Have you ever wanted to do something but didn’t because you were afraid of what people would think if you did it? Let’s say we’re at a wedding reception and the dance floor is empty. The DJ is spinning “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. You want to get out there and dance, but if you do, you will be “that guy” (or girl) dancing all alone. What will your date think about you, dancing all alone? What would your parents or your best friend think? You have the opportunity to dance and get down, but you will also likely find yourself a fixture in every story told about the reception.
That’s the subjective norm—what a person perceives significant others will think about them if they perform a behavior. According to Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behavior, these perceptions are one factor that determines a person’s intention to act. If the individual believes others will think well of the behavior, the person will likely act. If they think others will think poorly of their actions, they may think twice about trying it.