In Senior Seminar, we talked a lot about ethics in PR. One of the main points we talked about was social norms theory.

Social norms theory is when people do things just because they think it is the norms. It is somewhat related to the Social learning theory, which is learning behaviors by watching others.

One of the examples we talked about is how students come to college and just assume that it is the social norm to binge drink, so they do it too. However, what is assumed as the social norm, isn’t always the actual norm. Most students will “talk” about drinking because they think it’s “cool” but in reality, not that many students are actually binge drinking.

So next time you catch yourself getting caught up in the social norm, stop yourself and think is that really norm or is it just the assumed norm? What may actually be normal, may not be portrayed as such.


April 1, 2010. PRCA 4335.


  1. aschlum1 replied:

    This post is so true! When you gave the drinking example, I also thought of people smoking cigarettes. Many people act like they like cigarettes or want to smoke cigarettes because they think it is “cool” and it is what everyone else is doing. College students will start a really bad habit because they think it is the social norm. It is important for people to realize what they are thinking and doing before they actually do it because they might change their mind.

  2. Blog Comments « AllieSchlumper's Blog replied:

    […] Kacie Whigham, Ethics, April 13, […]

  3. hhiggs87 replied:

    You make a great point. So many times people act the way they think they are expected to act rather than the way they would actually act. They do what they think others around them would expect them to do. Social norms play a big role in this. You can really see it on a college campus. Like you said, drinking is a prime example. I know a few people who had never drunk in their lives. But when they entered the college setting, the supposed norms took over. They did what they thought was normal for a college student. Like you said, so many times was assume what the norms are rather than actually recognizing them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback URI

%d bloggers like this: