Social Control, Social Influence, and Internalization

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According to Cole (2013), it is impossible to manage human behavior in a society with a set of cultural norms and staunch ideologies. Because it is unpredictable, it cannot be constrained to a specific outcome, even when an individual is compelled to change or other forces attempt to influence it. According to Schaubroeck, Lam, and Peng (2011), social influence is a period in which the actions, opinions, and external forces affect personal feelings. Thus, social effect on human behavior is visible in the development of reliance on the environment that individuals occupy at a given time in their life.  According to Voela (2011), social control is hardly accomplished since human behavior is mostly reclined to defiance. Also, following a mutual system that is strict and forward goes against human nature, which is created to be diverse. In this context, human psychological process states that each human being is unique and vary from the other parties (Hutcherson & Gross, 2011). Moreover, each individual has an own way of doing things that come out different in comparison to other fellow beings, which makes it hard to have a straightforward and limited manner. However, social control in most cases is desired and there are several attempts to introduce certain laws and order to be alluded by (Khan, Muttakin, & Siddiqui, 2013). Being in a position of social control ensures that the functioning of the society is closely aligned to the desired goals of sustainable development that is wanted to improve the community.

Finally, internalization is a feasible idea in contrast to social influence, as it the way to affect the human psychologically to accept an effective formula both privately and publically (Galbin, 2014). This concept ensures that there exists a conformity to what is accepted in the community, which leads to understanding, peace, law and order. Internalization is a tool that encourages socialization, ensures that issues can be dealt with amicably and a joint understanding can be reached so as to maintain the existent order.

In combination, these concepts create the structure of social order. In particular, social influences are dependent on both social control and internalization; however, human behavior is difficult to predict, which creates a conflict in matters of social influence in the society.

Social Influence

Social influence is directly linked to social human psychology since the two are involved in the determining the actions of the person. Ahn (2011) defines this term as the ability to have control over numerous aspects that include the societal issues that affect the human being. From the definition, it can be noted that it is closely linked to the understanding of social psychology, meaning the interpretation and understanding of the human behavior in a common context whereby their interactions and activities are used to determine their nature (Bartz, Zaki, Bolger, & Ochsner, 2011). Social influence contributes to a critical analysis of the behavior as it can explain why humans do some of the things in the social and environmental context (Galbin, 2014). The understanding of the human behavior requires since having the information on what influences the decisions result in establishing social influence.

Defining human behavior and trying to explain it comes off as one of the most difficult tasks to achieve for any sociologist as it is ever changing and cannot be limited to one characteristic (Rodriguez, Peterson, & Krishnan, 2012). Despite the complex nature of the human mind, some of the activities they do and the reasons behind them can be explained to some point as a result of having the background reasons on why some of the things are done. Social influence taps into the understanding of the people around the community on a psychological level, considering their view of things, need, and expectations among different age groups or genders (Ellison, Steinfield, & Stampe, 2011). According to Daramola (2016), social influence is critical in the areas of leadership and politics as it provides the people's views to their respective governorship representatives who can use the information to meet the needs of the citizens. At the same time, having an understanding of how the human brain works is a superior task, as it can never be coached to run a pattern of ideas in one way (LeDoux & Pine, 2016). Thus, creating acceptance of the systems to follow can come in handy in maintaining law and order by having the people electing the leaders who ensure peaceful coexistence and justice is practiced.

On the negative side, social influence is responsible for the mob psychology that leads to violence, disrupts and criminal behavior among the society (Scott & Drury, 2017). The presence of a lawless society is influenced partly by the negative social influence that is used for selfish practices among the involved stakeholders. Specifically, it has led to the worst criminal activities in history, including the genocide and the circumstances of civil wars that spring from political misunderstandings. Social influence is also responsible for the terrorist attacks in the world that are considered to be done by the Muslim community (Zhirkov, Verkutencan & Weesie, 2014). In terms of power, the analyzed concept involves influence maximization as an inevitable element for anyone striving being acknowledged in a social network (Barbieri, Bonchi, & Manco, 2013).In this context, social influence, without a doubt, can influence a war; but it can also bring people closer together in unity and harmony.

In sum, it is evident that social influence is a powerful tool that dictates the flow of the humans' environment. In particular, it comes down to how the whole group in the society understands and deciphers the information, and lastly, chooses the course of action pursued (Rodriguez et al., 2012). At the same time, possible negative effects of social influence cause the economic and political instability of the involved parties, and it is often difficult to recover due to the destruction it leaves behind.

Social Control

Gurrieri, Previte, and Brace-Govan (2013) explain that social control is an act of regulation whereby the activities of the people in an area are confined within the acceptable limit. Thus, it enables having a breaking point beyond which things cannot be done without the appropriate consent. In simple terms, what social control expects to achieve is to have a governed state of society with laws and orders that cannot be violated without some resultant consequences for those that go against the set principles (Martinez & Slack, 2013). Ahn (2011) explains that social control as the foundation of a law-conscious society has a focused government that is able to have power and influence the activities of the community in a certain state as a whole. Because of this, the society over time has come to be dependent on being controlled due to the early generations' unlawfulness and disregard for peace. Thus, social control establishes a form of respectful and orderly way to approach activities within a coexisting community by relying on a justice and criminal system to punish the perpetrators (Villadsen, 2016).

Social control has a set of social values that are introduced to dictate the approaches in which things are done in the society. They are based on morals, norms, and customs of a community and determine what is right or wrong (Voela, 2011). Having social values contributes to the success of those people who have social control since the concerned stakeholders can rely on them to guide their societies. Specifically, social values give them the direction to go by on issues that are prone to take place and affect the community if left unaddressed. Martinez and Slack (2013) note that social values are dependent on the culture that guides the community based on the evidence that was earlier witnessed and the approaches that were taken to ensure the coexistence was in the society. By being endless, the rewards for proper morals and values in the community ensure that things are done within the confined limits, and there are sanctions involved for those who go beyond the acceptable parameters (Gurrieri et al., 2013).

