Friday, April 23, 2010

Group Norms


Normal; of and/or pertaining to the norms.
Norms; prevalent characteristics of a demographic subset.

Take a group of people, perhaps in a corporation or company--accounting, marketing, or the most affable of all, sales. Your choice.

Take three groups in one, or one group from each of three. Now let's take a look at what we have.

a. The group eats in the same restaurant every Friday and splits the check with each person paying his or her own share. (Sounds like the accounting department.)

b. The second group never eats in the same restaurant twice. The bill is divided evenly among the members of the group. (Sounds like marketing.)

c. In the third group, each week a different member picks the restaurant and picks up the tab for all. (Sounds like sales.)

Each group, for the purposes of this discussion, has group norms:

  • how to decide where to eat
  • how to divide the bill

These are the prevalent characteristics of the three demographic subsets. (My satirical remarks not withstanding.)

These are the "norms of the group".

An essential aspect to the cohesion of the groups is the individuals' embracing the norms of the group.This dos not now, nor has it ever been claimed to be, an objective right or wrong; good or bad; superior or inferior. These examples do, however, demonstrate a difference or differences. Diversity, if you will. And diversity is firmly rooted in the word diverse.

Successful management will recognize these factors and do little or nothing to disrupt them. The personnel problems arise when a member of one group moves to another group. An essential to employee orientation is to convey the concept of norms and to be certain new employees understand them.




Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

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