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Social norms are shared standards of
acceptable Acceptability is the characteristic of a thing being subject to acceptance for some purpose. A thing is acceptable if it is sufficient to serve the purpose for which it is provided, even if it is far less usable for this purpose than the ideal examp ...
behavior by groups. Social norms can both be informal understandings that govern the behavior of members of a society, as well as be codified into
rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionma ...
s and
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
s. Social normative influences or social norms, are deemed to be powerful drivers of human behavioural changes and well organized and incorporated by major theories which explaining human behaviour.
Institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington Samuel Phillips Huntington (April 18, 1927 – December 24, 2008) was an American political scientist, adviser and academic. He spent more than half a century at Harvard University Har ...
s are composed of multiple norms. Norms are shared and social beliefs about behavior; thus, they are distinct from "
idea In common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philoso ...

idea
s", " attitudes", and "
values In ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy ...
", which can be held privately, and which do not necessarily concern behavior. Norms are contingent on context, social group, and historical circumstances. Scholars distinguish between regulative norms (which constrain behavior), constitutive norms (which shape interests), and prescriptive norms (which prescribe what actors ''ought'' to do). The effects of norms can be determined by a
logic of appropriateness Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectual, dialectical, argumentative, translit=logikḗ)Also related to (''logos''), "word, thought, idea, argument, account, re ...
and logic of consequences; the former entails that actors follow norms because it is socially appropriate, and the latter entails that actors follow norms because of cost-benefit calculations. Three stages have been identified in the life cycle of a norm: (1) Norm emergence – norm entrepreneurs seek to persuade others of the desirability and appropriateness of certain behaviors; (2) Norm cascade – when a norm obtains broad acceptance; and (3) Norm internalization – when a norm acquires a "taken-for-granted" quality. Norms are robust to various degrees: some norms are often violated whereas other norms are so deeply internalized that norm violations are infrequent. Evidence for the existence of norms can be detected in the patterns of behavior within groups, as well as the articulation of norms in group discourse.


Definition of social norms

There are varied definitions of social norms, but there is agreement among scholars that norms are: # social and shared among members of a group, # related to behaviors and shape decision-making, # proscriptive or prescriptive #socially acceptable way of living by a group of people in a society. In 1965, Jack P. Gibbs identified three basic normative dimensions that all concepts of norms could be subsumed under: # "a collective evaluation of behavior in terms of what it ''ought'' to be" # "a collective expectation as to what behavior ''will be''" # "particular ''reactions'' to behavior" (including attempts sanction or induce certain conduct) According to Ronald Jepperson,
Peter Katzenstein Peter Joachim Katzenstein Fellow of the British Academy, FBA (born February 17, 1945) is the Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies at Cornell University. Recognized by the journal ''Foreign Affairs'' as a "renowned scholar o ...
and
Alexander Wendt Alexander Wendt (born 12 June 1958) is an American political scientist who is one of the core social constructivist researchers in the field of international relations, and a key contributor to quantum social science. Wendt and academics such as ...
, "norms are collective expectations about proper behavior for a given identity." Wayne Sandholtz argues against this definition, as he writes that shared expectations are an ''effect'' of norms, not an intrinsic quality of norms. Sandholtz,
Martha FinnemoreMartha Finnemore (born 1959) is an American constructivist scholar of international relations, and University Professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. She is considered among the most influential in ...
and
Kathryn Sikkink Kathryn Sikkink (born 1955) is an author, human rights Human rights are moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was origina ...
define norms instead as "standards of appropriate behavior for actors with a given identity." In this definition, norms have an "oughtness" quality to them. Michael Hechter and Karl-Dieter Opp define norms as "cultural phenomena that prescribe and proscribe behavior in specific circumstances." Sociologists Christine Horne and Stefanie Mollborn define norms as "group-level evaluations of behavior." This entails that norms are widespread expectations of social approval or disapproval of behavior. Scholars debate whether social norms are individual constructs or collective constructs. Economist and game theorist
Peyton Young Hobart Peyton Young (born March 9, 1945) is an American game theorist and economist known for his contributions to evolutionary game theory and its application to the study of institutional and technological change, as well as the theory of learni ...
defines norms as "patterns of behavior that are self-enforcing within a group." He emphasizes that norms are driven by shared expectations: "Everyone conforms, everyone is expected to conform, and everyone wants to conform when they expect everyone else to conform." He characterizes norms as devices that "coordinate people's expectations in interactions that possess multiple equilibria." Concepts such as "conventions", "customs", "morals", "mores", "rules", and "laws" have been characterized as equivalent to norms. Institutions can be considered collections or clusters of multiple norms. Rules and norms are not necessarily distinct phenomena: both are standards of conduct that can have varying levels of specificity and formality. Laws are a highly formal version of norms. Laws, rules and norms may be contradictory; for example, a law may prohibit something but norms still allow it. Norms are not the equivalent of an aggregation of individual attitudes. Ideas, attitudes and values are not necessarily norms, as these concepts do not necessarily concern behavior and may be held privately. "Prevalent behaviors" and behavioral regularities are not necessarily norms. Instinctual or biological reactions, personal tastes, and personal habits are not necessarily norms.