Sanctions play the significant role in social control by dealing with violations beyond the accepted standards, which are regulated by the social values. For social control to work within a society, there should be regulations to punish those who violate the norms and set culture so as to send a message to others and set an example to ward off future violations. According to Ostrom (2014), sanctions in the society come in different forms that include shame, criticism, ridicule, and even banishment from the community. Other extreme forms of sanctions are sentencing to imprisonment and fines, which is given for severe offenders who are labeled unfit for the society. Ostrom (2014) writes that if the deviant behavior is practiced in a socially controlled environment, punishment is the best cause of action as such persons are not healthy for the society and may cause chaos.

As it is evident, disorder and crime are among the reasons that social control appeals to the society. Without them, the crime rate and lawlessness would be on the high, which will endanger the lives of the people in the society.


As noted earlier, the human brain is a complex system, which challenges the understanding of its every action (Villadsen, 2016). However, Pau and Elder (2013) point out that a personal approach is required to realize the weight behind the activities individuals take to cause changes in their immediate environment and those people around them. In this context, internalization can be defined as an outcome of the psychological mind in decision-making. This process involves processing information so as to formulate an appropriate approach that one should use in decision-making (Hutcherson & Gross, 2011). Specifically, this essential measure involves finding the best way to resolve conflict or abide by social values relevant for the specific society within which a person exist.

As Khan, Jam, Akbar, Khan, and Hijazi (2011) describe, internalization is a personal decision that only an individual can make, with the results of the process being reflected on their actions. Understanding internalization process enables the involved person to make choices that can either lead to a positive outcomes or prevent negative decisions. In this case, the key point to consider is that no matter how the decision taken up, there will be consequences, and their appearance not always depends on the factors involved (Martinez & Slack, 2013). Therefore, the reasons behind internalization are broad but the important reason is that it enables making the best judgment and choosing the most appropriate option, notwithstanding the appearance of the issue. Correspondingly, Sharma and Good (2013) acknowledge that internalization is done for the purpose of getting a socially acceptable conclusion that will resonate well with an individual and the community.

However, there is also an ugly side of internalization process whereby the decisions that individuals make on its final stage lead to adverse effects on their surroundings. Due to the nature of the human mind, there are points in time when there will be contradicting opinions that will not be understood by others psychologically. However, it is important to follow the acceptable moral code in the society, since the decisions are based on the parameters within social values. Internalization is all about one’s self-beliefs and the influence that comes to play in their involvement in the society (Borum, 2011). According to Khan et al. (2011), internalization makes an individual understand the importance of having a working system of social control that helps to exist in harmony with comrades by introducing the common understanding and set of values that are familiar amongst them.

Interrelation of the Concepts

As it turns, internalization has an impact on how individuals view things in their society. In this case, the role of social values as the part of social control is critical. Specifically, people have to abide by its set culture, norms and customs, and going against them will create conflict with other members of the community. In this context, Sharma and Good (2013) note that internalization should involve social values so that there will be a positive influence in the society.

Nevertheless, Jetten and Hornsey (2014) argue that social influence cannot be solely based on the aspect of internalization as it takes up more of a private and self-driven decision-making process that may be inclined to bias. Having to deal with conflict and better ways to manage resources requires the help of social influencers who want to exert what is good for the community (Cole, 2013). Jetten and Hornsey (2014) explain that social control can ensure law and order is practiced in a shared environment and through the use of internalization will some of the social values that foster law and order have acceptance with the individuals living in the society.

Additionally, the process of having a set regulation for the human mind is a hard task. Due to its capacities, the limitations are difficult since human being encounters even various factors uniquely. However, with the social values in place, internalization can thrive, as the involved parties have to make their minds on issues with regard to both the acceptable and unacceptable guidelines in their respective societies (Borum, 2011). Since internalization process serves for coming up with the best cause of action and solving the underlying problems that one faces at the time, it is critical that the forces of social influence and social control do not contradict it.


In sum, human behavior is the complex phenomenon deeply rooted in the human nature that causes certain specifics in social influence, social control, and internalization.

First, the fact that human behavior cannot be tamed impedes on social influence both positively and negatively. It depends on a broad spectrum of ideas that involves a close relationship between internalization and social control to achieve desirable results. In other words, social influence serves for having a better interaction among the individuals in the society and a better agreement for sustainable development in all social aspects. Secondly, social control requires that an individual follows a set of values and regulations on their behavior. This concept ensures there is a freedom for the humans but at the same time regulates it in the sense of discipline to curb reckless behavior that may occur (Anner, 2012). Finally, internalization refers to the ability of human brain to form the decision-making. By considering its role, it is possible for an individual to bring oneself to the positive results and limit the environment from the negative acting.

In combination, an involved person has to internalize the best ways to behave based on the regulations of social control, which are guided by social values. Having guidelines on how to approach activities is the best way to have positive social influence that creates peaceful coexistence within the society and it all comes down to internalization that requires vivid decision-making. As much as social control is dependent on internalization to be accepted across the societal board, internalization needs social control to be successful for there to be a sane and thriving society with law and order for the fruits of social influence to be realized. White (2013) says the end goal is to have a society where harmony is the order of the day and conflict is a thing of the past. Having structures to address the need to have law-abiding citizens is why social control and internalization can be used as tools to influence human behavior. Despite its unpredictability, it is possible to follow the desired and set standards that are favorable and sustainable for all.


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April 19, 2023

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