Peer Pressure as a Negative Impact for Group Decision Making

Despite of who you are, we are all part of a group, whether that be a social group, a political group or a sport group. A group is classified as a cluster of individuals (three or more) that work together simultaneously in order to achieve a certain outcome or goal. Groups are designed so that individuals can communicate their expressions and opinions freely. Groups can make successful decisions, however, if they are too cohesive, the group will make negative decisions. Firstly, this peer pressure essay will discuss how groups members are peer pressured extensively and how this leads to impractical decisions. Groups that are aligned with their leader whilst consisting of positive energy and confidence will make successful decisions, however, groups that are too cohesive, will lead to group think, thus relating in bad decisions.

Groups experience peer pressure, creating groupthink, which results in bad decision making. Peer pressure is the direct influence on people by peers, or the effect on an individual who gets encouraged to follow their peers by changing their attitudes, values or behaviours to conform to those of the influencing group or individual. Peer pressure is a catastrophic issue globally, in fact, only 10 percent of teenagers surveyed said that they had not been influenced by peer pressure. In that same group, 28 percent of teenagers agreed that giving in to peer pressure improved their social standing and nearly half of those surveyed admitted to picking on someone only after a friend picked on that person. Whilst peer pressure can create positive effects, peer pressure can lead to negative decision making as people aren’t thinking clearly. In social psychology, people can either have an normative or informative influence. Normative influence refers to the fact that people sometimes change their behaviour, thoughts, or values to be liked and accepted by others. This results in conformity, in the form of individuals altering their utterances or demeanor to be more like what they perceive to be the norm. Informational influence refers to new information or arguments provided in a group discussion that change a group member’s attitudes, beliefs, or behaviour. Informational influence is likely to be stronger when a person is uncertain about the correct interpretation of reality and/or the correct behaviour in each context and therefore looks to other group members for guidance. 

Peer pressure is also often generated within the group, due to in and out groups. In sociology and social psychology, an ingroup, is a social group to which a person psychologically identifies as being a member. By contrast, an outgroup is a social group to which an individual does not identify. For example, people may find it psychologically meaningful to view themselves according to their race, culture, gender or religion.

In conclusion, groups can make successful decisions, however, groups that are too cohesive lead to groupthink, which results in negative decisions. Groups that have a directive leader, value harmony and consensus and are experiencing peer pressure will make negative decisions which lead to unsuccessful outcomes.

05 January 2023
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