Emergence and transmission

Groups may adopt norms in a variety of ways. Some stable and self-reinforcing norms may emerge spontaneously without conscious human design. Peyton Young goes as far as to say that "norms typically evolve without top-down direction... through interactions of individuals rather than by design." Norms may develop informally, emerging gradually as a result of repeated use of discretionary stimuli to control behavior.Chong, D. (2000) ''Rational lives: norms and values in politics and society'' Not necessarily laws set in writing, informal norms represent generally accepted and widely sanctioned routines that people follow in everyday life.Gerber, L. & Macionis, J. (2011) ''Sociology'', 7th Canadian ed., p. 65 These informal norms, if broken, may not invite formal legal punishments or sanctions, but instead encourage reprimands, warnings, or
othering In phenomenology Phenomenology may refer to: * Empirical research, when used to describe measurement methods in some sciences * An empirical relationship or phenomenological model * Phenomenology (architecture), based on the experience of build ...
;
incest Incest ( ) is between family members or close . This typically includes sexual activity between people in (blood relations), and sometimes those related by ( or ), adoption, or . The is one of the most widespread of all cultural s, both in ...
, for example, is generally thought of as wrong in society, but many jurisdictions do not legally prohibit it. Norms may also be created and advanced through conscious human design by norm entrepreneurs. Norms can arise formally, where groups explicitly outline and implement behavioral expectations. Legal norms typically arise from design.Kendall, D. (2011) ''Sociology in our times'' A large number of these norms we follow 'naturally' such as driving on the right side of the road in the US and on the left side in the UK, or not speeding in order to avoid a ticket. Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink identify three stages in the life cycle of a norm: # Norm emergence: Norm entrepreneurs seek to persuade others to adopt their ideas about what is desirable and appropriate # Norm cascade: When a norm has broad acceptance and reaches a tipping point, with norm leaders pressuring others to adopt and adhere to the norm # Norm internalization: When the norm has acquired a "taken-for-granted" quality where compliance with the norm is nearly automatic They argue that several factors may raise the influence of certain norms: * Legitimation: Actors that feel insecure about their status and reputation may be more likely to embrace norms * Prominence: Norms that are held by actors seen as desirable and successful are more likely to diffuse to others * Intrinsic qualities of the norm: Norms that are specific, long-lasting, and universal are more likely to become prominent * Path dependency: Norms that are related to preexisting norms are more likely to be widely accepted * World time-context: Systemic shocks (such as wars, revolutions and economic crises) may motivate a search for new norms Christina Horne and Stefanie Mollborn have identified two broad categories of arguments for the emergence of norms: # Consequentialism: norms are created when an individual's behavior has consequences and externalities for other members of the group. # Relationalism: norms are created because people want to attract positive social reactions. In other words, norms do not necessarily contribute to the collective good. Per consequentialism, norms contribute to the collective good. However, per relationalism, norms do not necessarily contribute to the collective good; norms may even be harmful to the collective. Some scholars have characterized norms as inherently unstable, thus creating possibilities for norm change. According to Wayne Sandholtz, actors are more likely to persuade others to modify existing norms if they possess power, can reference existing foundational meta-norms, and can reference precedents. Social proximity between actors has been characterized as a key component in sustaining social norms.


Transfer of norms between groups

Individuals may also import norms from a previous organization to their new group, which can get adopted over time. Without a clear indication of how to act, people typically rely on their history to determine the best course forward; what was successful before may serve them well again. In a group, individuals may all import different histories or
scripts Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developi ...
about appropriate behaviors; common experience over time will lead the group to define as a whole its take on the right action, usually with the integration of several members' schemas. Under the importation paradigm, norm formation occurs subtly and swiftly whereas with formal or informal development of norms may take longer. Groups internalize norms by accepting them as reasonable and proper standards for behavior within the group. Once firmly established, a norm becomes a part of the group's operational structure and hence more difficult to change. While possible for newcomers to a group to change its norms, it is much more likely that the new individual will adopt the group's norms, values, and perspectives, rather than the other way around.


Deviance from social norms

Deviance is defined as "nonconformity to a set of norms that are accepted by a significant number of people in a community or society."Appelbaum, R. P., Carr, D., Duneir, M., & Giddens, A. (2009). "Conformity, Deviance, and Crime." Introduction to Sociology, New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., p. 173. More simply put, if group members do not follow a norm, they become labeled as a deviant. In the sociological literature, this can often lead to them being considered outcasts of society. Yet, deviant behavior amongst children is somewhat expected. Except the idea of this deviance manifesting as a criminal action, the social tolerance given in the example of the child is quickly withdrawn against the criminal. Crime is considered one of the most extreme forms of deviancy according to scholar Clifford R. Shaw. What is considered "normal" is relative to the location of the
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

culture
in which the
social interaction In social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly used to refer t ...
is taking place. In psychology, an individual who routinely disobeys group norms runs the risk of turning into the "institutionalized deviant." Similar to the sociological definition, institutionalized deviants may be judged by other group members for their failure to adhere to norms. At first, group members may increase pressure on a non-conformist, attempting to engage the individual in conversation or explicate why he or she should follow their behavioral expectations. The role in which one decides on whether or not to behave is largely determined on how their actions will affect others. Especially with new members who perhaps do not know any better, groups may use discretionary stimuli to bring an individual's behavior back into line. Over time, however, if members continue to disobey, the group will give up on them as a lost cause; while the group may not necessarily revoke their membership, they may give them only superficial consideration. If a worker is late to a meeting, for example, violating the office norm of punctuality, a boss or other co-worker may wait for the individual to arrive and pull him aside later to ask what happened. If the behavior continues, eventually the group may begin meetings without him since the individual "is always late." The group generalizes the individual's disobedience and promptly dismisses it, thereby reducing the member's influence and footing in future group disagreements. Group tolerance for deviation varies across membership; not all group members receive the same treatment for norm violations. Individuals may build up a "reserve" of good behavior through
conformity Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natura ...

conformity
, which they can borrow against later. These ''
idiosyncrasy credit Idiosyncrasy credit is a concept in social psychology Social psychology is the Science, scientific study of how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, and implied presence of others, 'imagin ...
s'' provide a theoretical currency for understanding variations in group behavioral expectations. A teacher, for example, may more easily forgive a straight-A student for misbehaving—who has past "good credit" saved up—than a repeatedly disruptive student. While past performance can help build idiosyncrasy credits, some group members have a higher balance to start with. Individuals can import idiosyncrasy credits from another group; childhood movie stars, for example, who enroll in college, may experience more leeway in adopting school norms than other incoming freshmen. Finally,
leaders Leadership, both as a research area and as a practical skill, encompasses the ability of an individual, group or organization to "lead", influence or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations. The word "leadership" often gets view ...

leaders
or individuals in other high-status positions may begin with more credits and be appear to be "above the rules" at times. Even their idiosyncrasy credits are not bottomless, however; while held to a more lenient standard than the average member, leaders may still face group rejection if their disobedience becomes too extreme. Deviance also causes multiple emotions one experiences when going against a norm. One of those emotions widely attributed to deviance is
guilt Guilt may refer to: *Guilt (emotion), an emotion that occurs when a person feels that they have violated a moral standard *Culpability, a legal term *Guilt (law), a legal term *GUILT, or Gangliated Utrophin Immuno Latency Toxin, antagonistic parasi ...
. Guilt is connected to the
ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong action (philosophy), behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'"Ethics"/ref> The field of ethics, al ...

ethics
of duty which in turn becomes a primary object of moral obligation. Guilt is followed by an action that is questioned after its doing. It can be described as something negative to the self as well as a negative state of feeling. Used in both instances, it is both an unpleasant feeling as well as a form of self-punishment. Using the metaphor of "dirty hands", it is the staining or tainting of oneself and therefore having to self cleanse away the filth. It is a form of reparation that confronts oneself as well as submitting to the possibility of anger and punishment from others. Guilt is a point in both action and feeling that acts as a stimulus for further "honorable" actions.


