Discuss the positive and negative aspects of conformity.

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are positive and negative aspects of conformity. Conformity is when a person or group follows behaviors associated with standards that are considered normal or acceptable. An advantage of conformity is it easier to know what to expect from people in certain situations. If people follow a pattern of behavior that is usual and customary, it is easier to predict what will happen in a given situation. Strategies can be developed to deal with situations if people have a good idea knowing how a person or a group will respond in a given circumstance. This usually helps to maintain law and order or develop strategies to restore it if needed. People also know how they should act if most people follow an acceptable pattern of behavior or decision-making. It becomes easier to know what is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable.

A disadvantage of conformity is that people may feel they can’t be themselves. They might hesitate to dress differently than what is usually accepted. They might hesitate to share an opinion that the majority doesn’t share. New ideas may get stifled if conformity is the norm. It also may be easier to bully somebody for being different if most people think and act only in a certain way.

Conformity has its advantages and its disadvantages. It is up to us to determine how much conformity is to be expected and how much individuality is to be tolerated.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several advantages of conformity, or following the rules of a society. Conformists allow for the orderly flow of society, as rule breakers often interrupt the order of the society. Conformists also tend to get more work done, as they follow rules, and they enforce the laws of the society.

However, conformity can at times lead to unjust societies if the laws in the society are unfair or dictatorial. In addition, conformity does not allow people to develop new ideas that help the processes of the society, including legal, business, and educational processes, work more effectively. If society is unjust or unfair, non-conformists are vital in changing society to be more just by breaking the rules. In addition, a society filled with conformists can be too placid and dull, and non-conformists can add to the vitality and energy of a society. Non-conformists can develop new ways of looking at problems and at life, adding to the richness of people's experiences.