Behaviour Change and Conformity

Posted by on Sep 21, 2009 in behaviour change, Copying | One Comment


Bearskin.cenotaph.london.arp

Neil and Johnnie have great posts on the negative role that conformity can have on our attempts to engineer organisational change and innovation.

While what they say is fair enough, it strikes me that we are perhaps rushing a bit quickly to see the negative side of copying and social learning…(as we too often do). It's not just that it comes with fancy hats (see pic above) and all that that means.

Are we not assuming here that only through deep volitional intention can change come about? And that anything that lies in the way of change is a bad thing…

There is
another mechanism that leads to what we know of as "innovation" & which
is actually a lot more common than intentional innovation: "random
drift
" – i.e. conformity gone wrong (inaccurate copying over many iterations).

Maybe it's another version of our attempts to "force change" – to "drive", "lead" or "create" change

1 Comment

  1. Johnnie Moore
    September 23, 2009

    Thanks for the link love, Mark, and I think we’re in violent agreement. I’m arguing for trusting rather more to natural mechanisms that hold us together and less reliance on constructed ones.
    As ever, it’s all about context, of course…