Norms have a large impact on what makes a quality group. Without them, the group would basically go to pieces. When a group gets together for the first time there really aren?t any norms relevant. After one or two group meetings norms will start to come up, whether they be explicit or implicit. In this paper, I will prove that norms are a necessity, and often times can?t be restrained, in any group discussion.
A norm is described as a standard that regulates the behavior of all members of a group through feedback directed at members whose behaviors are contrary to that standard. This process goes on sometimes knowingly and some times unknowingly throughout a discussion. It is possible, but seems extremely hard, to have a discussion where no explicit or formal norms apply. When something like this happens and only implicit norms come out there is often confusion. For example, if there is a group of five people with no explicit norms, there tends to be more one-sided conversations, where some people only get to say two words while others are just blabbing away.
When explicit norms come into the equation the group and the discussion tend to run a lot smoother. These norms help provide a better environment for the group by setting standards and/or rules for the group to abide by. Now instead of having only one or two people in the group talking there will tend to be more of equality between the group. The reason being there is a now a set way of proceeding through the discussion. As time goes on the group may find that the explicit rules stick while the implicit rules seem to be more flexible.
Often times members of a group will try to get other members to conform or go along with what others are saying. This is not always done purposefully, but when it happens a few things may have caused it. There may not have been much time left for the discussion; therefore, people in the group want to test the groups implicit norms and try to sway their opinion. Moreover, sometimes people just want to get their way and will not stop until they do. Often this type of ordeal ends up in what is called a groupthink. In this process, poor decisions are made and some group members don?t agree but tend to go along with the others. Many times a situation like this, one that doesn?t allow critical thinking, can be absolved by making strict, explicit norms in the beginning. There still may be pressure to conform, but it lessens the possibility.
There are also times where individuals put their own thoughts aside to get to group goals. This is not proper in the discussion process. When this happens people?s personal opinions are not heard and the final group decision may be one with some falsity to it. With a proper set of norms, everyone should always be heard whether they, themselves think that it will or will not prolong or end the discussion?that?s for the group to decide.
Many people do not realize that group norms relate to individuals yet are applied to everyone in the group. One member does not come in and have something like a list of norms for the group to abide by. The people in the group make these norms together and only those people as a group should really have the authority to bend or break them.