Social Influence and Pledging – Extra Credit

Pledging my fraternity was probably one of the most psychologically stressful times in my life. Leaving out the details of the process, the gist is that we, the pledges, are essentially at the beck and call of the brothers. Whatever and whenever they need things done, it is our duty to carry out their demands without question. In summation, the established brothers of the fraternity are the authority figures to whom we, the pledges, respond to. The pledges conform to this behavior due to their low place at the social totem pole of the fraternity. Although we are not actually forced to perform such tasks, we do anyway because they are the figures of authority of which we are expected to conform. We know that once completing our pledge program, we will be rewarded with our initiation, the ultimate end goal. Therefore, with the incentive of initiation, we accept this compliance towards the intimidating authority figures. A specific example of this surrender to power is when we, the pledges, were sitting in the library and an unidentified man claimed to be a brother (whom turned out to be a brother) came into the library and began ordering us to do things. We had no idea who he was but, because he said he was a brother, we instinctively caved to his demands. We could of simply answered back and questioned who he was, but we were respected and carried out his demands simply because he identified himself as a figure of authority in our fraternity. Later, we learned that the brother was in fact on a co-op program therefore, a member we had never met before. Our compliance to the initially unrecognized member’s demands, ┬áproved that both intimidation and ideas of authority can be enough to push people into actions they’d rather not participate in.

 

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