How Group Norms Affect Individual Behavior

Groups are made up of individuals with different norms, values, and cultures but come together to adopt similar norms and ways of doing things. A group’s behavior is what individuals within the society use to identify such a group. The groups’ norms often affect the individual behaviors of the group participants consciously or subconsciously. Various types of norms in groups are likely to affect how individuals behave while as a group or as an individual within such a group. This paper will discuss the impact that group norms have on individual behavior. It will also discuss ways that employees can avoid negative peer pressure and foster positive behavior while operating in a team.

Influence of Group Norms on Individuals

Groups often create a sense of belonging. Individuals who belong to a particular group will be compelled to act in an identifiable way. Therefore, groups exert influence on the individual as it influences their activities within the group or when they are out of the group. In group settings, norms are a basic human social function, and they also distinguish the difference between an outsider and a member of the group. There are ways that the group expects its members to behave, which will stick in the mind of each member.  Groups often form sets of rules and regulations that are used as a way of reflecting their social values. The individual is likely to portray such values and traits and is expected to be confined to the group’s norms (Graupensperger et al., 2020).

An individual subconsciously acts in the manner that the group approves as it creates a sense of togetherness or belonging. Failing to behave in a particular way makes a member alienated from the group. Therefore most individuals find themselves behaving in a particular way to ensure that they remain in the group even though it might be against their will. Groups also behave according to the tasks and roles that they are given within the group. Such roles dictate the type of behavior that they portray, which might be negative or positive. The individuals have to fulfill their tasks to remain relevant within the group, which influences how they behave within a social setting.

There are different types of group norms that influence the behavior of individuals. The first is performance norms centered on how an individual should work or perform within the group. Performance norms create an expectation within a group and therefore encourage certain behavior that helps meet those expectations. Appearance norms guide individuals on how they should look in physical appearance and clothing when in a particular group. It is easy to differentiate between a modern generation and a conventional one.

Social arrangement norms dictate how individuals should act when in social settings.  Such norms help individuals fit in and create closer connections. The influence that norms have on individual behavior indicates that individuals’ behavior often changes as they change their groups.

Avoiding Negative Peer Pressure in the Workplace

Peer pressure is a common thing in the workplace where individuals behave in a particular way, not because they want to but because they work in a group that portrays the behavior. Negative peer pressure often makes individuals feel like they have to conform to the same things as other people in the group to be accepted. That leads to irrational actions that often have negative consequences on their job achievements.

Employees could use various ways to overcome negative peer pressure. The first way is through being direct with what the employee wants. Not wanting to hurt others by saying no often leads to negative peer pressure. Employees should find passive ways of saying ‘no.’ An employee should also stay focused on the set goals and objectives and avoid being derailed. Misdirection often leads to negative peer pressure, which has an impact on the employees’ performance within the organization. Employees should also take a stand about the norms and values that they believe in. They should not surround themselves with people that undermine them and those that do not care about their wellbeing in person or in terms of their jobs.

Employers also have the ability to prevent their employees from pitfalls that are caused by negative peer pressure within the organization. Mentorship programs are the best way of helping employees to fight against the vice. Employers should provide opportunities for employees to interact with other employees in the organization in a higher position to encourage positive behavior in the company (Gutiérrez et al., 2018). The employer should have mentee programs where new employees are put under the guidance of other trusted employees who act according to the company’s culture.

Mentors lead the employees towards achieving their career goals. They are role models, and therefore the employees will emulate their behaviors instead of what everyone else in the organization is doing. Employers must ensure that the mentors they choose for their employees to have the business’s best interest at heart. They must ensure that such mentors help the employees achieve their career goals and promote positive behavior within the company.

Conclusion

Groups often affect the way individuals behave. Groups often have a set of values and norms that they expect their followers to follow. Individuals often tend to adapt to nature and behaviors that are acceptable in the group. Such behavior is positive and negative and influences the overall behavior of individuals. Groups expect their members, and the roles and tasks are given to such members often dictate how they behave. Members also want to feel like part of the group and therefore do anything, even act against their will to fit in such groups.  Employees should avoid peer pressure in the workplace by being assertive and being able to say no to negative behaviors. On the other hand, employers should encourage mentorship programs where highly ranked employees act as role models to others. Group dynamics are important, and employers should be cautious as they affect the behavior of employees.

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