Group Behavior influence on Human Behavior


The relationship between group behavior and human behavior is very close. Ideally, group behavior develops ground rules, customs, and regularities that are either of antihuman or portray positive human behavior (Hutchinson, 2012). These practices at the group level largely affect how humans behave as they interact with one another. Alternatively, the group does not exist without the individuals. People are capable acting within a group, and therefore, it will be difficult for the group to exist and operate without the individuals. The behavior that is practiced at the group level is likely to be reflected at the personal level. Over the years, there have been cases whereby group behavior has negatively influenced human behavior and most of the times individuals have turned it a habit. This argument depicts how the group action can be impactful to the human behavior. This paper strives to consider a bullying case study that occurred to a 15-year-old, Billy Wolfe in Fayetteville, Arkansas to explore the discussion of group behavior influence on the human behavior (Global Children’s Funds, 2017). There has been famous delusion among the Americans that bullying is just a common practice during someone’s childhood and therefore, it is a rite of passage that kids should go throgh (Rigby & Smith, 2013).  However, the American society appears to have ignored negative outcomes that bullying has on the kids’ success in life and mental health. 

Billy Wolfe in Fayetteville, Arkansas Bullying Case Study

 It is sad that Billy found himself a victim of the group of bullies at school. Billy’s problems started with a single bully that will turn out in future to be a daily routine. The bullying turned worse when his mother reported the case to the parents of the bullies. For example, upon Billy’s mother raising the alarm with the parents of her son’s tormenter, next day his (Billy) bullies presented him with a list of other 20 boys who vowed to beat him up. After this incident, the beating will become the common thing for the helpless Billy. In fact, the tormentors turned it into “collective sports prey” to showcase of their acts. In one of the bullying acts, a boy is seeing depicting that he will beat the bully in front of his little sister and goes ahead to punches him at a bust stop. The bullying behavior would continue, and Billy would be tormented even in bathrooms, the school bus, hallways, bus stops and shop class. The uncalled behavior continued until at one time the attack was so severe that it require medical treatment. Later Billy’s parents sued Fayetteville district school.


As noted earlier bullying has become a common practice among the American kids at school.  Despite, that there are also social setups where bullying is practiced but it is not extreme and widespread as it the case at schools. Additionally, the Fayetteville district school has been on many occasions accused of bullying incidences. The two arguments prove how group behavior can impact human behavior that in turn may result in negative outcomes.

Human Behavior Models and Theories

Various studies connote that bullying has become an aggressive behavior among the students. The aggressiveness among the students to practice bullying can be attributed to the school environment that is characterized by academic development. Those who are unable to cope with the educational systems may experience emotional problems forcing them to engage in victimization actions. It is out of this behavior whereby a group of individuals turns out to bullies. As a result, the aggressiveness becomes a repetitive behavior that is transferred to another person without any evident reason. Eventually, the bully behavior influences the human behavior that will be perpetuated on frequently. Several human behavior models and theories have been created by different scholars to show how bullying behavior can affect human behavior.

Conflict Theory

Conflict Theory relies on its argument that the main reasons for bullying encompasses instances operation, power imbalance and inequality. According to Pontzer (2014), conflict theory depicts that human behavior is largely rooted on these constraints.  In the context of the conflict, individuals develop a deviance behavior. From the sociological perspective, the deviance entails the behaviors or actions that do not conform to social norms and enacted rules (Hutchinson, 2012). In the school set up, these are the behaviors that do comply with established educational institutions. The institution’s capability to alter the customs or status comes into conflict with the individual. In this juncture, the granted rights of the weak are ignored while the middle-class gang up with the strong ones. As a result, crime and unacceptable social norms become the societal culture.

Based on the bullying case study being analyzed in this paper, Billy might be a weak boy and that he ended up being bullied on the first instance. However, instead of the majority in the school siding him, they opted to unite with those who were oppressing him. This explains why after Billy’s mother reported the bullying incident to the bullies’ parents the tormenting increased instead of declining. The behavior exhibited by the bullies in Fayetteville district school can be linked to the Henry D. McKay and Clifford Shaw argument that deviance, as expounded in the conflict theory, was due to the social disorganization (Hutchinson, 2012). The two scholars went ahead to argue that social disorganization was likely to affect minority youth hence influencing them to engage in unacceptable behaviors in the society such as crime and bullying.

Again, conflict theory appears to bring in the aspect of oppression. The bullies harm the victims through oppression as it was the done to Billy by his bullies. Conflict theory outline that oppression is exercised in a cruel, burdensome and unjust manner (Hutchinson, 2012). This is well witnessed in the bullying of Billy. His oppressors “Bullies” are “powerful” because they are strong and ended up causing him to suffer from physical and mental troubles. In the school context, there is no justice because it appears that the “strong” and the “powerful” are more influential in the school. This is the main reason why the school rules on bullying are ignored, and no action is taking against Billy’s bullies.

Freud’s Psychodynamic Theory

Bullying in schools can be explored in relation to the Freud’s Psychodynamic Theory. Just like conflict theory, the Freud’s Psychodynamic Theory finds its origin on aggression factors (Roth, Maymon-Kanat, & Bibi, 2012). The theory perceives human behavior as a result of the unconscious relationship forces and drives within the person’s mind. Freud argued that human behavior is highly influenced by the instinctive and sexual drives that derived from life instinct. The human behavior is determined by these unconscious motivates that occur during the childhood experience of a person (Sutto & Smith, 2009). These childhood experiences are manifested later at the adult age when they encounter circumstances of aggression. Freud attributes psyche that determines human behavior into three distinct parts; id, ego, and superego. The interaction of the three parts produces different behavioral outcomes that can be of aggression. Freud goes further to note that these parts are more evident in males than in females. The Freud research explains why the bullying behavior is more attributed to the boys in school than girls.

