Jump to content
JWTalk - Jehovah's Witnesses Online Community

Normalization of Deviance


We lock topics that are over 365 days old, and the last reply made in this topic was 1843 days ago. If you want to discuss this subject, we prefer that you start a new topic.

Recommended Posts

Here is some information about ‘Normalization of Deviance’. It’s a quote from an article and I’ve edited the content a little to conserve space but the idea is that we get used to what is wrong until it doesn’t feel wrong any more. I think there are some points here that could be used in service and our own lives.

 

Understanding why people accept bad things isn’t rocket science, oh, wait, yes it is.  :)

_________________________________________________________________________

Author Diane Vaughan is a sociologist known for her book on the Challenger explosion and her role in the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster investigations. Her thesis suggested the root-cause for both disasters were based on organizational dynamics rather than engineering missteps. Considering that NASA/Aerospace engineering is as pure as a scientific pursuit as one can imagine, her applications of the social sciences into the incidents were quite insightful, and of course, her behavioral model carries weight beyond these particularly unfortunate events. Wikipedia highlights an interesting phenomena about both NASA missions:

 

Thermal insulation, the same kind that caused the Columbia disaster,] had been observed falling off, in whole or in part, on many previous flights, plus subsequent flights showing partial losses. NASA management came to refer to this phenomenon as “foam shedding.” As with the O-ring erosion that ultimately doomed the Challenger, NASA management became accustomed to these phenomena when no serious consequences resulted from these earlier episodes.

 

If you have heard of slow boiling frog (Considered to be not true-Richard) – that is normalization of deviance. The danger of negative and slow incremental changes is not only that they are subtle, but they are normalizing! The degradation of standards, habits, and performance continuously reach new (lower) norms. But you’re ability to perceive new norms remains low because incremental shifts generate no direct or strong negative feedback. An example: Missing a day of class couldn’t possibly affect your GPA. Letting a child’s bad behavior occasionally go unpunished should not be character forming. In NASA’s case, they were able to get away with a few failed components every flight, because none ended in disaster. But subtle degradation is disastrous when you approach the long-term. Class attendance drops off over the semester, and suddenly you’re feeling helpless for the impending final. That child becomes a monster. And NASA didn’t have a disaster on its hand, until it did.

 

I think this behavioral model is a lot more powerful than its given credit for or for the limited scope it’s been applied to. The slippage in mortgage lending standards was normalization of deviance. Enron was normalization of deviance. Making friends with the wrong crowd creates normalization of deviance. Bitterness with age is normalization of deviance.

 

Applied to organizations, Vaughan states:

People within the organization become so much accustomed to a deviant behavior that they don't consider it as deviant, despite the fact that they far exceed their own rules for the elementary safety. But it is a complex process with some kind of organizational acceptance. The people outside see the situation as deviant whereas the people inside get accustomed to it and do not. The more they do it, the more they get accustomed.

 

Next time you hear about something disastrous that “all of a sudden happened,” I’m willing to bet there was a trail of deviation from a once high norm. That goes for peoples personal lives as well. Any time I’ve had a moment where I went “how the hell did I get here?” I found myself tracing back the weak signals I missed, and other subtle triggers that were signs of lower standards/performance being normalized.  And I think Vaughan is correct in that people on the outside can see the deviance a lot clearer than yourself, who’s become acclimated. Getting friends to unabashedly evaluate your habits might be an insightful thing to try.

 

I’ll end with a quote from Samuel Johnson, (one of my favorite writers-Richard) that sums up nicely the above:

"The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken."

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is this what the Watchtower has called "gradualizm?"

 

I don't remember that term but the concept is probably the same. I thought it was interesting that people are understanding what happens when you acclimate to circumstances and how it eventually leads to disaster. The concept of Normalization of Deviance is being used in a lot of Safety Awareness seminars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't remember that term but the concept is probably the same. I thought it was interesting that people are understanding what happens when you acclimate to circumstances and how it eventually leads to disaster. The concept of Normalization of Deviance is being used in a lot of Safety Awareness seminars.

 

I'm the safety officer for our fire department and I hear this all the time:

"But we ALWAYS do it that way."

 

I know, for a fact, that "We GRADUALLY did it this way," is more accurate.

 

Not taking a leg-lock on the ladder hasn't hurt anybody YET, so why keep doing it?  Right?  

WRO-ONG!

 

I just commented to a friend on why Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents

generally tell kids, "My!  How you've grown!" :o  

 

Parents never see there own kids come into a room and say that.  

Because kids' growth is so gradual to their parents.

 

Where-as, we distant relatives only get to see the kids in spurts.  

 

Although, with digital cameras and computers and phones

and tablets, and Facebook and such, that distance has been

GREATLY diminished, these days.  ^_^ 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Here is some information about ‘Normalization of Deviance’. It’s a quote from an article and I’ve edited the content a little to conserve space but the idea is that we get used to what is wrong until it doesn’t feel wrong any more. I think there are some points here that could be used in service and our own lives.
 
