Chapter 6 Social Groups and Organizations

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Chapter 6

Social Groups and Organizations

Chapter Outline

The Nature of Groups

Functions of Groups

Small Groups

Large Groups: Associations

Bureaucracy

Social Group

A social group consists of a number of people who have a common identity, some feeling of unity, and certain common goals and shared norms.

In a social group, the individuals interact with one another according to established statuses and roles.

The members develop expectations of proper behavior for people occupying different positions in the social group.

Social Aggregate

A social aggregate is made up of people who temporarily happen to be in physical proximity to each other, but share little else.

Example:

Passengers riding together in one car of a train.

An aggregate ceases to exist when its members are away from one another, unlike a social group.

Question

Strangers waiting in line to check out at a department store would be called a:

A.

B.

social group.

social aggregate.

C.

D.

social collection. social category.

Answer: B

Strangers waiting in line to check out at a department store would be called a

social aggregate

.

Characteristics of Social

Groups

Permanence beyond meetings of members.

Means for identifying members.

Mechanisms for recruiting new members.

Goals or purposes.

Norms for behavior.

Means for controlling members’ behavior.

Question

How likely would you be to join an organization where membership is determined by race?

A.

B.

Very likely

Somewhat likely

C.

D.

E.

Unsure

Somewhat unlikely

Very unlikely

Primary and Secondary

Groups

Primary groups

involve interaction among members who have an emotional investment in one another, who know one another intimately, and who interact as total individuals rather than through specialized roles.

A

secondary group

is characterized by much less intimacy among members. It usually has specific goals, is formally organized, and is impersonal.

Relationships in Primary and

Secondary Groups

Primary

Secondary

Physical Conditions Social Characteristics

Small number

Long duration

Large number

Shorter duration

Intrinsic valuation of the relation and the other person

Inclusive knowledge of other person

Feeling of freedom

Operation of informal controls

Extrinsic valuation of the relation and the other person

Limited knowledge of other person

Feeling of constraint

Operation of formal controls

Relationships in Primary and

Secondary Groups

Primary

Secondary

Sample

Relationships

Friend

Husband

Parent

–friend

Teacher

–wife

–child

–pupil

Clerk

–customer

Announcer

–listener

Performer

–spectator

Officer

–subordinate

Sample Groups

Play group

Family

Village or neighborhood

Work team

Nation

Clerical hierarchy

Professional association

Corporation

Question

Which type of group is the most important to you?

A.

B.

Primary group

Secondary group

Functions of Groups

To function properly, all groups must:

Define their boundaries.

Choose leaders.

Make decisions.

Set goals.

Assign tasks.

Control members’ behavior.

Asch Experiment

Solomon Asch formed groups of 8 people and asked each member to match a line against 3 other lines of varying lengths.

The groups were composed of one real subject and 7 of Asch’s accomplices, who gave incorrect answers during the experiment.

The experiment illustrated how far group members will go to promote conformity.

Asch Experiment

In Asch’s experiment on conformity to group pressure, groups were asked which of the comparison lines

(right) was the same length as the standard line (left).

Question

Asch's experiment was an illustration of how groups:

A.

B.

control members' behavior.

assign tasks.

C.

D.

make decisions.

define boundaries.

Answer: A

Asch's experiment was an illustration of how groups

control members' behavior

.

Reference Groups

A group or social category that an individual uses to help define beliefs, attitudes, and values and to guide behavior.

Small Group

Many kinds of social groups, such as families, peer groups, and work groups, that actually meet together and contain few enough members so that all members know one another.

Dyad -

The smallest possible group, it contains two members.

Triad -

A group consisting of three members.

Large Groups: Associations

Associations are purposefully created specialinterest groups with clearly defined goals and official ways of doing things.

They include government departments and agencies, businesses and factories, labor unions, schools and colleges, fraternal and service groups, hospitals and clinics, and clubs for various hobbies from gardening to collecting antiques.

Formal Structure

Planned, highly institutionalized and clearly defined statuses and role relationships.

Gemeinschaft and

Gesellschaft

In his book Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft,

Ferdinand Tönnies examined the changes in social relations attributable to the transition from rural to urban society.

In a Gemeinschaft (community), relationships are intimate, cooperative, and personal.

In a Gesellschaft (society), relationships are impersonal and independent.

Mechanical and Organic

Solidarity

According to Durkheim, every society has a collective conscience

—a system of fundamental beliefs and values.

Social solidarity emerges from the people’s commitment and conformity to the society’s collective conscience.

Mechanical and Organic

Solidarity

A mechanically integrated society is one in which a society’s collective conscience is strong and there is a great commitment to that collective conscience.

In an organically integrated society, social solidarity depends on the cooperation of individuals in many different positions who perform specialized tasks.

Bureaucracy

A formal, rationally organized social structure with clearly defined patterns of activity in which every series of actions is functionally related to the purposes of the organization.

Weber: Six Characteristics of

Bureaucracies

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

A clear-cut division of labor.

Hierarchical delegation of power.

Rules and regulations.

Impartiality.

Employment based on technical qualifications.

Distinction between public and private spheres.

The Iron Law of Oligarchy

Robert Michels concluded that the formal organization of bureaucracies leads to oligarchy.

In Oligarchy, organizations eventually come to be dominated by a small self-serving group of people who achieved positions of power and responsibility.

The people in this group become corrupted by their elite positions and make decisions to protect their power rather than to represent the the group.

Quick Quiz

1. An example of a social group would be:

A.

people who are left-handed.

B.

C.

D.

a baseball team.

people waiting for a bus. the upper class.

Answer: B

An example of a social group would be

a baseball team

.

2. Which of the following is a characteristic of social groups?

A.

Shared goals or purposes.

B.

C.

D.

Means for controlling members' behavior.

Means for identifying members.

All of these choices are correct.

Answer: D

The following are characteristics of social groups:

Shared goals or purposes.

Means for controlling members' behavior.

Means for identifying members.

3. Uniforms, school ties, and skin color all serve what function of groups?

A.

B.

defining group boundaries controlling members' behavior

C.

D.

selecting leadership assigning specialized tasks

Answer: A

Uniforms, school ties, and skin color all serve to

define group boundaries

.

4. Gemeinschaft society is characterized by:

A.

little sense of identification with others.

B.

C.

the good of the group over the good of the individual.

a high degree of competition between individuals.

D.

formal contracts that govern economic exchanges.

Answer: B

Gemeinschaft society is characterized by

the good of the group over the good of the individual

.

5. Under the iron rule of oligarchy, organizations eventually:

A.

become more idealistic than when they began.

B.

C.

become dominated by a self-serving group of people who have achieved positions of power.

have many responsibilities and duties.

D.

strive to maintain their democratic means of operation.

Answer: B

Under the iron rule of oligarchy, organizations eventually

become dominated by a self-serving group of people who have achieved positions of power

.

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