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social norm

noun

an expected form of behavior in a given situation

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Encyclopedia Article for social norm

norm

rule or standard of behaviour shared by members of a social group. Norms may be internalized-i.e., incorporated within the individual so that there is conformity without external rewards or punishments, or they may be enforced by positive or negative sanctions from without. The social unit sharing particular norms may be small (e.g., a clique of friends) or may include all adult members of a society. Norms are more specific than values or ideals: honesty is a general value, but the rules defining what is honest behaviour in a particular situation are norms

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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