Difference between Conformity and Obedience (With Table)

Human beings are social animals. Due to socializing some behaviors crop up in human beings that were not there before.

Conformity and obedience are social character traits in humans of which both traits highlight a certain degree of surrender to another person.

Many have used the two terms interchangeably although they are completely different from each other and are used differently.

So, what is the main difference between conformity and obedience? The influence of authority in conformity is indirect while the influence of authority in obedience is direct.

For more information about the differences between conformity and obedience in tabular form, continue reading the article. You will also get to learn of the similarities between the two.

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Comparison Table (Conformity vs Obedience)

Basic TermsConformityObedience
DefinitionIt is a social trait where the influence of authority is indirect.It is a social trait where the influence of authority is direct.
Power of authorityIt is indirect.It is direct.
Need It is needed to retain originality and maintain the norms.It is needed to guide others to the standards or accepted paths.
RefusalIf anyone refuses to conform, he or she will be ignored or marginalized.If anyone refuses to be obedient he or she will be punished.
PersonalityA person changes personality.A person cannot change his or her personality.
GroupsThose who follow rules are confirmed and they become part of the majority while those who do not follow become minority.There are no groupings of majority and minority.
PowerIt is held by a group of people.It is centralized and the leader is the only one with influence.

What is Conformity?

Conformity is the quality of compliance with standards, rules, laws, and behavior in accordance with socially accepted convictions.

The behavior of the person matches the group. It is where someone adapts beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and even personality.

The majority has an expectation of the people coming in. In case the expectations are not met, the person may be rejected or ignored by the majority.

To avoid being rejected the minority has to deny the evidence gathered by his or her five senses. The rules are imposed on the minority.

There is more of an adaptive quality in conformity. There is the indirect authority where the majority starts rejecting and imposing social disruptions on the minority.

What is Obedience?

Obedience is a behavioral trait of being compliant with an order, request, or law to another’s authority. It is the act of following directions or orders without any question.

The instructions are given by a particular figure in authority created by standards of the society. It is practiced to avoid punishments or any other unpleasant acts to those who do not obey.

It leads to order in society. There is the direct authority that enhances the shaping of the system. With obedience someone has to be under someone else or else there will be chaos in the society.

The core elements of obedience are respect and fear of the people in authority. It can be observed in situations where children become obedient to their parents or their teachers.

Obedience assists someone to guide another into a correct path and eventually become a good example to others.

Main Difference between Conformity and Obedience

  1. Conformity has indirect authority while obedience has direct authority.
  2. Conformity is needed to retain originality and maintain norms while obedience is needed to guide others to the standard or accepted paths.
  3. Conformity changes personality while obedience does not change the personality of someone.
  4. Refusal of conformity leads to rejection or being marginalized by the majority while the refusal of obedience leads to punishment.
  5. The concept of majority and minority is more pronounced in conformity than in obedience.

Similarities between Conformity and Obedience

  1. Both are social interaction behaviors and influences manifest in groups.
  2. The concept of majority and minority is evident in both.
  3. Both require a certain level of one surrendering to another.

Conclusion

Conformity and obedience are social traits that people get from other people. The more you stay with a certain group of people, the more you will behave like them.

However, the two terms are totally different. The main difference between conformity and obedience is that conformity has indirect authority while obedience has direct authority.

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