How Do I Define Normative Behavior?

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Normative behavior is defined as the standard of correctness that follows the rules of society, according to A system of norms elucidates what is acceptable behavior in a group of people. Stanford University states that norms are observable, recurring patterns of behavior that help a social group function without devolving into chaos.

Normative behaviors carry the expectation that other people follow prescribed patterns. Normative behavior correlates to action; that is, a society's norms compel people to act in certain ways in certain situations. These patterns do not necessarily mean everyone follows these behaviors, but it defines what people should do in a society. Normative behavior has two facets—one is internalized behavior and the other is what behavior is expected in someone else.

How or why these norms develop is complex and unknown. Measuring norms and how people react to them is qualitative as they change very slowly over time.

The opposite of normative behavior is deviance, according to Blackwell Reference Online. Deviance is defined by a violation of normative behavior that elicits a negative response from one's social group. The punitive measures taken against the deviant member can be minor or major, depending upon the severity of the violation. These reactions put pressure on group members to comply with normative behavior.