Behavior

Whereas ideas in general do not necessarily have behavioral implications, Martha Finnemore notes that "norms by definition concern behavior. One could say that they are collectively held ideas about behavior." Norms running counter to the behaviors of the overarching society or culture may be transmitted and maintained within small subgroups of society. For example, Crandall (1988) noted that certain groups (e.g.,
cheerleading Cheerleading is an activity in which the participants (called cheerleaders) cheer for their team as a form of encouragement. It can range from chanting slogans to intense physical activity Physical activity is defined as any voluntary bodily ...

cheerleading
squads, dance troupes, sports teams, sororities) have a rate of
bulimia Bulimia nervosa, also known as simply bulimia, is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by purging. Binge eating refers to eating a large amount of food in a short amount of time. Purging refers to the attempts to get rid of ...
, a publicly recognized life-threatening disease, that is much higher than society as a whole. Social norms have a way of maintaining order and organizing groups. In the field of social psychology, the roles of norms are emphasized—which can guide behavior in a certain situation or environment as "mental representations of appropriate behavior". It has been shown that normative messages can promote
pro-social behavior Prosocial behavior, or intent to benefit others, is a social behavior Social behavior is behavior among two or more organisms within the same species, and encompasses any behavior in which one member affects the other. This is due to an interac ...
, including decreasing alcohol use, increasing voter turnout, and reducing energy use. According to the psychological definition of social norms' behavioral component, norms have two dimensions: how much a behavior is exhibited, and how much the group approves of that behavior.Jackson, J. (1965). "Structural characteristics of norms". In I.D. Steiner & M. Fishbein (Eds.), ''Current studies in social psychology'' (pp. 301-309).


Social control

Although not considered to be formal laws within society, norms still work to promote a great deal of
social control Social control is a concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas or general notions that occur in the mind, in speech, or in thought. They are understood to be the fundamental building blocks of thoughts and belief A belief is an Attitud ...
. They are statements that regulate conduct. The cultural phenomenon that is the norm is the prescriber of acceptable behavior in specific instances. Ranging in variations depending on culture, race, religion, and geographical location, it is the foundation of the terms some know acceptable as not to injure others, the golden rule, and to keep promises that have been pledged. Without them, there would be a world without consensus, common ground, or restrictions. Even though the law and a state's legislation is not intended to control social norms, society and the law are inherently linked and one dictates the other. This is why it has been said that the language used in some legislation is controlling and dictating for what should or should not be accepted. For example, the criminalization of familial sexual relations is said to protect those that are vulnerable, however even consenting adults cannot have sexual relationships with their relatives. The language surrounding these laws conveys the message that such acts are supposedly immoral and should be condemned, even though there is no actual victim in these consenting relationships. Social norms can be enforced formally (e.g., through sanctions) or informally (e.g., through
body language Body language is a type of nonverbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, Posture (psychology), posture, and bo ...

body language
and non-verbal communication cues.) Because individuals often derive physical or psychological resources from group membership, groups are said to control ''discretionary stimuli''; groups can withhold or give out more resources in response to members' adherence to group norms, effectively controlling member behavior through rewards and operant conditioning.Hackman, J.R. (1992). "Group influences on individuals in organizations". In M.D. Dunnette & L.M. Hough (Eds.), ''Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology'' (Vol. 3). Palo Alto: Consulting Psychologists Press, 234-245.
Social psychology Social psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern scienc ...

Social psychology
research has found the more an individual values group-controlled resources or the more an individual sees group membership as central to his definition of self, the more likely he is to conform. Social norms also allow an individual to assess what behaviors the group deems important to its existence or survival, since they represent a codification of belief; groups generally do not punish members or create norms over actions which they care little about. Norms in every culture create
conformity Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natura ...

conformity
that allows for people to become socialized to the culture in which they live.Marshall, G. ''Oxford Dictionary of Sociology'' As social beings, individuals learn when and where it is appropriate to say certain things, to use certain words, to discuss certain topics or wear certain clothes, and when it is not. Thus, knowledge about
cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior among two or more organisms within the same species, and encompasses any behavior in which one member affects the other. This is due to an int ...