Understanding why people accept bad things isn’t rocket science, oh, wait, yes it is.  :)
_________________________________________________________________________
Author Diane Vaughan is a sociologist known for her book on the Challenger explosion and her role in the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster investigations. Her thesis suggested the root-cause for both disasters were based on organizational dynamics rather than engineering missteps. Considering that NASA/Aerospace engineering is as pure as a scientific pursuit as one can imagine, her applications of the social sciences into the incidents were quite insightful, and of course, her behavioral model carries weight beyond these particularly unfortunate events. Wikipedia highlights an interesting phenomena about both NASA missions:
 
Thermal insulation, the same kind that caused the Columbia disaster,] had been observed falling off, in whole or in part, on many previous flights, plus subsequent flights showing partial losses. NASA management came to refer to this phenomenon as “foam shedding.” As with the O-ring erosion that ultimately doomed the Challenger, NASA management became accustomed to these phenomena when no serious consequences resulted from these earlier episodes.
 
If you have heard of slow boiling frog (Considered to be not true-Richard) – that is normalization of deviance. The danger of negative and slow incremental changes is not only that they are subtle, but they are normalizing! The degradation of standards, habits, and performance continuously reach new (lower) norms. But you’re ability to perceive new norms remains low because incremental shifts generate no direct or strong negative feedback. An example: Missing a day of class couldn’t possibly affect your GPA. Letting a child’s bad behavior occasionally go unpunished should not be character forming. In NASA’s case, they were able to get away with a few failed components every flight, because none ended in disaster. But subtle degradation is disastrous when you approach the long-term. Class attendance drops off over the semester, and suddenly you’re feeling helpless for the impending final. That child becomes a monster. And NASA didn’t have a disaster on its hand, until it did.
 
I think this behavioral model is a lot more powerful than its given credit for or for the limited scope it’s been applied to. The slippage in mortgage lending standards was normalization of deviance. Enron was normalization of deviance. Making friends with the wrong crowd creates normalization of deviance. Bitterness with age is normalization of deviance.
 
Applied to organizations, Vaughan states:
People within the organization become so much accustomed to a deviant behavior that they don't consider it as deviant, despite the fact that they far exceed their own rules for the elementary safety. But it is a complex process with some kind of organizational acceptance. The people outside see the situation as deviant whereas the people inside get accustomed to it and do not. The more they do it, the more they get accustomed.
 
Next time you hear about something disastrous that “all of a sudden happened,” I’m willing to bet there was a trail of deviation from a once high norm. That goes for peoples personal lives as well. Any time I’ve had a moment where I went “how the hell did I get here?” I found myself tracing back the weak signals I missed, and other subtle triggers that were signs of lower standards/performance being normalized.  And I think Vaughan is correct in that people on the outside can see the deviance a lot clearer than yourself, who’s become acclimated. Getting friends to unabashedly evaluate your habits might be an insightful thing to try.
 
I’ll end with a quote from Samuel Johnson, (one of my favorite writers-Richard) that sums up nicely the above:
"The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken."

 

This is what I look for, when I come on jw talk. These little "gems", that can really get your reasoning powers into high gear.  Well done, Richard!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This just adds to the greatfullness we all have for Jehovah's organization. Most of us have seen it ourselves. Our family not in the truth, and others we may be acquainted with. What was, "deviant" in the past has been mainstreamed. "Alternative lifestyles", are normal, and if you do not go along with the tide, there is a name for you, and it is not one that calls attention to the fact you are a God fearing individual who has standards that do what they can to aliegn us with the God we worship.

Satan is sly. He did not dump all this on us at once. He just made slight inroads here, and there, all aimed at where we are today. Our WT studies have been helping us deal with a Satanic world. We need to pay good attention.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This just adds to the greatfullness we all have for Jehovah's organization. Most of us have seen it ourselves. Our family not in the truth, and others we may be acquainted with. What was, "deviant" in the past has been mainstreamed. "Alternative lifestyles", are normal, and if you do not go along with the tide, there is a name for you, and it is not one that calls attention to the fact you are a God fearing individual who has standards that do what they can to aliegn us with the God we worship.

Satan is sly. He did not dump all this on us at once. He just made slight inroads here, and there, all aimed at where we are today. Our WT studies have been helping us deal with a Satanic world. We need to pay good attention.

 

I really like this paragraph.

 

"People within the organization become so much accustomed to a deviant behavior that they don't consider it as deviant, despite the fact that they far exceed their own rules for the elementary safety. But it is a complex process with some kind of organizational acceptance. The people outside see the situation as deviant whereas the people inside get accustomed to it and do not. The more they do it, the more they get accustomed."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But it can also happen in a positive way such as when a person starts reading the magazines, then studying then coming to the meetings. Slowly his appearance changes for the better and then his personality begins improving and becomes more loving. and so on. 

Good point.

 

"Making friends with the wrong crowd creates normalization of deviance."

 

Making friends with the right people can create normality.  :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One similar phenomenon is when people gradually lose their spirituality.  It is like a person in a canoe on a lake - unless it is tethered, it will slowly move away from the dock. This could happen when the person in the canoe falls asleep, or is just not noticing it. So the counsel is to always do things to correct this gradual floating away, such as study, prayer, preparation and participation in meetings and ministry, self examination, etc.

