How do group norms and statuses affect individual behavior?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In the field of organizational behavior it is actually the effect on individual behavior that is under study. The field intends to correlate the manner in which rules and expectations influence the decision making choices of each member within the organization.

Group norms are specific parameters, or limitations, within which each member of a group is expected behave personally and towards others. This is done to set the tone of the group; if the group is going to be serious and goal-oriented, discipline and rules are a must. If the tone of the group is casual and lively, then the norms are more lenient. In this manner, group norms affect by setting up the boundaries and the tone of the role of each individual within the group.

Statuses constitute the chain of command that enforces group norms and that sets and maintains the group tone. The upper ranking members of an organization evaluate performance, and confirm whether the organizational mission is being carried out or not. They also should serve as supporters and models to their peers and as examples to those below their own status in the group. In this way, statuses affect individual behavior because statuses represent leverage within the organization; the more leverage someone has, the more influential their control. Therefore, more evident boundaries are created from person to person once a role becomes delineated. These boundaries ultimately affect the dynamics and interaction within the group.

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thetall | (Level 3) Educator

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In organization behavior, groups are formed based on some standards and rules. These standards and rules form part of the group’s norms and will affect individual behavior because each person is expected to conform to the set of standards and/ or rules. These norms will determine how an individual works within the organization or group. The norms may be presented through different aspects of the working group and include the following:

  • Social norms determine how an individual acts or behaves when in the company of colleagues. The individual will likely reflect the social values and traits of the group.
  • Performance norms determine an individual’s input and output within the working group. The individual will likely perform a set of roles and duties as expected by members of the group to ensure his or her overall task is accomplished.

Status determines the rank and file of an individual within an organization or a group. For instance, a team leader is expected to perform certain duties that will show and confirm their level of authority within the group. Thus, the team leader’s position will require assertiveness, which would affect the individual's behavior.

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