Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Dora Krstulovic 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

Dora Krstulovic was born in Zagreb, Croatia, but has decided to pursue her education in Ireland. She acquired a FETAC level 5 in Applied Psychology in 2018. She has continued her education in IADT, Applied Psychology course, where she enthusiastically engaged with diverse modules. In the first year, she was elected as a Class Year Representative, a role that taught her about leadership and how to raise important issues, which has sparked her interest to work in Human Resources. During her education, she worked in hospitality, where she learned to operate in teams, prioritize tasks and deal with customer complaints.

Project Overview

Humans are primarily social beings and operate in groups to acquire the benefits of life. For groups to function efficiently, one of the essential factors is conformity. Therefore, it is important to investigate the factors which may influence one's conformity. However, while considered a critical variable, the role and relevance of one's self-esteem and cultural orientation on conformity within European society remains unclear and significantly unexplored, as the past literature has focused on Asian and American populations. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the effects of self-esteem and cultural orientation (individualistic/collectivistic) on the conformity, while targeting European individuals. The study included participants from 19 different countries (mostly European), which was one of the major strength of the study.

Project Description

Title: The Effects of Self-Esteem and Cultural Orientation on Conformity: A Cross-Cultural Study.
Humans operate in groups to acquire the benefits of life. For groups to function efficiently, one of the important components is conformity. Conformity represents a behavior in line with socially accepted norms. Factors known to influence conformity are the individual’s differences in self-esteem and cultural orientation, as measured by the individualistic/collectivistic dimension. For that reason, the present study examined the influence of one’s self-esteem and cultural orientation (individualistic/collectivistic) on conformity. A quantitative, 3x2 factorial between groups, questionnaire design, was implemented. The data from 273 participants (54% female, 41% male and 5% prefer to self-describe), aged 18 to 80 (M = 26.12; SD = 9.75) were used to conduct a two-way between-subject analysis of variance.

Project Findings

The findings of the present study suggest that self-esteem is a significant factor when examining one’s conformity, indicating that higher self-esteem scores result in lower conformity, which is in line with previous research. The results reported no significant difference in the participants’ conformity based on their cultural orientation (individualistic/collectivistic). No significant interaction was observed between self-esteem and cultural orientation (individualistic/collectivistic) on the participants’ conformity. Such findings can be explained as individuals with low self-esteem exhibit a greater need for belongingness in the society and therefore tend to exhibit more conforming behavior, to be accepted by their surroundings. Even though conformity is considered a valuable trait in today’s society, as it strengthens group values, excessive conformity may be dysfunctional for individuals. For example, high conformity in adolescence might lead to the misuse of drugs and alcohol. For that reason, implementation of strategic planning in educational settings should be aimed toward developing healthy (high) levels of self-esteem, especially among vulnerable groups such as adolescents, which then may act as a protector against the development of dysfunctional conformity.

Thesis Title

The Effects of Self-Esteem and Cultural Orientation on Conformity: A Cross-Cultural Study