Norms refer to group behavior standard, beliefs, attitudes, traditions and expectations shared by group members. According to Michael Argyle, “Group norms are rules or guidelines of accepted behavior which are established by a group and used to monitor the behavior of its members”. They are framed to achieve objectives of the group. They can be social and fair in nature. Norms define boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. They make the members to identify themselves with the group. Norms play a significant role in disciplining the members of a group to make them to work regularly and properly. This reduces absenteeism and employee turnover. The members of the group are expected follow the norms strictly. This will make the group more organized
Types of Group Norms
There are two types of group norms, which arc as follows:
- Behavior norms: Behavior norms are rules that standardise how individuals act while working on a day-to-day basis. Examples are. “do not come to committee meetings unless you have read the reports to be ‘”discussed”‘, “greet every customer with a smile”, etc. These norms tend to reflect motivation, commitment to the organization and therefore result in high level of performance.
- Performance norms: Performance norms are rules that standardize employee output and number of hours worked.
Reasons for Strong Enforcement of Norms
Groups don’t have the time or energy, to regulate each and every action of the group members. Only those behaviors that sound to-be important by group members should be brought under control.
Groups, like individuals, try to operate in such a way that they maximize their chances of task success and minimize (heir chances of task failure. Groups want to facilitate their performance and overcome barriers to reach their goals. Moreover, groups want to increase morale and prevent any interpersonal discomfort to their members. Norms that will help groups meet these aims of performing successfully and keeping morale high are likely to be strongly enforced.
Conditions where group norms will be strongly enforced are as follows:
- If the norms facilitate group success or ensure group survival,
- If the norms simplify or predict regarding the behavior which is expected from group members.
- If the norms emphasize the roles of specific members within a group and
- If the norms help the group to solve the inter-personal problems themselves.
Uniqueness of Group Norms
The norms of one group cannot be easily mixed with another group. Some differences are primarily due to the difference in structure of the groups. However, even very similar work groups may develop different norms-. The members of one group may be friendly with their supervisor whereas those of another group may not
Norms have the power to force a certain degree of conformity. There are several factors consist of norm conformity, which are as follows:
- Some groups may exert more pressure for conformity than others because of the personalities of the group members.
The history of the group and its members also plays a part in conformity. For example, if the group has always been successful by following certain behaviors, new group members are also asked to follow the same. If the group was not successful in the past, a new group member may have greater freedom to exhibit other behaviors.
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