We’re going to look at conformity bias, also known as the bandwagon effect, which is one of more than a hundred different types of bias in our environment.
It’s human nature to strive to fit in with groups where one would feel like one “belongs,” as we all want to be accepted at work. It’s in everyone’s nature to conform, though to varying degrees.
But since it’s a symptom of unconscious prejudice, it can impair our capacity to reach unbiased judgments. Because of this, it could limit our vision and our company’s success if leaders don’t notice it or don’t care about it.
So in this blog, we will discuss conformity bias, its types, tips, and examples.
What is conformity bias?
Conformity bias occurs when we change our behavior to fit in with the group because of a deep-seated yearning to belong.
To follow the party line, people emulate other people’s behavior rather than using their own moral and ethical judgment. Even while it may not be our objective, this kind of behavior can have a significant impact on our capacity for objectivity.
A classic example of this would be if you were at a restaurant with two pals and wanted to have dessert, but they all objected. As a result, you decline as well—not because you’ve made up your mind you don’t genuinely want that delectable slice of chocolate cake, but rather because everyone else did.
Famously, psychologist Soloman Asch looked into how peer pressure could lead someone to conform. A startling 75% of subjects conformed at least once during the twelve crucial trials. Participants admitted they weren’t confident of their accepted response but stuck with it out of concern for how their peers might react.
Types of conformity bias
Learn about each of the four different types of conformity bias.
Compliance is when a person gives in to pressure from another person or group to get something from them. The person wouldn’t agree with the ideas in private, but the threat of punishment or the chance to get something may make him agree.
Internalization occurs when someone accepts influence because it is rewarding in their private and public lives.
Example: A severe degree of conformity in which the group absorbs the individual’s opinions. Doesn’t that remind you of all those political workers, hmm?
Individual acceptance of influence because he desires a satisfactory self-defining relationship with another group or person.
Isn’t it true that a police officer is drawn to another law enforcement officer, and so on?
This occurs when someone wants to fit in with the group’s beliefs to impress them or win their favor. In this case, the person is not afraid of being left out like they are with normative influence. Instead, they want to get something good from the group.
Tips for conformity bias
We’ll go through three simple tips to help you control conformity bias in workplace meetings.
After everyone else has spoken, the boss should last express their opinion.
Now, this suggestion may appear to be somewhat ineffective! After all, shouldn’t the meeting’s leader set an example by engaging in frank conversation at the outset? Such a plan makes perfect sense in an ideal world.
Everyone tends to agree with the boss not just because they are the boss but also because everyone else agrees when they speak first because of their position of power, which unintentionally sends the idea that they must be right. (This illustrates the bandwagon effect’s strong cyclicality.) But since we live in a less-than-ideal environment, we must do everything we can to combat prejudice.
Because of this, the boss should let every other meeting participant speak first to show that opposing viewpoints are acceptable and required for a fruitful discussion.
Create a simultaneous voting system.
Last but not least, it is impossible to sweep the topic of voting at meetings under the rug! Eliminating conformity bias from decision-making processes is crucial because it frequently results in a false unanimity of viewpoints.
Fortunately, there is a straightforward fix: create a simultaneous voting system! The “thumbs up, thumbs down” technique is what I advise. When voting, don’t allow one person to speak at a time because this technique is more likely to cause people to vote because they don’t want to disagree rather than because they agree.
Instead, ask everyone present to offer a thumbs up (yes) simultaneously or a thumbs down (no)! This straightforward method ensures that no one is excessively affected by the opinions of others.
Designate someone as the “critic.”
Although the term “devil’s advocate” has a bad reputation that most people would prefer to avoid, it may also refer to this viewpoint as such. Appointing a critic enables the debate of many points of view essential for a fruitful meeting, as mentioned in the previous advice.
It should be noted that just because someone criticizes a concept doesn’t mean they reject it or treat it in any other way that is less than favorable. We might envision the critic as someone who queries why—
- Why do we think [x] is a superior tactic compared to [y]?
- Why don’t we think [q] will make a good mate like [p]?
Conformity bias is sneaky, but it’s not the only bias that can be found in most places of work. You can get rid of bias when hiring people.
You get better hires and a more diverse group when you get it right. QuestionPro is here to help you and answer any questions you have. Don’t let biases like the need to fit in with society get in the way of your hiring decisions.
You can fight against conformity bias with the help of QuestionPro’s many tools and options. Use QuestionPro immediately if you want to do your fair, agree, or disagree research.