Even in cases in which the pressure to conform is strong and a large percentage of individuals do conform (such as in Solomon Asch’s line-judging research), not everyone does so.
There are usually some people willing and able to go against the prevailing norm.
Women are not promoted to positions of leadership as fast as men are in real working groups, even when actual performance is taken into consideration (Geis, Boston, & Hoffman, 1985; Heilman, Block, & Martell, 1995).
Men are also more likely than women to emerge and act as leaders in small groups, even when other personality characteristics are accounted for (Bartol & Martin, 1986; Megargee, 1969; Porter, Geis, Cooper, & Newman, 1985).
Although we have focused to this point on the situational determinants of conformity, such as the number of people in the majority and their unanimity, we have not yet considered the question of which people are likely to conform and which people are not.
In this section, we will consider how personality variables, gender, and culture influence conformity. Taken together, this means that, at least when they are being observed by others, men are likely to hold their ground, act independently, and refuse to conform, whereas women are more likely to conform to the opinions of others in order to prevent social disagreement. These differences are less apparent when the conformity occurs in private (Eagly, 1978, 1983). Sex of authority role models and achievement by men and women: Leadership performance and recognition, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 636–653; Griskevicius, V., Goldstein, N. When the topic is sports, women tend to conform to men, whereas the opposite is true when the topic is fashion. Thus it appears that the small observed differences between men and women in conformity are due, at least in part, to informational influence. Men are, on average, more concerned about appearing to have high status and may be able to demonstrate this status by acting independently from the opinions of others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 281–294. On the other hand, and again although there are substantial individual differences among them, women are, on average, more concerned with connecting to others and maintaining group harmony. Because men have higher status in most societies, they are more likely to be perceived as effective leaders (Eagly, Makhijani, & Klonsky, 1992; Rojahn & Willemsen, 1994; Shackelford, Wood, & Worchel, 1996). And men are more likely to be leaders in most cultures. In terms of conformity, the overall conclusion from these studies is that that there are only small differences between men and women in the amount of conformity they exhibit, and these differences are influenced as much by the social situation in which the conformity occurs as by gender differences themselves. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 10, 237–252. On average, men and women have different levels of self-concern and other-concern. Going along versus going alone: When fundamental motives facilitate strategic (non)conformity.