Microcultures can be defined as a way a subgroup communicates with their own language, has their own expectations, and differentiates themselves from other groups. In consumer behavior we were told to explore the microcultures you would find at Millikin. We got into groups and searched the campus for symbols, words, phrases and many other things that mean something to Millikin students but would not make sense if you weren’t a part of the Millikin University subculture. We all had a week to go out and find different examples of Millikin microcultures. It came as a surprise to me how many things Millikin has that are so unique and are only known about by students and faculty. The most popular being The Bronze Man

. This bronze statue sits on a bench in front of schilling and is one of the biggest icons Millikin has on its campus. Some language that is used at Millikin that outsiders would not know is things like calling the cafeteria “RTUC”. This is an abbreviation for Richards Treat University Center and is probably known as RTUC by every student on campus. This project was a good experience because it got us out of the classroom and we got to see how unique our beautiful campus was. Other groups discussed how there is a microculture at Millikin where students gather in friend groups to study in Scovill and make it a social activity as well as a time to get homework done. There are so many things that are one of a kind. This experience also showed me things about Millikin that I never knew about. These things include the lucky “M” statue. This statue is about two feet tall in front of schilling and is known by a lot of the students as their good luck charm. Many student athletes rub it before big games and many students rub it before taking a big test. These would be smaller examples of microcultures. This project taught us that there are microcultures everywhere and we do not even realize it. There is slang that comes naturally and things that bond us together as a student body that wasn’t intended to do so.

Businesses use these all the time as marketing tactics. This is a common practice for small restaurants such as Head West. They have their own language for ordering food and they use this to keep reoccurring customers. Another restaurant that does this is Potbelly Sandwiches. They have an underground menu that only reoccurring customers are aware of. Customers that become aware of this become reoccurring customers and feel like they are a part of a subgroup and microculture.

In a study done by The College Of Direct Support, they discuss how race and religion play into how microcultures are formed. One example discussed in this article was about how companies only offer time off for Christian holidays. This is an example that we see very often in America and can create a microculture for a certain religion. This practice creates an atmosphere where there will often only be certain types of employees and possibly certain clients.





Group Influence

When speaking on the topic of group influence, Washington State psychology professor David Marcus refers to it as “when the way one person behaves or sees another is affected by all kinds of factors going on within the group.” His description of group influence, while very broad, keys in on the main idea of the phrase. Group influence is how the group as a whole affects the individual people attached inside of that grogroup influence1up.

In the spring of 2016, students in the Tabor School of Business took part in a semester long journey of teamwork, entrepreneurial ideas, and group influence as part of the ET 340 course. In this project, students worked with each other within a group setting to come up with a product made primarily of cardboard and then market the idea and sell the product to earn real life profits. In order to achieve maximum results, a positive setting within the group had to be established and rules had to be created to ensure members performed according to group standards. Meetings were required weekly and sometimes multiple times a week to narrow down ideas that all members of the group felt were realistic to create and sell to the market in the area. Specific tasks like marketing or collecting supplies were divvied up in the group. Among the products created and sold were an air freshener, a car caddy, and a portable desk.

The class was divided into groups of four. In this kind of a small scale group, one individual can carry a large amount of influence. Group influence can be either positive or negative depending on how it affects the group members, the group goals, and project results. Somebody with a negative effect on group influence can be divisive and turn members of a group against each other. On the other hand, somebody that has a positive effect on group influence can unite a group, keep its members on task, and work towards achieving the goals of the group.group influence2

It’s important to be aware when something or someone has an influence on the group whether it be positive or negative. In this project, a negative influence would have potentially made group members feel excluded and uninspired to perform their given tasks to the best of their abilities. This would have hurt the group’s overall success when it comes to its ability to market their product, find customers to sell to, and also present the final deliverables. A positive group influence in this project could communicate successfully to all members of the group, set meeting times that are agreeable, help with tasks if somebody is struggling, and keep the group focused on what its overall goals are.

In this specific instance, all groups proved to be profitable and in most cases carried a positive group influence. This project proved to be effective in learning how to work as a team in a real life setting to achieve specific, measurable results. To achieve these results, all members had to contribute and maintain a positive group influence.

Photo Sources: 1). Agreedo.com 2). GlobalReporting.org