Social Norms and Their Function in Society

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 1
Words: 337
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: College


The social norms are codes of interaction because they clearly explain the role of an individual or person in different scenarios and distinguish between right and wrong. On the one hand, they guide people’s engagement patterns, and on the other hand, they differentiate between human and animal behavior and develop through social processes. Norms are not formal rules in society, but they can play a crucial role in imposing social control. Social norms can create a unity that allows people to connect with other individuals within a particular culture. The individual may have accepted some rules from a specific culture or group of people.

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Functions of Social Norms

There are several essential functions of social norms in society. First is controlling behavior: Social norms control people’s behavior because they provide a predetermined pattern for behavior. When these defined patterns are socially accepted, people should follow them. According to Crandall et al. (2018), social norms greatly influence how people act. Another function of social norms is that people’s behavior becomes more systematic and predictable. Harmony develops among group members of society, and certain rules can be applied to regulate them. It shows that the law and order of society can be set through patterned social behavior. The structure of society is maintained by social norms that create social control and maintain social order. It allows people to study what is vital for the survival of group behavior. Order and control also contribute to social integration by strengthening social cohesion and solidarity.

Cultural Norms of Society

The cultural norms of society are the standards by which most people live. They are the shared expectations and standards that people in social groups follow to influence their behavior. Cultural norms are learned and strengthened through parents, friends, teachers, and more as we grow in society. One example of cultural norms is that younger people should respect older people. In some cultures, when a younger person disrespectfully speaks to the older person, it is considered a norm-breaking behavior in that society.


Crandall, C.S., Miller, J.M. & White, M.H. (2018). Changing norms following the 2016 US presidential election: The Trump effect on prejudice. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 9(2), pp.186-192. Web.