Conformity To Rules

Personal Core Value: Conformity Towards Rules

Personal Core Value: Conformity Towards Rules


  5 Min Read

The Personal Core Value: Conformity Towards Rules is an Extrinsic Motivator.

The core value of “Conformity Towards Rules” plays a crucial yet understated role in maintaining societal harmony and personal growth. This page delves into the essence of this value, guided by Shalom Schwartz’s Basic Human Values Theory and the principles of Self-Determination. We explore academic insights to understand why and how this value shapes our lives.

Placeholder Image

1. What is Conformity Towards Rules?

Conformity towards rules is a personal value characterized by a commitment to adhere to established social, cultural, and legal norms. It involves aligning one's behavior with set guidelines and expectations of a group or society. This value plays a crucial role in maintaining social order and ensuring cooperative and predictable interactions among individuals (Sagiv & Schwartz, 2022). That is, it is essential in fostering a sense of order and predictability, crucial for any functioning society.

According to Shalom Schwartz's Theory of Basic Human Values, conformity falls under the category of 'Conformity-Restraint,' emphasizing the significance of curbing actions that might harm others or disrupt social harmony (Schwartz, 2006). Conformity towards rules, therefore, represents a balance between individual actions and societal expectations, promoting a stable and orderly community life.

2. The Interplay of Conformity Towards Rules and Self-Determination Theory

The interplay between conformity towards rules and Self-Determination Theory (SDT) presents a nuanced understanding of how individuals navigate societal norms while pursuing personal growth and autonomy. SDT, developed by Deci and Ryan, posits that human motivation is driven by the need for competence, relatedness, and autonomy (Ryan & Deci, 2000). It emphasizes the importance of self-motivated and self-determined behaviors in personal development.

Conformity towards rules, often associated with compliance and adherence to societal norms, might appear at odds with the autonomy emphasized in SDT. However, the relationship is more complementary than contradictory. Conformity to societal norms can provide a framework within which individuals can safely explore their autonomy. It offers a structured environment where the boundaries of self-expression and individuality are understood, which is essential for the development of competence and relatedness, two other key components of SDT (Deci & Ryan, 2000).

Moreover, conformity in certain contexts can be a self-determined choice. When individuals align with rules and norms because they resonate with their personal values and beliefs, this alignment reflects autonomous conformity. In this sense, conformity is not merely about submission to external pressure but can be an expression of personal values and an exercise of self-determination (Chirkov, Ryan, Kim, & Kaplan, 2003).

Furthermore, research by Schwartz and others suggests that while conformity and autonomy may seem opposing, they are part of a spectrum of values that individuals negotiate throughout their lives (Schwartz, 1992; 2006). People often conform to certain societal norms to achieve greater autonomy in other areas of their life, suggesting a dynamic interplay between the two.

3. Real-Life Examples of Conformity Towards Rules

Conformity towards rules, the adherence to established norms and guidelines, can have both positive and negative impacts in real life, depending on the context and the nature of the rules being followed.

Positive Examples:

  1. Public Safety: Adhering to traffic rules, such as stopping at red lights and following speed limits, is a positive form of conformity that ensures the safety of drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
  2. Professional Environment: In workplaces, conformity to company policies and ethical guidelines promotes a professional and respectful working environment. This can lead to improved productivity and employee satisfaction.

Negative Examples:

  1. Social Pressure: In social settings, conformity can lead to peer pressure, where individuals may engage in harmful behaviors, such as smoking or underage drinking, to fit in with a


  2. Suppressing Innovation: In some organizational cultures, strict adherence to traditional methods and resistance to new ideas can stifle creativity and innovation. Employees may conform to outdated practices, hindering progress and adaptation in a fast-evolving business landscape.

4. Conformity Towards Rules, Personal Identity & The Modern World

Conforming to rules holds significant importance in the modern world, serving as a cornerstone for maintaining order and facilitating smooth functioning in various aspects of society. In an increasingly interconnected and complex global environment, adherence to rules ensures predictability and stability, which are crucial for both individuals and institutions.

One key area where conformity to rules is vital is in upholding legal and ethical standards. In a legal context, compliance with laws and regulations is fundamental to the justice system's integrity and the protection of citizens' rights and safety (Tyler, 2006). Ethically, conformity to rules in businesses and organizations promotes fairness, transparency, and accountability, which are essential for building trust and sustainability in a rapidly evolving economic landscape (Bazerman & Tenbrunsel, 2011).

However, the relevance of conformity is not without its challenges. The dynamic nature of the modern world often requires a balance between adhering to established norms and being adaptable to change. Therefore, while conformity to rules is essential for order and safety, it is equally important to continually evaluate and update these rules to remain relevant and effective in a changing world (Sagiv & Schwartz, 2022).

Furthermore, conforming to rules while maintaining autonomy and identity is a nuanced balancing act. It involves adhering to societal norms and regulations for the collective good, while also nurturing personal beliefs and values. This balance is essential in fostering a sense of belonging and contributing to community welfare, without losing individuality. By selectively conforming to rules that align with one's core values, individuals can support social harmony and order. Simultaneously, they can express their unique identity by questioning and shaping norms that conflict with their personal ethos.

This approach allows for a harmonious coexistence of personal autonomy and societal conformity.

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

5. Finding How Conforming to Rules as a Personal Value Shapes Your Life

Understanding the role of conformity towards rules in your life can be enlightening. We invite you to take our PVQ-RR-based test at to uncover how it shapes your personal values. If you're curious about how it resonates with your personal values, we invite you to visit and take our PVQ-RR-based test to quantify it.

How does this impact personal growth? Taking our personality assessment on can provide clarity. Based on the comprehensive PVQ-RR method (Schwartz & Cieciuch, 2022), it's tailored to offer a deep dive into your core values, including how much 'Conformity Towards Rules' influences your choices. Don't miss out on this opportunity for introspection and personal development!

Leave a Reply