Distinguishing Obedience from Conformity

Obedience vs Conformity

The distinction between obedience and conformity is essential, as both are common social behaviors. Humans are social creatures who tend to live in groups, and their conduct is often influenced by living in a society. Conformity and obedience are frequently observed traits in all societies, and they have been extensively studied by psychologists and sociologists. This article will provide a clearer understanding of the difference between obedience and conformity, which share similar connotations.

What is Obedience?

Obedience is the act of following orders from an authority without question. It begins with obeying our parents when we are children, then moves on to obeying teachers in school, and finally, our bosses as adults. Followers of spiritual leaders consider them to be legitimate authorities and obey their commands. Society grants these figures their authority, and in most instances, obedience is a trait developed out of fear or respect. When we are in school, we never question our teachers and do what they ask because of the respect we have for them.

Obedience allows human beings to follow laws, believe in God, and adhere to social norms. It is a virtue that enables schools to be excellent learning centers, as it would be challenging for a teacher to conduct a class if some students refused to follow or accept orders.

What is Conformity?

Conformity is a trait that causes people to behave according to others’ desires. In a group, individuals change their beliefs and attitudes to align with the majority. When you conform, you are also being obedient. For people to comply, there must be a perceived authority in the group that influences the group’s behavior. Without this authority, it is difficult to make group members conform. If a group member fails to conform, they face the authority’s wrath and lose their credibility, which is crucial to them. This pressure causes people to conform.

Compliance is frequently observed in everyday life. If we perform a task that someone has asked us to do, we comply with their request. The most critical aspect of compliance is that it is the group’s unwritten code or law, and members adhere to the rules to be seen as part of the group. The most common example of conformity is in the military, where recruits start behaving similarly to others.

Key Takeaways

  • Obedience involves following orders from an authority without question, while conformity involves behaving according to others’ desires.
  • We tend to develop obedience out of fear or respect, while conformity is driven by the fear of social disapproval.
  • In obedience, there is a perceived difference in status between the one who obeys and the one who makes the request, while peer pressure brings conformity among a group’s members.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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