cultural
norms is important for
impression An impression is the overall effect of something. Impression or impressions may also refer to: Biology * Colic impression, a feature of the gall bladder * Duodenal impression, medial to the renal impression * Gastric impression, a feature of th ...
s,Kamau, C. (2009) Strategizing impression management in corporations: cultural knowledge as capital. In D. Harorimana (Ed) Cultural implications of knowledge sharing, management and transfer: identifying competitive advantage. Chapter 4. Information Science Reference. which is an individual's regulation of their nonverbal behavior. One also comes to know through experience what types of people he/she can and cannot discuss certain topics with or wear certain types of dress around. Typically, this knowledge is derived through experience (i.e. social norms are learned through
social interaction In social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly used to refer t ...
). Wearing a suit to a job interview in order to give a great first impression represents a common example of a social norm in the white collar work force. In his work "Order without Law: How Neighbors Settle Disputes", Robert Ellickson studies various interactions between members of
neighbourhood A neighbourhood (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval ...
s and communities to show how societal norms create order within a small group of people. He argues that, in a small community or neighborhood, many rules and disputes can be settled without a central governing body simply by the interactions within these communities.


Sociology

For
Talcott Parsons Talcott Parsons (13 December 1902 – 8 May 1979) was an American sociologist of the classical tradition The Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, ...

Talcott Parsons
of the functionalist school, norms dictate the interactions of people in all social encounters. On the other hand,
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, M ...

Karl Marx
believed that norms are used to promote the creation of
role A role (also rôle or social role) is a set of connected behaviors, rights, moral obligation, obligations, beliefs, and social norm, norms as conceptualized by people in a social situation. It is an expected or free or continuously changing behav ...
s in society which allows for people of different levels of
social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those soc ...
structure to be able to function properly. Marx claims that this power dynamic creates
social order The term social order can be used in two senses: In the first sense, it refers to a particular system of social structure In the social sciences, social structure is the patterned social arrangements in society that are both emergence, emergen ...
.
Heinrich PopitzHeinrich Popitz (14 May 1925 – 1 April 2002) was a German sociologist who worked towards a general sociological theory. Alongside thinkers like Helmut Schelsky, Hans Paul Bahrdt, Dieter Claessens, and others he was one of those sociologists in po ...
is convinced that the establishment of social norms, that make the future actions of alter foreseeable for ego, solves the problem of contingency (
Niklas Luhmann Niklas Luhmann (; ; December 8, 1927 – November 6, 1998) was a German sociologist, philosopher of social science, and a prominent thinker in systems theory, who is considered one of the most important social theorists of the 20th century. Biogr ...
). In this way, ego can count on those actions as if they would already have been performed and does not have to wait for their actual execution; social interaction is thus accelerated. Important factors in the standardization of behavior are sanctions and social roles.


Operant conditioning

The probability of these behaviours occurring again is discussed in the theories of
B. F. Skinner Burrhus Frederic Skinner (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990) was an American psychologist A psychologist is a person who studies normal and abnormal mental states, perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by exper ...
, who states that
operant conditioning Operant conditioning (also called instrumental conditioning) is a type of associative learning process through which the strength of a behavior is modified by reinforcement or punishment. It is also a procedure that is used to bring about such lea ...
plays a role in the process of social norm development. Operant conditioning is the process by which behaviours are changed as a function of their consequences. The probability that a behaviour will occur can be increased or decreased depending on the consequences of said behaviour. In the case of social deviance, an individual who has gone against a norm will contact the negative contingencies associated with deviance, this may take the form of formal or informal rebuke, social isolation or censure, or more concrete punishments such as fines or imprisonment. If one reduces the deviant behavior after receiving a negative consequence, then they have learned via punishment. If they have engaged in a behavior consistent with a social norm after having an aversive stimulus reduced, then they have learned via negative reinforcement. Reinforcement increases behavior, while punishment decreases behavior. As an example of this, consider a child who has painted on the walls of her house, if she has never done this before she may immediately seek a reaction from her mother or father. The form of reaction taken by the mother or father will affect whether the behaviour is likely to occur again in the future. If her parent is positive and approving of the behaviour it will likely reoccur (reinforcement) however, if the parent offers an aversive consequence (physical punishment, time-out, anger etc...) then the child is less likely to repeat the behaviour in future (punishment). Skinner also states that humans are conditioned from a very young age on how to behave and how to act with those around us considering the outside influences of the society and location one is in. Built to blend into the ambiance and attitude around us, deviance is a frowned upon action.


Focus theory of normative conduct

Cialdini, Reno, and Kallgren developed the focus theory of normative conduct to describe how individuals implicitly juggle multiple behavioral expectations at once; expanding on conflicting prior beliefs about whether cultural, situational or personal norms motivate action, the researchers suggested the focus of an individual's attention will dictate what behavioral expectation they follow.


