The standard of appreciation and the standard of right and wrong vary from culture to culture and society to society. The tendency of adjustment in a group or society requires the fulfillment of that expectation. If a person fulfills the group expectations will easily be adjusted.
A social situation is created when the interaction processes work among the members. In such situation how the initiator starts his interaction and what the receiving members expect from the initiator, are the roles defined by social norms.
The society expects from its members to abide by the normative behavior of their culture. Culture provides sources of conformity to the norms and an intimidation to their violation. These norms guide our interaction pattern on the one hand and are reproduced during the same process. Without the existence of group’s norms, human behavior cannot be differentiated from animal behavior. Social norms protect our values. Social norms are the boundary walls for values protection.
Definition of Social Norms:
“Social norms are the shared expectations of group members in a social situation or Social norms are the standard of right and wrong in society”
Functions of Social Norms:
The people living in the society develop social norms. These norms have its importance and pay a vital role in the socialization of an individual and molding of personality. There are some important functions of social norms, which play essential part in the smooth of the society. These are given below:
1. Control behavior: Social norms provide a set pattern for our behavior. Within the context of that pattern our behavior acts and works, later on this set pattern becomes custom, when socially approved. Then the people are expected to follow these customs. That pattern i.e. custom becomes the way of life, everyone is expected to follow that way, and therefore it becomes the shared expectations of the group members. For the fear of punishment the people follow these customary ways i.e. norms in their social life. In this way the behavior of the people is controlled.
2. Harmonize the society: Another function is that the behavior of the people becomes systematic and patterned. People do according to the ways provided by the society. In society harmony among members of group is created. Due to harmony of behavior certain laws can be enforce to control them.
3. Law and order: Due to harmony in behavior, law and order can be maintained in society. For a disorderly society no law can work because of the Un-systematic behavior of people.
Types of Social Norms:
Norms of various types and degree of intensity are evolved at various level of society. Social norms are divided into four types given as: Folkways, Custom and Fashion, More, Law.