6AEwCHoECAIQAg#v=onepage&q=conformity&f=false

[3]Image credit: https://live.staticflickr.com/5741/22172985391_c9a828e1f1_b.jpg

[4]Image credit: https://live.staticflickr.com/28/56584065_4bf558727b_c.jpg

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