Social Pressure on Social Conformity

In the second phase, members previously identified based on their professional industry environment outlined in the Delimitations section of this proposal will be assigned to different groups and presented with situations requiring them either to express their personal beliefs, determinations, opinions, and decisions knowing that theirs differs substantially from the consensus of their groups or to suppress their genuine reactions and adopt perceptions and positions with which they disagree for the sake of satisfying what they believe are their groups beliefs and desires.

Subjects and Subject Selection

The subjects would all be selected from volunteers and from employees assigned by their organizations to a professional development seminar. Consent for psychological experimentation will not be required because the framework for this project is a purpose-designed professional development seminar that genuinely provides the training it proposes to offer, albeit through a deceptive means. The final phase of the seminar will be devoted to analyzing the results of the exercises in the context of valuable lessons about personal and professional integrity and the importance of maintaining professional objectivity in perceptions and beliefs, and psychological independence and autonomy in professional decision-making processes.

Anticipated Data Analysis

It is anticipated that female professionals in general will be more susceptible to the influence of the group than males. More specifically, it is anticipated that the variables of (1) working in male-dominated industries and organizations; (2) poorly gender-integrated industries and organizations; (3) individual beliefs and attitudes about gender equality and gender roles; and (4) the gender composition of seminar work groups will correlate strongly with the observed degree that group consensus influences the perceptions, beliefs, opinions, and decisions of the test subjects.

In that regard, it is anticipated that females who work in poorly-gender-integrated male-dominated industries and organizations will be more influenced by group consensus and that this effect will be more pronounced within seminar work groups that are also male-dominated.

It is anticipated that female subjects from well-integrated non-male-dominated industries and organizations will be less susceptible to the influence of group consensus and that this difference will be more pronounced within seminar work groups that are not male-dominated. Likewise, it is anticipated that female subjects from female-dominated industries and organizations will be influenced less by group consensus and by male dominated seminar work groups.

Finally, it is anticipated that female subjects who previously expressed strong beliefs that gender is irrelevant to professional ability and that gender is an inappropriate basis for role assignment in society and in the workplace will be the least susceptible to the influence of group consensus. Furthermore, to the extent they are influenced at all by group consensus, the primarily male gender makeup of their seminar work groups will not increase the influence of group consensus on independent perceptions or opinions.

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