Gamson, Fireman and Rytina (1982) aimed to test the hypothesis that a group is more likely to rebel than a lone individual. They set up a situation where it appeared to participants that they were being manipulated into signing statements which would then be used by an oil company in a legal case. In their experiment 16 out of 33 groups totally refused to do what was expected of them and in a further 9 groups the majority of group members refused.
Participants in the study were given plenty of breaks where they were able to mix freely with one another and discuss and clarify the situation for one another.
|Having an opportunity for discussion can make a |
huge difference to obedience levels.
It can be concluded that groups are more likely to resist obedience than individuals, provided they have a chance to discuss the implications freely with other group members.
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Gamson, W.B., Fireman, B. and Rytina, S. (1982). Encounters with unjust authority. Hounwood, IL: Dorsey Press.