Types

There is no clear consensus on how the term norm should be used.
Martha FinnemoreMartha Finnemore (born 1959) is an American constructivist scholar of international relations, and University Professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. She is considered among the most influential in ...
and
Kathryn Sikkink Kathryn Sikkink (born 1955) is an author, human rights Human rights are moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was origina ...
distinguish between three types of norms: # Regulative norms: they "order and constrain behavior" # Constitutive norms: they "create new actors, interests, or categories of action" # Evaluative and prescriptive norms: they have an "oughtness" quality to them Finnemore, Sikkink, Jeffrey W. Legro and others have argued that the robustness (or effectiveness) of norms can be measured by factors such as: * The specificity of the norm: norms that are clear and specific are more likely to be effective * The longevity of the norm: norms with a history are more likely to be effective * The universality of the norm: norms that make general claims (rather than localized and particularistic claims) are more likely to be effective * The prominence of the norm: norms that are widely accepted among powerful actors are more likely to be effective Christina Horne argues that the robustness of a norm is shaped by the degree of support for the actors who sanction deviant behaviors; she refers to norms regulating how to enforce norms as "metanorms." According to Beth G. Simmons and Hyeran Jo, diversity of support for a norm can be a strong indicator of robustness. They add that institutionalization of a norm raises its robustness. It has also been posited that norms that exist within broader clusters of distinct but mutually reinforcing norms may be more robust. Jeffrey Checkel argues that there are two common types of explanations for the efficacy of norms: *
Rationalism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, ...
: actors comply with norms due to coercion, cost-benefit calculations, and material incentives *
Constructivism Constructivism may refer to: Art and architecture * Constructivism (art), an early 20th-century artistic movement that extols art as a practice for social purposes * Constructivist architecture, an architectural movement in Russia in the 1920s an ...
: actors comply with norms due to social learning and socialization According to Peyton Young, mechanisms that support normative behavior include: *
Coordination Coordination may refer to: * Coordination (linguistics) In linguistics, coordination is a complex syntactic In linguistics, syntax () is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of Sentence (linguistics), sentence ...
*
Social pressure Peer pressure is the direct or indirect influence on people of peer group, peers, members of social groups with similar interests, experience, or social status. Members of a peer group are more likely to influence a person's beliefs and behavior. ...
*
Signaling In signal processing Signal processing is an electrical engineering subfield that focuses on analysing, modifying, and synthesizing signals such as audio signal processing, sound, image processing, images, and scientific measurements. Sig ...
* Focal points


Descriptive versus injunctive

Descriptive norms depict what happens, while injunctive norms describe what ''should'' happen. Cialdini, Reno, and Kallgren (1990) define a descriptive norm as people's perceptions of what is commonly done in specific situations; it signifies what most people do, without assigning judgment. The absence of trash on the ground in a parking lot, for example, transmits the descriptive norm that most people there do not
litter Litter consists of waste products that have been discarded incorrectly, without consent, at an unsuitable location. Litter can also be used as a verb; to litter means to drop and leave objects, often man-made, such as aluminum can upAluminum f ...

litter
. An Injunctive norm, on the other hand, transmits group approval about a particular behavior; it dictates how an individual ''should'' behave.Rivis, Amanda, Sheeran, Paschal. "Descriptive Norms as an Additional Predictor in the Theory of Planned Behaviour: A Meta-Analysis". 2003 Watching another person pick up trash off the ground and throw it out, a group member may pick up on the injunctive norm that he ought to not litter.


Prescriptive and proscriptive norms

Prescriptive norms are unwritten rules that are understood and followed by society and indicate what we should do. Expressing gratitude or writing a Thank You card when someone gives you a gift represents a prescriptive norm in American culture. Proscriptive norms, in contrast, comprise the other end of the same spectrum; they are similarly society's unwritten rules about what one should not do. These norms can vary between cultures; while kissing someone you just met on the cheek is an acceptable greeting in some European countries, this is not acceptable, and thus represents a proscriptive norm in the United States.


Subjective

Subjective norms are determined by beliefs about the extent to which important others want a person to perform a behavior. Social influences are conceptualized in terms of the pressure that people perceive from important others to perform, or not to perform, a behavior.


