How social influence changes one's behaviour in personal and professional life? Support your answer with real life examples.

Social influence is defined as change in an individual’s thoughts, behaviour, and attitude that result from interaction with others. Three areas of social influence are conformity, compliance and obedience. Conformity means change in one’s behaviour in order to follow the standard rules. It is influenced by the majority in the society. Compliance is when a person agrees to accept the rules and regulations set by others for the time being and keeps his dissenting opinion in private. It is generally influenced by peers. Obedience is a form of social influence in which a person follows instruction and orders from an authority.
Social influence behavior in personal life
In India gender discrimination starts from the home itself. We see large number of people saying they bring up their daughter as their son but we never hear someone saying they would bring up their son as daughter. This is the result of prejudice against the female gender. This prejudice is also one of the causes of increasing violence against women as the society has little or no sensitivity in dealing with female gender.
The inculcating of the sensitivity in behavior needs to happen from home. The way the family treats the mother and daughter gets imbibed in the male child through observation right from childhood. He repeats the same behavior with this sister, wife and daughter. Thus a positive social influence to respect women is a necessity in India to bring a positive change in the society.
Social influence behavior in professional life
It is said that the character of an institution is reflected in its leader. This signifies the importance of the social influence to set the things right in the organisation.
If a head of an organisation is punctual and honest, these traits will trickle down to the subordinates persuading them to be honest and punctual. If the head is ignorant and is of lax attitude, the legitimacy of his superiority would be eroded.
Dr. Kalam narrates an incident in his book “wings of fire”. After a failure in launch Dr. Sarabhai then head of ISRO shielded the team and took onus on him for the failure in the launch. After the subsequent success he gave full credit to the team stepping aside. This had a lifetime impact on Dr. Kalam.
Social Influence plays on fundamental human instincts and can be exploited both intentionally and unintentionally by professional influence agents.

Question for UPSC Mains:
How social influence changes one’s behaviour in personal and professional life? Support your answer with real life examples. {150 words, 10 Marks}

Published: April 20, 2018 | Modified:June 27, 2019