Why Do We Conform? | The New Corporation
Today’s organizations face a harsh truth: adapt to the changes in culture and technology, or risk falling behind. This reality is both solved and challenged by intrapreneurship—the notion that employees should be empowered to be entrepreneurs within the larger organization. Executive Chitra Anand advances intrapreneurship through her doctoral research and work advising high-growth companies. Drawing from her experience in leadership roles at Fortune 100 organizations and her education at Harvard University and University of Bradford, Chitra first analyzed the need for intrapreneurship. Now, Chitra discusses the rise of intrapreneurship in the current state of organizational culture and conformity.
The word conformity could be defined as “giving in to group pressure.” It’s a type of social influence commonly associated with compliance. Compliance means going along with the majority—even if you don’t agree with their beliefs—in order to be accepted. People conform because of the human need to be accepted. Especially in the workplace. This need to be accepted causes many people to offer opinions or agree with ideas that appear popular even if they’re not a true reflection of themselves and their personal beliefs.
Many times throughout my career, I’ve seen things done which conflicted with my personal values: people getting promoted for the wrong reasons, people taking credit for the work of someone else, decisions being made based on politics rather than for the health of the organization or goals of the company. Agreeing with the majority doesn’t mean it’s the right decision. Intrapreneurship fosters non-conformity, mavericks, and innovators by creating an environment in which individuals are empowered not for agreeing with the masses, but for providing a perspective that differs from the rest.
Written by Chitra Anand, Communications Executive and Advisor to High-Growth Companies; edited and produced by Kelsey Bober, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education