Conformity: Why It Occurs and How It Works in Teams

Suppose that you are meeting with your team. The question facing your team is a simple one: Which of the three lines in panel 2 is equal in length to the line in panel 1? (See Figure 6-1.)

Figure 6-1. Conformity Pressure

Source: Adapted from Asch, S. E. 1956. “Studies of Independence and Conformity: A Minority of One against a Unanimous Majority.” Psychological Monographs, 70 (9, Whole No. 416).

The team leader seeks a group consensus. She begins by asking the colleague sitting to your left for his opinion. To your shock, your colleague chooses line 1; then, each of the other four team members ...

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