Mathematical representations

Over the last few decades, several theorists have attempted to explain social norms from a more theoretical point of view. By quantifying behavioral expectations graphically or attempting to plot the logic behind adherence, theorists hoped to be able to predict whether or not individuals would conform. The return potential model and game theory provide a slightly more economic conceptualization of norms, suggesting individuals can calculate the cost or benefit behind possible behavioral outcomes. Under these theoretical frameworks, choosing to obey or violate norms becomes a more deliberate, quantifiable decision.


Return potential model

Developed in the 1960s, the return potential model provides a method for plotting and visualizing group norms. In the regular coordinate plane, the amount of behavior exhibited is plotted on the X-axis (label ''a'' i
Figure 1
while the amount of group acceptance or approval gets plotted on the Y-axis (''b'' in Figure 1). The graph represents the potential return or positive outcome to an individual for a given behavioral norm. Theoretically, one could plot a point for each increment of behavior how much the group likes or dislikes that action. For example, it may be the case that among first-year graduate students, strong social norms exist around how many daily cups of coffee a student drinks. If the return curve in Figure 1 correctly displays the example social norm, we can see that if someone drinks 0 cups of coffee a day, the group strongly disapproves. The group disapproves of the behavior of any member who drinks fewer than four cups of coffee a day; the group disapproves of drinking more than seven cups, shown by the approval curve dipping back below zero. As seen in this example, the return potential model displays how much group approval one can expect for each increment of behavior. * Point of maximum return. The point with the greatest y-coordinate is called the point of maximum return, as it represents the amount of behavior the group likes the best. While ''c'' in Figure 1 is labeling the return curve in general, the highlighted point just above it at X=6, represents the point of maximum return. Extending our above example, the point of maximum return for first-year graduate students would be 6 cups of coffee; they receive the most social approval for drinking exactly that many cups. Any more or any fewer cups would decrease the approval. * Range of tolerable behavior. Label ''d'' represents the range of tolerable behavior, or the amount of action the group finds acceptable. It encompasses all the positive area under the curve. In Figure 1, the range of tolerable behavior extends is 3, as the group approves of all behavior from 4 to 7 and 7-4=3. Carrying over our coffee example again, we can see that first-years only approve of having a limited number of cups of coffee (between 4 and 7); more than 7 cups or fewer than 4 would fall outside the range of tolerable behavior. Norms can have a narrower or wider range of tolerable behavior. Typically, a narrower range of behavior indicates a behavior with greater consequences to the group. * Intensity. The intensity of the norm tells how much the group cares about the norm, or how much group
affect Affect may refer to: * Affect (education) * Affect (linguistics), attitude or emotion that a speaker brings to an utterance * Affect (philosophy) * Affect (psychology), the experience of feeling or emotion ** Affect display, signs of emotion, such ...
is at stake to be won or lost. It is represented in the return potential model by the total amount of area subsumed by the curve, regardless of whether the area is positive or negative. A norm with low intensity would not vary far from the x-axis; the amount of approval or disapproval for given behaviors would be closer to zero. A high-intensity norm, however, would have more extreme approval ratings. In Figure 1, the intensity of the norm appears high, as few behaviors invoke a rating of indifference. * Crystallization. Finally, norm crystallization refers to how much variance exists within the curve; translated from the theoretical back to the actual norm, it shows how much agreement exists between group members about the approval for a given amount of behavior. It may be that some members believe the norm more central to group functioning than others. A group norm like how many cups of coffee first years should drink would probably have low crystallization since a lot of individuals have varying beliefs about the appropriate amount of caffeine to imbibe; in contrast, the norm of not plagiarizing another student's work would likely have high crystallization, as people uniformly agree on the behavior's unacceptability. Showing the overall group norm, the return potential model in Figure 1 does not indicate the crystallization. However, a return potential model that plotted individual data points alongside the cumulative norm could demonstrate the variance and allow us to deduce crystallization.


Game theory

Another general formal framework that can be used to represent the essential elements of the social situation surrounding a norm is the
repeated gameIn game theory Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction among Rational agent, rational decision-makers.Roger B. Myerson, Myerson, Roger B. (1991). ''Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict,'' Harvard University Press, p ...
of game theory. Rational choice, a branch of game theory, deals with the relations and actions socially committed among rational agents. A norm gives a person a
rule of thumb ''Rule of thumb'' is an approximate method for doing something, based on practical experience rather than theory. This usage of the phrase can be traced back to the seventeenth century and has been associated with various trades where quantities we ...
for how they should behave. However, a
rational Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογι ...

