Norms are the expectations of a certain culture on how to behave in a particular situation. These norms are very important because it promotes order within a group. With norms, people know how to act and one will be able to predict outcomes of social interactions because of the consistent nature of these norms (Andersen and Taylor, 2005) Norms may be implicit or explicit. Explicit norms are written or spoken openly. Implicit norms are those that need not be stated but are enforced.
The violation of norms- both implicit and explicit, carry with them corresponding sanctions. Punishment for violation of explicit norms may be prescribed and made known through written instruments or verbalized by members of the group. The violation of implicit norms, though lacking in formality as in explicit norms because they are not often stated openly, may still be as harsh, or even more so, than the violation of explicit norms (Deutch and Gerard, 1955). On the other hand, adherence with the norms also includes rewards that may be openly or implicitly stated.
These norms prescribe behavior of different people upon the basis of the role that they play in the society or in a certain group. These roles likewise, may be both explicit and implicit. All these concepts came into play when I joined and became an officer in a Marketing Association. The organization had a code of by-laws and conduct that prescribes the tasks of officers in the department that they are assigned. My explicit role therein is that of a marketing officer and the explicit norms were the codified rules in the Association’s handbook.
Since officers were tasked to handle accounts of the association for its numerous fund-raising projects, it was imperative for us to ensure the integrity of the data we handled, as well as full disclosure and remittance of profits held in behalf of the association. This is done so as to keep the members honest, as well as the proper amounts due to the association be submitted to finance it projects. Specific sanctions for transgression of the association’s rules ranging from suspension to expulsion from the group were also included in the handbook- that were enforced by leaders of the group, in cases that came before it.
There are also implicit roles that were required of us as leaders and members of a business association for students. The officers, being seen as having more authority than the rest, are required to embody the image that the group projects that which is very professional. Thus, although it is not prescribed in the members’ handbook, we are expected to always come in meetings and gatherings in impeccable business attire, to convey the corporate image of the association, which is our implicit role.
These implicit norms of power dressing, though not openly stated, are already understood to be rules that have to be followed. Looks of disapproval and difference in treatment by the members are the sanctions to violation of such implicit norms. And though they are not enforced formally by the group, they still serve as threat to punishment, that members, most of the time, adhere to these norms. These methods of formal and informal sanctioning have mostly positive effects in that it may increase the group’s productivity.
The members and officers become more honest in remitting all the payments to the company which will inure for its benefit, largely because they do not want to face the consequences that would befall them if they do otherwise. Also, ‘power dressing’ becoming almost secondary nature to members and officers of the association, would enhance the association image whenever they deal with prospective companies or partners in their alliances in projects which would definitely help in building a bigger clientele base in the future.
Success in the business world revolves in the importance of establishing a good reputation and image, and positive word-of-mouth referrals would bolster the association’s ability to get more partnerships with companies in the long run. This undoubtedly shows the importance of norms in group and public life. REFERENCE LIST Andersen, Margaret & Howard Francis Taylor (2005). Sociology. US: Cengage Learning. Deutch, M. and Gerard, H. B. (1955). A study of normative and informational social influence upon judgment. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51, 629-636.