Leadership and People Management

Perceptions of the appropriate response to norm violation in 57 societies

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Scientists agree on the importance of norm enforcement for resolving conflicts and promoting cooperation. However, little is known about preferred responses to rule breakers and how they may vary across cultures. We conducted a preregistered study measuring the appropriateness of using confrontation, social ostracism, and gossip in 57 countries across the globe. Cross-national variation exhibited a striking pattern: physical confrontation and social ostracism tended to be viewed as less appropriate in countries with higher median income, more individualistic and liberal values, more gender equality, and looser norms—but at the same time gossip tended to be viewed as more appropriate in these countries. Thus, beliefs about how norms should be enforced vary with culture and seem to shift with economic development. Such differences may affect societies’ ability to achieve norm compliance and pose a challenge to intercultural communication and coordination.
Bibliographic citation: ERIKSSON, K., STRIMLING, P., GELFAND, M., WU, J., ABERNATHY, J., AKOTIA, C. S., ... VAN LANGE, P. A. M. (2021). Perceptions of the appropriate response to norm violation in 57 societies. Nature Communications, 12 (1), Article 1481. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-21602-9.

Reference: 10.1038/s41467-021-21602-9 (DOI)
Date: 01/03/2021
Author(s): K. Eriksson; P. Strimling; M. Gelfand; J. Wu; J. Abernathy; C. S. Akotia; Álvaro San Martín; S. Sherbaji; H. Shimizu; B. Simpson; E. Szabo; K. Takemura; H. Tieffi; M. L. Mendes Teixeira; N. Thanomkul; H. Tiliouine; G. A. Travaglino; Y. Tsirbas; R. Wan; S. Widodo; R. Zein; Q.-P. Zhang; L. Zirganou-Kazolea; P. A. M. Van Lange
Document type: Article in Journal (refereed)
Department: Managing People in Organizations
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Languages: English