Difference Between Norms and Values

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: June 03, 2023


Difference Between Norms and Values

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In our society, when we talk about norms and values, we know how important these are for us and their significance. So, values and norms are important elements, and both are related to one another. These terms sound different, and they are different but related terms. Norms and values are simply about accepting what is right and wrong, assumptions, and what is undesirable or desirable.

We are not very confused when talking about norms and values, but we don't know what the meaning of values and norms is. We use these words in different realms, but again, we use them spontaneously wherever we feel it is good. But this is not the way to understand these two terms. This article will help you understand the meaning and differences between norms and values.

Norms vs. Values

When we talk about norms and values, the basic difference is the accepted standards of behavior are the norm, whereas values are those principles that help us identify what is right and what is wrong. There are various standards related to behavior that help maintain stability and order in society. These standards can be identified as "norms." But the abstract concept comes out as helping in deciding the right thing: values. It can be said to be "general guidelines," but norms are specified guidelines.

The norms defined as "standard rules." These rules are accepted and considered by society. Although values are also considered important. So, values are the things to which society gives importance.

Difference between norms and values in tabular form

Parameters of comparisonNormsValues
MeaningNorms are defined as those behaviors that are in the correct form and accepted by society.           Various criteria exist in our society, and based on those criteria, we make our decisions. These criteria are known as "values" in society.
What are norms and values?Various standards are established by norms. We aspire to these standardsA person believes in various principles and is rigid on those principles. These principles are values.
Guidelines for Norms and ValuesNorms are specific guidelines.           Values are the general guidelines
Criteria for values and normsNorms must be complied with.Values must exemplified
Personal vs. socialNorms are agreed upon and accepted by society.Values are agreed upon, accepted, and believed by individuals.

What are Norms?

Norms are the guidelines, precepts, and standards that specify how a person should behave, perceive, or feel in particular circumstances. In different contexts, whether official or informal, it prescribes behavior and prevents it. It covers many topics, such as when, how, and who we should talk to and when we can lie.

Through the internalization process, norms are enforced. People internalize social standards, making them a part of their identity. They act this way because they think it is the proper and moral thing to do. And for that reason, when they deviate from any standard, individuals feel guilty.

Additionally, norms contribute to stability and order in society. Most people aspire to belong to and be accepted by society; those who do not adhere to societal standards risk isolation and social rejection. This is how the community ensures that people abide by the rules. Furthermore, rather than through formal education, we often learn social standards through experience and observation.

These are the standards of behavior that are used to evaluate a person's actions. These are rules to help us better control our behavior and that of others.


All the norms are not significant:Different sanctions generally drive norms. So, these are derived from rewards and punishments. But all norms don't carry equal importance. These are different in quality. Anyone breaking norms is sometimes punished too. although they are not equally significant.

Diverse: These are incredibly diverse, not just in terms of the items but also in terms of significant traits in many communities and historical eras. There are a few standards that are widely recognized and adhered to. There are also certain conventions that a small number of groups adhere to. Moreover, through socialization and identification in the early years of life, we pick some standards. There are certain conventions as well that we pick up later in life.

Value judgment: group members behave consistently in a particular way. Social norms are to explain these patterns. It is based on societal norms, which are frequently upheld by moral principles.

Generalized: Norms can be both generalized and generalizable to a significant extent. It seeks the proper course of action and refers to a broad justification for the properness of the activity.

In connection with the real world, norms must accurately depict the relationship between actual occurrences to be successful. It must take actual circumstances into account.

Emerge in connection with any type of human activity: Norms may develop concerning any kind of human activity. Norms might relate to how we feel, think, perceive, judge, etc. Therefore, there are precise and impartial standards for conducting scientific research and evaluating genres.

Learned: During the socialization process, which involves interacting with a variety of people, people pick up norms from one another. Thus, two or more people may share the same norms.

Types of Norms

Technical standards: These standards relate to the best ways to achieve particular objectives. It specifies the appropriate responses to deal with environmental, physical, biological, and social factors.

Hedonic standards are intended to gratify a person's need for attachment and pleasure.

Personality Integrative Norms: When a person must choose between different personal goals and satisfaction norms that promote personality integration influence the decision.

Institutional norms are specific, strictly followed standards that regulate behavior. Since everyone is aware of and agrees with these rules, you may find them in every group or community. Such principles are also taught to people early in life and are supported by lawful authorities.

What are the values?

When we define values, we explain them as the principles that help us determine what is wrong and right. It defines the benchmarks that help us decide what is important or valuable for us. So it helps us to make decisions about what is right and wrong or about things that are more or less important to us.

