Sociology and Social Dynamics Greg Bohall M.S., C.R.C., CADC-II What is Sociology? Sociology is: 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. Ranges in studying short contacts between anonymous individuals to global social processes (American Sociological Association, 2011). Human Relations is: 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… Ethnicity: categories of people who are distinctive on the basis of national origin (German, Italian, etc.). Race: categories that encompass different ethnic groups. 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. 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 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: 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? Formal group: governed by formal structure of organization. Informal group: forms around common interests, habits, personality traits. 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. 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 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. 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: Enron collapse (2001), WorldCom bankruptcy (2002), Washington Mutual bank collapse (2008). (Lamberton & Minor, 2010) Combatting Groupthink 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 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 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.