Do as we say and as we do: The interplay of descriptive and injunctive group norms in the attitude-behaviour relationship
Smith, Joanne, R.
Louis, Winnifred, R.
University of Exeter
University of Queensland
British Journal of Social Psychology
British Psychological Society
Past research on the social identity approach to attitude-behaviour relations has operationalized group norms as a mixture of both descriptive information (i.e. what most people do themselves) and injunctive information (i.e. what most people approve of). Two experiments (Study 1=185 participants; Study 2=238 participants) were conducted to tease apart the relative effects of descriptive and injunctive group norms. In both studies, university students' attitudes towards current campus issues were obtained, the descriptive and injunctive group norms were manipulated, and participants' post-manipulation attitudes, behavioural willingness, and behaviour were assessed. Study 2 also examined the role of norm source (i.e. in-group vs. out-group injunctive and descriptive norms). In both studies, the injunctive and descriptive in-group norms interacted significantly to influence attitudes, behavioural willingness, and behaviour. Study 2 revealed that out-group norms were largely ineffective. The research illustrates that in-groups interactively influence decisions, not only by what they say, but also by what they do, and asserts the value of considering the interaction of descriptive and injunctive norms in accounts of normative influence.
This is the author's post-print version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in the British Journal of Social Psychology. Reproduced with permission from the British Journal of Social Psychology © The British Psychological Society 2008. The definitve version is available at: http://www.bpsjournals.co.uk/journals/bjsp/
British Journal of Social Psychology, 47 (4), December 2008, pp. 647-666