rational
person acts according to the rule only if it is beneficial for them. The situation can be described as follows. A norm gives an
expectation Expectation or Expectations may refer to: Science * Expectation (epistemic) * Expected value, in mathematical probability theory * Expectation value (quantum mechanics) * Expectation–maximization algorithm, in statistics Music * Expectation (alb ...
of how other people act in a given situation (macro). A person acts optimally given the expectation (micro). For a norm to be
stable A stable is a building in which livestock Livestock are the domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and car ...
, people's actions must reconstitute the expectation without change (micro-macro feedback loop). A set of such correct stable expectations is known as a
Nash equilibrium In game theory, the Nash equilibrium, named after the mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr., is the most common way to define the solution concept, solution of a non-cooperative game involving two or more players. In a Nash equilibrium, each player ...
. Thus, a stable norm must constitute a Nash equilibrium. Bicchieri, Cristina. 2006. The Grammar of Society: The Nature and Dynamics of Social Norms, New York: Cambridge University Press, Ch. 1 In the Nash equilibrium, no one actor has any positive incentive in individually deviating from a certain action. Social norms will be implemented if the actions of that specific norm come into agreement by the support of the Nash equilibrium in the majority of the game theoretical approaches.Voss 2001, p. 105 From a game-theoretical point of view, there are two
explanation An explanation is a set of statements Statement or statements may refer to: Common uses *Statement (computer science)In computer programming Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program to ac ...
s for the vast variety of norms that exist throughout the world. One is the difference in games. Different parts of the world may give different environmental contexts and different people may have different values, which may result in a difference in games. The other is
equilibrium selectionEquilibrium selection is a concept from game theory Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction among Rational agent, rational decision-makers.Roger B. Myerson, Myerson, Roger B. (1991). ''Game Theory: Analysis of Co ...
not explicable by the game itself. Equilibrium selection is closely related to
coordination Coordination may refer to: * Coordination (linguistics) In linguistics, coordination is a complex syntactic In linguistics, syntax () is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of Sentence (linguistics), sentence ...
. For a simple example, driving is common throughout the world, but in some countries people drive on the right and in other countries people drive on the left (see
coordination gameA coordination game is a type of simultaneous game found in game theory Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction among Rational agent, rational decision-makers.Roger B. Myerson, Myerson, Roger B. (1991). ''Game Th ...
). A framework called comparative institutional analysis is proposed to deal with the game theoretical structural understanding of the variety of social norms.


See also


References


Further reading

* * Appelbaum, R. P., Carr, D., Duneir, M., Giddens, A. (2009). Conformity, Deviance, and Crime. ''Introduction to Sociology,'' New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., p. 173. * * Bicchieri, C. (2006). ''The Grammar of Society: The Nature and Dynamics of Social Norms'', New York: Cambridge University Press. * * Boyd, R. & Richerson, P.J. (1985). ''Culture and the Evolutionary Process,'' Chicago: University of Chicago Press. * * * * * Durkheim, E. (1915). ''The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life,'' New York: Free Press. * * * Fine, G.A. (2001). ''Social Norms'', ed. by Michael Hechter and Karl-Dieter Opp, New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation. * * Hechter, M. & Karl-Dieter Opp, eds. (2001). ''Social Norms'', New York: Russell Sage Foundation. * Heiss, J. (1981). "Social Roles," In ''Social Psychology: Sociological Perspectives,'' Rosenburg, M. & Turner, R.H. (eds.), New York: Basic Books. * Hochschild, A. (1989). "The Economy of Gratitude," In D.D. Franks & E.D. McCarthy (Eds.), ''The Sociology of Emotions: Original Essays and Research Papers'', Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. * Horne, C. (2001). "Social Norms". In M. Hechter & K. Opp (Eds.), New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation. * * * Kohn, M.L. (1977). ''Class and Conformity: A Study in Values,'' 2nd ed., Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. * * * * * * Posner, E. (2000). Law and Social Norms. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press * * * Scott, J.F. (1971). ''Internalization of Norms: A Sociological Theory of Moral Commitment,'' Englewoods Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice–Hall. * Ullmann-Margalit, E. (1977). ''The Emergence of Norms''. Oxford: Oxford University Press. * * Young, H.P. (2008). "Social norms". ''
The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics ''The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics'' (2018), 3rd ed., is an twenty-volume reference work on economics Economics () is a social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, ...
'', 2nd Edition.


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Norm (Sociology) Conformity Consensus reality Social concepts
Sociological terminology This category relates to sociological Sociology is the study of society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or s ...
Social agreement Folklore