Skip to main content
The Role of Human Agency in the Creation of Normative Influences Within Individuals and Groups
Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment (2008)
  • Cassandra L. Bransford, Binghamton University--SUNY
This article suggests that human agency affects the formation of social norms far more significantly than previously recognized. The article traces the history of normative influence and provides an historical overview of the theoretical foundations and research literature on the study of norms. Traditionally, social scientists viewed norms in linear and deterministic ways. Current researchers generally believe that norms are derived from micro and macro sources and that norms emerge on localized levels through culturally determined, informal hierarchical status relations between and among individuals within groups. This article contends that current theories of normative influence do not adequately account for the role of human agency in the creation of norms. Social scientists have long recognized the effects that norms have on individual and group behavior. Nonetheless, with a new or revised theoretical structure, they might also better understand the role of human agency in the development of norms. Then, social workers, theorists, managers, and group leaders will have the means to support and facilitate the creation of new, more effective, productive, and democratic norms.
  • Human Agency,
  • social norms,
  • individuals,
  • groups
Publication Date
October 12, 2008
Publisher Statement
This is the metadata for an article published by Taylor & Francis in the Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment on October 12, 2008, available online:
Citation Information
Bakken, T., & Bransford, C.L. (2002). The role of human agency in the creation of normative influences within individuals and groups. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 5(2), 89-104.