Values for someone are various interpretations that may be personal to them. These could be a specific act, good, moral, any system, etc. So, these are desirable and acceptable. Values are neither written anywhere nor spelled out. But these can be observed in the behavior of an individual.

With time, we often lose out on our various values, but at the same time, we craft some value deeper inside ourselves. It says that the existence of values is the deciding factor in the existence of society.

Moral and normative support are the factors that guide many individuals, who are generally served by values. And we already know that it influences right and wrong decisions. Hence, these are very high-order norms.

Types of values:

The Values can simply be bifurcated into two parts.

Positive Values: Positive values are those values that are related to integrity, honesty, one's respect for others, wise thoughts, etc. It has positive notions.

Negative Values: Negative values are those values that can be classified as negative, and these are dishonesty, theft, disrespect, etc. It consists of negative notions.

Characteristics of values

  • The values of an individual contain judgment and are associated with morality in society. It includes the beliefs of individuals, and based on this, we can understand the characteristics of values.
  • Values in society are said to be practical, and their valuation is not easy; it requires an understanding of the context.
  • Values provide benchmarks or standards for competency, morality, and an individual's well-being.
  • Values can transcend a particular person or situation.
  • Values are influenced by tradition and combination. Also, by external and internal factors.
  • Values in an individual are permanent.
  • These are closer to a person.
  • We learn our values at the beginning of our lives. We learn it from our friends, family, school beliefs, mass print, and visual media. also from other sources within society.
  • Values are always filled with effective objectives, ideas, thoughts, etc.
  • Values contain various elements. These elements carry an individual's desires, ideas, etc.
  • Values are those elements that can vary from person to person and culture to culture.
  • Values have an important role in the development of human civilization. Fulfillment and integration of the basic desires of a man can be achieved through values.
  • Values are a kind of experience in a society that is made up of an individual's attitude and responses.
  • Values help in integration, building societies, and social relations.
  • Values help shape the cultural depth and personality of an individual.
  • Values help influence people's behavior. It provides the standards to evaluate others' actions.
  • The social life of a society is governed by the involvement and role of values. To create the day-to-day work of an individual, value plays a significant role.
  • There is a possibility that cultural values may change for someone, but they remain constant throughout their lifetime for most individuals.
  • Social values, which are felt and shared, are an integrated part of our lives. So, these values are our part and build our personality. These values are shared by us with those with whom we usually interact. Hence, values are part of our lives and are felt intensely. These values are associated with our personalities.

Difference between norms and values (in points)

  • Norms and values are affected by society and individuals. So norms generally vary from society to society, and values vary from individual to individual.
  • Norms are those rules that are suitable for a particular situation. Norms are the elements that guide us on how, what, when, and why to do things. But values imply the principles and beliefs of an individual.
  • Norms are various perceptions as to how a person should behave and work consistently in society. On the other hand, values are defined as beliefs that drive individuals to work in society in a certain way. Hence, it drives the behavior of humans.
  • When we understand the concept more deeply, we get to know that norms are dependent on various values. It identifies and predicts human behavior.
  • When we talk about specific guidelines, we mean norms. It's a range of behaviors that are associated with a particular position. However, when we talk about general rules, it is about values. It represents comprehensive ideas.
  • Norms are the rules which are comprehensively accepted in society. But values are slightly different as they are believed and accepted by individuals in society.
  • As norms are said to as found in every society. So, social norms are the basis, and no society can operate without them. On the other hand, no individual can operate without values.
  • Norms in our society are controlled mechanisms, It is the norms alone that society regulates. They perform their duties based on this. Values help individuals work and fulfill their desires in society.


Out of various important elements in our society, norms, and values are some of the most frequently confused terms. These terms are often confused because people don't know what they mean. As we have discussed, norms are explained as behaviors acceptable in a society that is accepted in their correct form.

There is a myriad of criteria that exist in society, and on that basis, we always finalize our decisions. In our society, these criteria are called "values." Some other points are that norms are accepted in society and value the elements that are subject to an individual and accepted by individuals in society. Although, norms and values are words of difference realms. But we should identify the apt use and the logic behind the use of norms and values in different areas.

This is a basic understanding of the concept of norms and values. To make this concept clear, we have discussed various points. It will help you understand the concept of norms and values and the differences between them. We hope you will get all the necessary information about the difference between values and norms.


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"Difference Between Norms and Values." Diffzy.com, 2023. Mon. 02 Oct. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-norms-and-values>.

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