Observation Paper




Everyperson has psychological needs such as emotional support and socialapproval. Thus, people’s behavior is based on one’s desire tobelong or identify with other another person or a group hence,creating the pressure for conformity. Conformity involves adjustingone’s behavior in a manner that fits in the common behavior of adesired group or person(Kenrick, Neuberg, &ampCialdini, 2015).

Anobservation of the behavior of a new prison officer process so. Theobservation exercise took place in a correctional facility. Theobservation was done for two months. A friend had just begun hisduties as a correctional officer. The observation intended to findout how the new recruit will conform to the occupational culturesamong correctional officers. In prisons, correctional officers, justlike new prisoners, form cliques to meet the need for socialapproval(Bennett, Crewe, &ampWahidin, 2013). They coalesce intosocial groupings that identify with workplace interests, beliefs, andvalues. It was clear that the new recruit was quite uncomfortablewith this occupational culture, but he had to find a group becausethere was no official unaffiliated to a group. One group of officerswas loyal to the top leadership and often unsympathetic to prisoners.The second group comprised of officers who feel the leadership isalways unfair to them by denying them regular work leaves. This groupis labeled “the prisoners buddies” because they often show somedegree of sympathy to the prisoner. Although, they did not directlydisagree on most issues, but suggestions of dissent often came frommembers of the second group.

Onthe first day the new recruit had no idea which group to join, but hehad to find one anyway. One may not understand the differences whenthey are at work until in the evening when they regroup for rest. The first group had an upper hand over the new recruit because onemember was a former high school classmate. There were also higherchances that he would join the first group so that he does not getthe rebels tag at such am early stage of his work. The new recruitseemed to be aware of the group differences and also forewarned ofshowing unchecked association with members of the second groupespecially during non-working hours. Eventually, he joined the firstgroup. However, this would only last for a short while due toincreased stress at the workplace. The first group expected the newrecruit to cope with the attitudes and behaviors of seniorcolleagues. In some cases, he would be intimidated by other staffmembers for lacking the credentials of a prison officer.

Thenew prison officer’s case is similar to one’s personalrelationships at school. In class there fellow students who feelthat dating a classmate is a weak trait. They have labeled themselvesas “the outsourcers”. They have succeeded to spread this notionby occasionally coming with their off-campus girlfriends andboyfriends to lecture rooms. As a first year, one usually finds aneasy time to find boyfriend or girlfriend among their classmates. Most of these relationships do not last until the second year. Theyquickly become not fashionable or desirable to do so in my campus. Bysecond year, I had already dropped my girlfriend for fear of beingridiculed. Most of my friends too have girl friends from othercampuses to conform to this notion. There are other groups ofstudents who disagree with this notion. They have labeled themselves“the gutsy ones”. “The gutsy ones” always sit in the front ofthe class while “the outsourcers” sit at the back. Theoutsourcers are many in number because they attract majority support.The “gutsy ones” are relatively few because they represent adissenting group. Surprisingly, the dichotomy is common in theentire campus.


Bennett,J., Crewe, B., &ampWahidin, A. (Eds.). (2013). Understandingprison staff.Willan.

Kenrick,D.T., Neuberg, S. L., &ampCialdini, R. B. (2015). SocialPsychology: Goals in Interaction (6thEd.). Boston, MA: Allyn&amp Bacon. (ISBN 978-0-13-381018-9).