Understanding the role and influence of social norms: Lessons for NRM

Wendy Minato, Allan Curtis, Catherine Allan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Much has been written about social norms in disciplines such as law and economics but they are less studied in the field of Natural Resource Management (NRM). Although norms are acknowledged to be an influence on decision'making, they are difficult to identify and measure in the field and their role is often implicit or not well understood or articulated. This paper addresses an important knowledge gap by combining social norms theory with the specifics of a particular case study. We examined the influence of social norms on landholder behaviour in a small rural community undergoing demographic change in Australia. Findings from interviews with landholders and government agency personnel indicate that established norms within the farming community are influencing incoming landholders; and that new norms and practices have also emerged as a result of government investment through the local Landcare group. We suggest that a better understanding of social norms in different contexts will give rise to strategies that make NRM interventions moreeffective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-877
Number of pages15
JournalLocal Environment
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


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