Based on the Freud three components or personality, helps us to understand why people behave in a certain manner either at their stage of development or during the adult age. For example, the Freud theory found that id comprises of sexual and aggressive instincts that are largely linked to the immediate gratification. The motivating force behind id is libido that is associated with the body pleasure seeking. People endowed with this human behavior are not concerned with the means on how they get what they want provided gratification is achieved. The id component is common among the teens as well as the adults. The ego forms the rational part of the mind. It entails behaving in a manner that is socially acceptable. Through the id part of the person gets what he or she wants but in a socially and acceptable way. The superego involves the individual’s conscience, and it is concerned with the moral judgments and feelings of guilt. The superego permits the id to do what it wants provided that no moral issues are doing so. Freud said that three parts should be at the acceptable level for the human personality to remain normal. The imbalance of the three parts contributes to psychodynamic conduct disorder that can portray through anti-social human behaviors such as cruelty to others, vandalism, stealing and bullying.

The three parts making personality as expounded by Freud takes us back to question the bullying behavior exhibited by Billy’s bullies. From the case analysis, it appears that the bullies lacked empathy and they enjoyed hurting Billy.  This observation was supported by (Amanda, 2015) who argued that children suffering from conduct disorders are likely to be socially incompetent and lack the aspect of empathy. Additionally, the different nature exhibited by the kids with conduct disorder is tied to the motivational causes that lead to deviant behaviors. The deviant behavior may comprise the desire to prove one’s masculinity or to punish one’s parents. Freud said once these goals are achieved, the bullies feel satisfied. Now, based on the bullying case study in hand, it came clear the bullying on Billy persistent and became severe when Billy’s mother reported to the bullies parents. This may associate with the fact; the bullies want to punish Billy’s mother through him. Secondly, the bullying that existed before Billy’s mother reported the case, can be said to have been influenced by the desire to express masculinity among Billy’s tormenters. From the Freud theory, it is evident that bullying may not be an intentional act but a behavior that is rooted in the individual’s personality. This view can be supported by the research that depicts that conduct disorder is caused by the defective ego and flawed superego (Pontzer, 2014).


The two theories have made it clear the bullies in Fayetteville district school did not carry it out intentionally. Instead, they were out personality components or behavioral groupings that influenced them to bully Billy. These calls for the appropriate behavioral strategies as well as services that can help to remedy the group actions. This paper offers various strategies;

Behavioral Strategies

            Even though the research holds that the behavioral strategies amount to only 20 percent of the bullying activities decline, the supporters of the behavioral techniques argue that there are circumstances where they are very effective (Amanda, 2015). For example, more parental involvement, relationship, and communication with the adolescents have proved to lower the level of bullying at schools. Parental role in helping to reduce bullying goes in hand with the findings that showed that those who engage in bullying are either as result of poor peer relations, poor role modeling, feeling of displacement and shame, lack of confidence, domestic violence, and parental anger. Alternatively, the decline on bullying instances was associated with increased social support, positive home environment, knowing almost all of the child’s friends and positive adult role modeling. From the analysis of case study in relation to the conflict theory, the observance of these suggestions will help to reform the behavior of bullies in Fayetteville district school.


            The analysis of the Freud’s Psychodynamic Theory elaborates that anti-social behaviors such as bullying may be as a result of the conduct disorder. Apart from the behavior influence, this paper has also attributed bullying to the imbalance of the three personality components as put across by Freud. To rectify the disorder it calls for the intervention professionals and clinicians to intervene to end the potentiality of bullying through advocacy and clinical practice. The recommendations at this juncture should comprise of advocating for the bullying prevention laws both at the local and the national level. Secondly, the bullies should be screened for co-morbidities to determine their id, ego and superego levels. Thirdly, the provision of the counseling services will assist in influencing the bullies to shun the act. 


Group behavior transcends into the human behavior. This is well reflected through bullying acts that have very common in schools, cyber world, and even workplace. The causes of the bullying behavior can be either behavioral or psychological. The behavioral causes can be corrected through proper parental care. On the other hand, the psychological cause can be dealt it by the provision of the appropriate medical care and counseling.


Amanda, L. (2015, May 20). Bullying: Theory, Programming, and Policy. Retrieved from Social Justice Solutions:

Global Children’s Funds. (2017, June 2). Bullying at its Extreme: The Worst & Most Severe Bullying Cases. Retrieved from Global Children’s Funds:

Hutchinson, E. D. (2012). Dimensions of human behavior. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

K. Rigby, & Smith, P. K. (2013). Is school bullying really on the rise? Social Psychological Education, 16, 4412-455. doi:10.1007/s11218-011-9158-y

Pontzer, D. (2014). A theoretical test of bullying behavior: Parenting, personality, and the bully/victim relationship. Journal of Family Violence, 32, 259-273. doi:10.1007/s10896-009-9289-5

Roth, G., Maymon-Kanat, Y., & Bibi, U. (2012). Prevention of school bullying: The important role of autonomy-supportive teaching and internalization of pro-social values. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 81, 654-666. doi:0.1348/2044-8279.002003

Sutto, J., & Smith, P. K. (2009). Bullying and ‘Theory of Mind’: A Critique of the ‘Social Skills Deficit’ View of Anti-Social Behaviour. Social Development, 8(1), 117–127. doi:10.1111/1467-9507.00083

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