Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Social norms-the basis for interaction in a group/s

As should be evident to students of Social Sciences, the basis for all reactions in a group/s is interaction in a given situation, be it managerial by nature or mere exchange of courtesies.This interaction has been defined as the over or covert communication between two actors, wherein each influences or ties to influence reposes or state of mind of the other party in a palatable or socially acceptable manner. Norms again have been classified in tow different categories, viz norms as defined above & the norms carrying social sanctions in the event of their violation/. The latter category of norms is also known as mores. In the event of the violation of the social norms, the deviant is generally looked at askance & the actors convey their approval or disapproval on the basis of yardsticks evolved over ages and existing since times immemorial. For example gentlemen attending a marriage party in three piece suits with a matching necktie are respected, whereas a person walking into such a party half clad in dhoti & a vest confronts a sardonic smile; which conveys nothing but social disapproval.

By the same argument a leader in a group occupies a central position issuing direct or indirect verbal commands & commands through body language; which influences the state of mind of the other members of the group and determines the future pattern of behaviour. Presuming a situation, wherein the commands are confused & the manager is not sure of the message he wants to convey or else his own behaviour is in clear contradiction of the commands he is issuing or trying to issue. The results would be obvious inasmuch as no member of the group is likely to take him seriously & his words would fall on deaf ears. For example, a manager asking his team to display devotion to duty is generally found sipping tea or gossiping during working hours could hardly expect dedication to the cause when he is negligent of his task & duties. Similarly honesty & integrity require that the manager sets the standards thorough his personal example; failing which he is just talking gobbledegoop. It might be added that entrepreneur hires his labour for their inherent worth of displaying quality in their respective performance & such a hiring conforms to value for money approach; which in layman's terms means such an employees personal contribution for stepping- up quantity & quality of production and maintaining it on an even keel for optimising sales & profits. This concept & other concepts should be applicable both to the unskilled and skilled labour (including management). Besides, Management & the existing leadership are looked upto for guidance in difficult & tense managerial situation; failing which the ones serving under their supervisory control start questioning their appointment in terms of their salaries & perks. This becomes a constant pic-prick unless the situation is resolved by rectifying the weaknesses having crept up or existing for some time. If this state is allowed to continue indefinitely, it would be a continuous retardation which could possibly lead to an absolute collapse

Hence the leadership would be well-advised to undertake constant review of their entire gamut of activities as well as the existing commercial environments for providing incentives to the labour and for boosting-up production. An inacapable leadership wouldn't be able to take the team along & take off stage would never be reached unless the leadership displays sensitivity to three Es, viz Economy, Efficiency, and Effectiveness alongwith a selfless devotion & observance of productive norms; particularly the one relating to personal integrity.

Jameel Zaidi

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