Being someone who is British but has also had a strong American upbringing, I wish to discuss a norm, which I feel is common to both cultures. A definition of norms is “customary rules of behavior that coordinate our interactions with others. Once a particular way of doing things becomes established as a rule, it continues in force because we prefer to conform to the rule given the expectation that others are going to conform.” (Lewis, 1969).
The norm I wish to discuss is the act of queuing. In both the UK and America, queuing is a big thing, whether it’s at the shops, in a restaurant or even waiting for a bus. People can get very upset about people pushing in or “taking cuts,” as its sometimes called.
Now what is the point of this norm of behavior, well Shaule offers a few explanations. One is that it is part of creating a successful interaction between people who don’t speak the same language or come from the same culture. Another is the soccer analogy, that even when there are different rules, as long as the different rules don’t cause conflict between people, however if they do not then one of the people will have to come around to following the rule of create more conflict by not appreciating the social norm. So this norm of standing in a queue could be an attempt to bring people who are not culturally coequal together or allow people from other cultures to understand our own culture better.
From following this kind of norm, it reinforces this notion that following norms keeps order and keeps people happy. Fons Trompenaurs and Charles Hampden-Turner have created a framework to explain this idea called the cultural onion model. It attempts to explain cultural differences in terms of fundamental challenges that humans face when organizing social communities. They feel that social norms are a way of a cultural group finding a solution to a problem or problems that arise from living and communicating with each other.
Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner also…