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Difference Between Conformity and Obedience

Conformity vs Obedience

“Conformity” and “obedience” are two forms of social behaviors and influences that are evident in human interactions and group formations. Both allow a certain degree of surrender of a person’s innate nature to outside sources.

Conformity is the act or behavior of a person that matches that of a certain group of people. It is adapting one’s own beliefs, attitudes, and even feelings to match or imitate the views and beliefs of the people belonging to the group. Conformity comes with a subtle pressure and indirect authority.

The group of people or the majority has certain expectations of people coming in to join their group. These expectations must be met; otherwise, it will result in the rejection of the person. In other words, for one to “belong” in the group, he or she must conform to the group’s ideals and beliefs.

This scenario creates the entity of the minority and the majority. The group acts as the majority while the minority is represented by the person seeking admittance. To avoid rejection, a person from the minority denies the evidence gathered by the five senses.

Obedience, on the other hand, is simply an act of following directions or instructions without question or protest. The order or instruction is given by a particular figure in authority, someone who is assumed to be the leader or head. These figures in authority are often created by standards of society.

Obedience is practiced to avoid punishment or other unpleasant outcomes due to disobedience or ignorance of the order. Usually it is done out of fear or respect.

Obedience allows people to have a system of order. Other standards of society like law, religion, morality, and social norms reflect this attempt to have a centralized power that can control groups of people by virtue of having a position.
In obedience, direct authority and influence are needed to carry out orders or to shape the system. With no clear authority, people will take action for themselves, and there likely will be chaos. Practicing obedience is a clear indication that a person is totally under a rule but that there is is no change in his/her beliefs, attitudes, or feelings.

Summary:

  1. “Conformity” and “obedience” are two kinds of social interactions, behaviors, and influences that are manifested in groups.
  2. Conformity is the action of following a certain group of people and adapting to their beliefs and lifestyles. Obedience is an act or behavior in response to a direct order or authority.
  3. Conformity has a subtle approach but is still nonetheless considered a voluntary act. Obedience requires direct authority and influence from leaders (usually they are adults or people with power). Pressure and influence are evident in both conformity and obedience.
  4. The reasons for conformity and obedience also differ. Non-conformity usually ends up with rejection, while disobedience can result in punishment or other negative consequences. In both cases, isolation can happen.
  5. In conformity, it is the group that holds the power, but in obedience, power is centralized and concentrated with a leader or influential person.
  6. The concept of majority and minority is also evident in both circumstances. However, it is more pronounced in conformity where there is a clear distinction in who is accepted and who is not. In the case of obedience, an influential person can impose what constitutes the majority and the minority groups.
  7. A person who conforms denies the truth perceived by the five senses. There is a transformation of beliefs, attitudes, and overall personality. In obedience, on the other hand, a person does not change his or her own personality in the process of following rules and orders.

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