 

There may have even been a picture illustrating this effect in the literature.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One similar phenomenon is when people gradually lose their spirituality.  It is like a person in a canoe on a lake - unless it is tethered, it will slowly move away from the dock. This could happen when the person in the canoe falls asleep, or is just not noticing it. So the counsel is to always do things to correct this gradual floating away, such as study, prayer, preparation and participation in meetings and ministry, self examination, etc.

 

There may have even been a picture illustrating this effect in the literature.

Exactly. The whole idea of Normalization of Deviance is recognizing the small changes that don't create a problem but will lead to a problem. If someone lets their standards slowly slip like a canoe that is slowly drifting, they may not see the consequences until it is too late. So the idea is to maintain your high standards, no matter what.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One hundred years ago, the celebration of Christmas was illegal in most countries including this one.  But Satan, being the gradualist that he is, made small inroads here and and there to get people and whole countries to finally accept this God dishonoring holiday - he does the same with all of God's high standards, makes sure they are slowly chipped away at -  till what is bad is now good and what is good is now bad. The deviancy (which started out small and has now become great) is now considered the norm. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One hundred years ago, the celebration of Christmas was illegal in most countries including this one.  But Satan, being the gradualist that he is, made small inroads here and and there to get people and whole countries to finally accept this God dishonoring holiday - he does the same with all of God's high standards, makes sure they are slowly chipped away at -  till what is bad is now good and what is good is now bad. The deviancy (which started out small and has now become great) is now considered the norm. 

 

So True! We have seen that with the family arrangement, after the 50's people began freely talking about infidelity in marriages, the 60's people started getting divorces, the 70's ones having sex before marriage was normal, the 80's many couples just lived together than marry and now gay marriage is acceptable whereas just 3 decades ago people would of been aghast if you of told them that this would come true. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One hundred years ago, the celebration of Christmas was illegal in most countries including this one. But Satan, being the gradualist that he is, made small inroads here and and there to get people and whole countries to finally accept this God dishonoring holiday - he does the same with all of God's high standards, makes sure they are slowly chipped away at - till what is bad is now good and what is good is now bad. The deviancy (which started out small and has now become great) is now considered the norm.

I think it was over 150 years ago when Christmas was illegal in the United States. It wasn't illegal nationwide just in primarily protestant controlled areas. Catholics have celebrated some sort of Christmas celebration since Constantine made sun god worship the norm and called it christian.

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it was over 150 years ago when Christmas was illegal in the United States. It wasn't illegal nationwide just in primarily protestant controlled areas. Catholics have celebrated some sort of Christmas celebration since Constantine made sun god worship the norm and called it christian.

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

I believe it was circa 1890 that last state made Christmas legal - Oregon??? or made it not illegal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe it was circa 1890 that last state made Christmas legal - Oregon??? or made it not illegal.

 

So Shalis point was that the legalization of Christmas is just one example of how people and organizations have slowly lowered their standards. The concept of Normalization of Deviance shows how Christmas became a major holiday nearly worldwide.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe it was circa 1890 that last state made Christmas legal - Oregon??? or made it not illegal.

That is what I was thinking too.  The late 1800's is when the whole country accepted the holiday, but still many did not celebrate because they felt it was wrong.  Now even people who aren't Christian celebrate all these so called "christian" holidays like x-mas, halloween and easter.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

So, then that principle about "normalization could explain the some of the apathy we see when we try to reason with people, about the time of the end? Applying the Scripture about Noah's day?

What people today call "normal" is actually just what is usual. Jehovah's Witnesses are the ones that are normal but they are not usual so therefore the world considers them to be abnormal. The rest of the world does what is usual and they consider that to be normal.

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Something I heard some time ago that could be applied to us:

Little Johnny was watching his dad marching in a parade.

The group was marching - left, right, left, right.

But little Johnny's dad was marching - right, left, right, left.

Johnny proudly declared "Look! My dad is the only one marching in step!"

It takes some effort to not follow the world but it is well worth it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Our public talk this week mentioned the TV show MASH. The character Klinger (I think) was trying to get an early discharge by claiming to be crazy. He wore a dress in all of his scenes, thereby claiming that he was homosexual, thereby, insane. Almost all of the TV shows now have a token gay person or gay couple. One of our brothers used the term  'gradualism' throughout his talk to show how acceptance of once banned behavior has become the norm now. Whatever term you use, the effect is the same. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

About JWTalk.net - Jehovah's Witnesses Online Community

Since 2006, JWTalk has proved to be a well-moderated online community for real Jehovah's Witnesses on the web. However, our community is not an official website of Jehovah's Witnesses. It is not endorsed, sponsored, or maintained by any legal entity used by Jehovah's Witnesses. We are a pro-JW community maintained by brothers and sisters around the world. We expect all community members to be active publishers in their congregations, therefore, please do not apply for membership if you are not currently one of Jehovah's Witnesses.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.

JWTalk 22.5.22 (changelog)