Sociology and Social Dynamics
Greg Bohall M.S., C.R.C., CADC-II
What is Sociology?

Sociology is:
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The study of society.
A social science involving the study of the social lives of people,
groups, and societies.
The study of behavior as social beings.
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Ranges in studying short contacts between anonymous individuals to
global social processes (American Sociological Association, 2011).
Human Relations is:
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The skill or ability to work effectively through and with other people
(Lamberton & Minor, 2010).

(American Sociological Association, 2011; Lamberton & Minor, 2010)
Review of terms…
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Ethnicity: categories of people who are distinctive on the
basis of national origin (German, Italian, etc.).
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Race: categories that encompass different ethnic groups.
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Ethnicity attempts to capture people’s actual practices
White race: Italian, Irish, Swedish
Focusing only on race hides important differences
Sex: refers to males and females (chromosomal,
anatomical, hormonal, physiological).
Gender: socially constructed models associated with each
sex.

(Rosenblum & Travis, 2012)
Review of terms…

Sexual Orientation: directionality of one’s sexual interests
toward members of the same sex, the other sex, or both
(Rathus, Nevid, & Fichner-Rathus, 2011).

Social class: seldomly discussed so definition is not well
developed. We almost never speak of ourselves in society
in class terms as it is not a central category in America
(Rosenblum & Travis, 2012).

(Rathus, Nevid, & Fichner-Rathus, 2011; Rosenblum & Travis, 2012)
Some culture…

“Culture provides one with generally shared
understandings and models for making meaning of one’s
experiences. Cultural beliefs present standards of
behavior that are internalized over time, and cultural
traditions offer a soothing sense of social safety. At the
heart of these shared understandings are the
interpersonal networks of relations in which one is
embedded”

(Rosenblum & Travis, 2012)
Cultural Shapings

Values: The worth or importance you attach to different
factors in your life.

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Tangible: something real in a physical sense.
Intangible: something not real to touch but exists in connection
to something else.
Norms: A standard of behavior expected of group
members.

(Lamberton & Minor, 2010)
Gender

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Gender roles: Complex clusters of ways in which males
and females are expected to behave within a specific
culture.
Gender Identity: One’s belief that one is male or female.
Gender Schema: A cluster of mental representations
about male and female physical qualities, behaviors, and
personality traits.
Gender Stereotype: A fixed, conventional idea about
people based on their gender.

What are some gender stereotypes?

(Rathus, Nevid, & Fichner-Rathus, 2011)
Groups

A group is:


Group Dynamics are:
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Two or more people who interact, share common goals, have
unspoken or formal rules, or norms, maintain stable role
relationships, and form subgroups.
The ways in which groups operate.
The cornerstone of human relations.
The set of interpersonal relationships within a group that determine
how group members relate to one another and that influences task
performance.
What are some famous groups?

Occupy movement, sports teams, KKK, The Brady Bunch

(Lamberton & Minor, 2010)
Why do people join groups?
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Formal group: governed by formal structure of organization.
Informal group: forms around common interests, habits,
personality traits.
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Affiliation: basic need to be with other people and relate.
Attraction: tend to be attracted to other people who are like
them or who they would like to become.
Activities: the group is involved in interesting activities.
Assistance: the group offers help or assistance in some area of
their lives.
Proximity: form a tie with people they see frequently (Ex: work).
(Lamberton & Minor, 2010)
Some Group Dynamics

Status: The rank an individual holds within a group.

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Ex: President,Vice President, Secretary, etc.
Group Process: The way group members deal with one
another while working on a task.
Group Conformity: Behaving in a way that meets a
specified standard in coordination with a group.
Groupthink: A problematic type of thinking that results
from group members who are overly willing to agree with
one another because of time pressure, stress, and low
collective self esteem.

Too much conformity decreases creativity and discourages
communication.

(Lamberton & Minor, 2010)
Barriers to Group Effectiveness

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We have all seen poor decisions made by ineffective
groups whether it has been in work or in the news
(Netflix???, Bank of America???).
One main reason for an ineffective group is due to
Groupthink.
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Members strive for unanimity and it overrides their motivation
to speak up.
Instead of evaluating other courses of action, the group gets
100 percent agreement as soon as possible.
Bad decisions due to groupthink:
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Enron collapse (2001), WorldCom bankruptcy (2002), Washington
Mutual bank collapse (2008).
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(Lamberton & Minor, 2010)
Combatting Groupthink
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Assign critics: reasonable objections and doubts should be
encouraged.
Leaders act impartial: take impartial role.
Set up subgroups: subgroups with separate leaders.
Consider alternatives: subgroups/separate leaders/larger
group reassembles after issue discussed in subgroups.
Consult with outsiders: trusted associates outside group.
Invite experts: encourage and challenge views of group.
Assign devil’s advocates: at least one member (debater)
Consider the competition: Plaintiff vs. Defense

(Lamberton & Minor, 2010)
Diversity

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Stereotypes:Your thoughts or beliefs about specific
groups of people.
Prejudice: How you feel as a result of the stereotypes you
believe in.
Bias: A tendency to judge people before knowing them,
basing the judgment only on their membership in some
group or category of people.
Discrimination:Your behavior(an action), or what you do
(or intend) as a result of your stereotypes AND
prejudice.

(Lamberton & Minor, 2010)
The Ism’s
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Ethnocentrism: The belief that one’s ethnic group is more
normal than others; an emotional source of prejudice.
Racism: Prejudice AND discrimination based on race.
Sexism: Prejudice AND discrimination based on gender.
Ageism: Prejudice AND discrimination toward older people.
Economic Prejudice: Prejudice AND discrimination toward
people who are poorer or wealthier than you are.
Other sources:
 Overweight/Underweight, Homosexuality, Disability, Religious
Groups, Pregnant Women.

(Lamberton & Minor, 2010)
References
American Sociological Association (2011). What is Sociology?
Retrieved from: http://www.asanet.org/sociology.cfm
Lamberton, L. H. & Minor, L. (2010). Human Relations; Strategies for
Success. McGraw Hill: New York, NY.
Rathus, S. A., Nevid, J. S., & Fichner-Rathus, L. (2011). Human
Sexuality in a World of Diversity (8th Ed.). Allyn and Bacon:
Boston, MA.
Rosenblum, K. E. & Travis, T. C. (2012). The Meaning of Difference
(6th Ed.). McGraw Hill: New York, NY.
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BHSM101-Class5 - Broken Hearts Ministry