Social Norms in Workplace

Written by Sonia Pacheco Mejia on Wednesday, 08 November 2023. Posted in Business Education

Photo by Arlington Research on Unsplash  

There are proper ways of behaving, these sets of expectations often have been set by society. Social norms are the unwritten rules of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that are considered acceptable by a certain community or culture. Norms provide the basic idea of how to function and provider order to society. In a way, human society needs norms to show proper behavior, establish relationships, and understand another way of thinking and acting. Norms are able to provide conformity and influence social understanding. For example, greeting and dress codes can interchange depending on cultures. 

As norms are the way we can function and communicate in society, they also have influence in workplaces. Leaders within an organization can help create an inclusive environment through norms. Here are some examples how norms can be used in the workplace:

  1. Norms can be established to follow the overall company’s mission and values– this helps employees to integrate and fully understand what the company stands for. 
  2. Norms can help a workplace prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion this way an environment can be established where employees can feel valued, protected and represented. 
  3. Regularly analyzing activities and company actions can also assess how the organization can improve. 
  4. A cross-communication culture can also be created, this allows employees to communicate regularly with coworkers without the burden of hindering customs, religions, or culture.

The goal for employers should be to provide an environment where employees can possess strong communication , interpersonal, and problem solving skills. This can easily be achieved if workplaces can maintain a level of professionalism that is also culturally aware. 

Understanding social norms is significant as it can also help you advance professionally. Norms shape the way an individual interacts and contributes to work environments. You are able to advance professionally understand social norms such as: 

  1. Professional Attire: Dressing appropriately for your job is a social norm. Respecting and following the dress code conveys a level of respecting and understanding to your workplace and colleagues.
  2. Effective Communication: Having a clear understanding of norms and cultures can help you build strong work relationships, resolve conflicts, and convey your ideas effectively.
  3. Networking: Building professional networks is another activity that is guided by social norms. Attending events, engaging in small talk, and following up with colleagues can help you create valuable connections that can lead to opportunities.
  4. Work Ethic: Demonstrating strong work ethics by working diligently and going the extra mile is also a social norm. Showing a strong commitment to your work and job can also lead to increased responsibility and promotions.

By aligning your professional behavior with social norms, it can help create positive relationships, a stronger professional identity, and open a variety of opportunities. It is  an authentic way of understanding your own values and conforming to accepted norms. 

About the Author

Sonia Pacheco Mejia

Sonia Pacheco Mejia

Sonia is a Business Education Writer at Girls For Business.

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