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Day 36 – Q 5.Social influence can stifle individual enterprise and ingenuity. Do you agree? Critically examine.

5. Social influence can stifle individual enterprise and ingenuity. Do you agree? Critically examine. 

सामाजिक प्रभाव व्यक्तिगत उद्यम और प्रतिभा को प्रभावित कर सकता है। क्या आप सहमत हैं? समालोचनात्मक जांच करें।


Social influence occurs when one’s emotions, opinions, or behaviours are affected by others in the society. It is a broad term that relates to many different phenomena like conformity, obedience and persuasion. ‘Individual enterprise’ depends on one’s freedom to make choices and decision making ability. For instance freedom to choose one’s life partner.  

Ingenuity is power of creative imagination. For instance Ferdinand Magellan advanced our scientific knowledge by navigating around the world and proving that earth is sphere. This was against the prevailing belief in Europe at that time that earth was flat. 


Social influence tends to create conformity and acceptance of group behavior in individual’s action. It leads to synchronization of thoughts and orientation towards same thinking. But conformist behavior can stifle individual enterprise and ingenuity.

Bureaucratic work culture and too much of conformity may lead to bureaucrats being silent spectator in case of fraud and crime. After U.S failed intervention in the “Bay of Pigs”, American bureaucrats accepted that they had reservation about the idea but did not raise the flag on time leading to embarrassment to the country.

Values and ethics need evaluation and recalibration due to changing circumstances. Conformity will bring stagnation of ideas. The practices of “Sati” could be abolished only due to eccentrics like Raja Ram Mohan Roy.

Conformity leads to “ethical blindness”. Child labour is pervasive and readily accepted in our society. Noble Laureate Kailash Satyarthi and his team and other NGO’s have to work very hard to stop child labour and bring a social change.

Indian society has biasness towards rights of LGBT community. They face discrimination in every walk of life. Conformist behavior has made them most vulnerable community. NGO’s like Naz foundation have difficulty in breaking the status quo.

However, in certain cases social influence and bring desirable behavior among citizens – 

  • Swatch Bharat campaign and Beti Bacho and Beti Padhao has been successful due to persuasion and social influence. 
  • Conservation and recycling can be enforced as a value in our society by using emotional intelligence and social influence.
  • Social influence to develop environmental values can develop individual enterprise and ingenuity. For instance women’s role in Chipkoo Movement. 
  • If the government of the day bring unpopular laws or policy like labour law or demonetization then acceptance by all party representatives, workers and also by bureaucrats and citizens will help in smooth execution of the policy and laws.
  • Social influence avoids personal and societal value conflict, dissent, intolerance, leading to stronger social cohesion and stronger integration. All these increases efficiency and effectiveness of governance.


Social influence is important for social cohesion and stability. However value of tolerance must prevail in society to be open to new ideas and thoughts. This is the only way for society to grow and prosper. 

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