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Etymology: the word norm comes from the latin word norma which means "angle measure" or (lawlike) "rule".

In sociology, norm is a technical term describing the expected pattern of behavior in a given situation, the custom. In matters of the mind, one who has common sense is following the norm, is normal. In matters of behavior one who follows the norms of society is a regular guy or a right guy. One who does not is considered eccentric. Important norms are called mores. Violations of mores are punished with severe sanctions.

In social situations (e.g. meetings), norms are unwritten (and often unstated) operating rules that govern people's behavior resulting in a smooth interpersonal meshing. Norms are most evident when they are not followed or are broken. This is often experienced when an individual finds him/herself in a foreign country, dealing with a strange culture where the norms are different.

In some groups, norms are consciously prescribed. For example, in some therapeutic types of groups, the group leader (or the group itself) may adopt such norms as:

  • use I statements
  • what is said here, stays here
  • stay in the here and now

Persons skilled in facilitation assist groups in recognizing norms, as well as establishing norms to promote greater group (or team) effectiveness.

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In mathematics, a norm can be

  1. a map which assigns to every element of a vector space a length. See normed vector space;
  2. the nonnegative integer function in the definition of Euclidean domain.

In psychometrics a norm is a statistical characteristic of a sample used for purposes of comparison. For example, a student's score on a standardized test of academic achievement may be expressed as the percentile rank of that score in a norm group intended to be representative of the population of students.

Norm[?] is also the name of a character in the sitcom "Cheers".

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