What You Must Know to Differentiate Norms from What’s Normal

Getting past the ‘all things that are normal are norms’ is critical to accurately diagnosing the social norms that do drive a corrupt pattern of behavior (e.g. bribery, sextortion), which in turn is necessary to devise effective strategies. This post offers up four ‘lessons’ to remember when differentiating between what is normal and social norm driven behavior.

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Three Reasons Why Actors Working in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States Must Stop Ignoring Social Norms

By Diana Chigas and Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church. Those of us who work to stop abuse of power – in the form of corruption, criminal activity, violence, state capture, etc. – are increasingly recognizing that social norms are key to achieving sustainable behavior change. We assert that in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS) social norms — the mutual expectations about what is typical and appropriate for members of a group — are even more important. Given their critical role in driving behavioral choices, programming that ignores social norms can have serious negative consequences.

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Anti-Corruption Programs — Know Your Crowd!

Social norms exist within a group. They represent mutual expectations, not just common beliefs, within the group about what is the right way to behave in a particular situation. And it is the approval, disapproval or other social sanction from the members of the group that helps ensure compliance with the norm. Therefore, understanding the group — who is in and who is out — matters for programming.

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The Elementary Problem That Undermines Social Change Programming: A Word of Warning to Anti-Corruption Practitioners

By Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church and Hope Schaitkin. There is increasing interest in understanding the role social norms play in maintaining corrupt patterns of behavior. Research from other fields has shown that social norms can act as the brake on behavior change, thus acting as the block to enduring change. While less is known about how to integrate social norm change into effective anti-corruption programming, other sectors are advancing this practice and anti-corruption practitioners can benefit from what they have learned.

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