Norms, values and beliefs vary widely across cultures. All cultures are driven by guidelines that direct or conduct particular situations. These guidelines are what are known as norms. Norms are abstract (not written down) guides for behaviour in certain situations. For example the way we dress. Values, unlike norms, provide specific codes of conduct. A value is a belief that something is good and desirable (Haralambus etal 2000). In our Jamaican culture, we have a saying that, "belief kills and belief cures-. A belief is what we know to be true and is strongly adhered to. Religion is one such example. .
This paper will examine norms, values and beliefs and how they influence our actions. It will also look at how these variables, exist in organizations and how beneficial they are to its success.
Talcott Parsons of the functionalist school of thought says that, "values provide a general conception of what is desirable and worthwhile, that they are fundamental standards of a given society and that they have a wide influence on social conduct and organization. For example, in a society, students commitment to work hard and excel at their studies are values that would be considered important. Success, ambition and determination are also values.
While values are the general standards which govern social action and behaviour, norms are specific guidelines that govern social action. Norms define the behaviors that people in the society regard as correct, just and customary. As a consequence, norms ensure that to some extent behaviour is standardized and orderly. Different cultural values produce different cultural norms.
In most societies, norms guide the mode of dress which varies from society to society. There are specific modes of dress depending on the occasion. For example, a mode of dress for working in an office, for going to the beach and for formal occasions. There are also different modes of dress depending on one's age or personal characteristics.