The group pressure is a social phenomenon, the essence of which lies in the fact that people within the community feel compelled to agree with a certain opinion, if it is supported by the majority in the environment. This is a kind of tool, with the help of which society (group) influences the individual, creating for a person a certain framework that forces him to obey the requirements of the environment.
The group pressure can be formulated in different ways: coercion, demand, request, and simply the existence of society and its expectations. A member of the group has a choice to submit or not to submit to the pressure of the community. In addition, it is possible to obey in different degrees: from acceptance of the group norms, to pretence.
The process of the group pressure exists where there is a conflict between the individual and the opinion of his or her environment. A measure of resilience to the environment is the level of subordination to the group, when the opinion of the environment is perceived by the individual as a conflict.
A distinction is made between external subordination, in which her opinion is only outwardly accepted, but in fact, the individual resists, and internal, in which case the individual actually supports the majority opinion. Internal subordination is the result of overcoming conflict in favor of the group.
The individual can make their own demands on the environment for themselves. This causes conflict between the individual and the group. Making their own demands on the environment serves as a reason for absolving themselves of responsibility for their actions.
The phenomenon of group pressure also has another name in social psychology – conformism. At the level of ordinary perception group pressure was recorded in the fairy tale about the Naked King.
The reason for submission to such pressure is the lack of experience in making decisions individually due to the fear of the unknown, independence, responsibility, life in which no one will tell how to do.
In studies of the influence of community pressure another position of the individual in relation to the group was revealed – the position of negativism. When pressure is exerted on the individual, there is resistance to pressure, which at first glance seems to be an independent position, because the standards of society are denied. But it is only at first glance, negativism can be perceived as a form of extreme denial of pressure.
In fact, negativism is not true independence, on the contrary, it is a specific version of submission, but only inside out. After all, if the individual sets out to resist the group, he is dependent on it, since he needs to actively defend the anti-group position, and thus to be attached to the opinion of the community. Therefore, the position opposing the pressure of the environment is independence and autonomy.
The group pressure exists only where there is a conflict between the environment and the individual, and overcoming the conflict is done in favor of the group.
Freeing oneself from excessive group pressure and forming a free partnership with one’s environment, with another individual, requires renouncing claims to guardianship on the part of others, to a life in a protected world, to some kind of guarantee for the future.
Unfortunately, such a decision may not be within everyone’s power, may defeat the desire to preserve childhood dreams, which will make them continue to look for support in the group, in religion and so on. Together with the illusion of security they prefer group pressure and the fear of being rejected for insubordination.
And the individual who chooses responsibility is free from submission to the pressures of society. Such an individual gets the opportunity to use group pressure for good, using it as a motivation to mobilize.