Groups and Organizations Sociology, 13h Edition by John Macionis Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Social Group Two or more people who identify and interact with one another. • Not every collection of individuals forms a group. • Many people with a status in common–women, homeowners, soldiers, millionaires, college graduates, and Roman Catholics–are not groups, but categories, because of limited interactions. Not Quite a Social Group • Crowd – Temporary cluster of people created by an event – A group can have temporal status • A crowd can become a group, then a crowd again. – A large gathering of people at a football game – A crowd that begins to riot might be considered a group because of their purposeful interaction. Primary Groups Small social groups whose members share personal, lasting relationships. • Traits – Small: friends, family – Personal orientation – Enduring • Primary relationships – First group experienced in life – Irreplaceable • Assistance of all kinds – Emotional to financial Secondary Groups A large, impersonal social group whose members pursue a specific goal or activity. • Traits – Large membership – Goal or activity orientation – Formal and polite • Secondary relationships – Weak emotional ties – Short term, goal directed • Examples – Co-workers and political organizations Summing Up Primary Groups and Secondary Groups Group Leadership • Two roles – Instrumental: Task-oriented – Expressive: People-oriented instrumental and expressive are also used to define gender; Ch.13 • Three leadership styles – Authoritarian: Leader makes decisions; Compliance from members – Democratic: Member involvement – Laissez-faire: Mainly let group function on its own Group Conformity Studies • Asch’s research page 164 – Willingness to compromise our own judgments – Line experiment • Milgram’s research page 165 – Role authority plays – Following orders • Janis’s research page 165 – Negative side of groupthink – “the tendency of group members to conform, resulting in a narrow view” consequences? Figure 7.1 Cards Used in Asch’s Experiment in Group Conformity In Asch’s experiment, subjects were asked to match the line on Card 1 to one of the lines on Card 2. Many subjects agreed with the wrong answers given by others in their group. Source: Asch (1952). Reference Group A social group that serves as a point of reference in making evaluations and decisions about where resources go, and who gets rewarded and punished • Stouffer’s research page 166 – We compare ourselves in relation to specific reference groups. upward • In-groups and out-groups – Loyalty to in-group – Opposition to out-groups in-groups downward out-groups Group Size • The dyad – A two-member group – Very intimate, but unstable given its size • The triad – A three-member group – More stable than a dyad and more types of interaction are possible Figure 7.2 Group Size and Relationships As the number of people in a group increases, the number of relationships that link them increases much faster. By the time six or seven people share a conversation, the group usually divides into two. Why are relationships in smaller groups typically more intense? Source: Created by the author. Social Diversity: Race, Class, and Gender • Large and homogenous groups turn inward. – Members have relationships between themselves. • Heterogeneous groups turn outward. – Diverse membership promotes interaction with outsiders. • Physical boundaries create social boundaries. – If segregation of groups takes place, the chances for contact are limited. • Networks – “Web of weak social ties”; people we know of or who know of us Global Map 7.1 Internet Users in Global Perspective Formal Organizations Large secondary groups organized to achieve goals efficiently; date back thousands of years. • Utilitarian – Material rewards for members (functional-conflict) • Normative – Voluntary organizations – Ties to personal morality (functional-conflict) • Coercive – Punishment or treatment – Total institutions (functional-conflict) Summing Up Small Groups and Formal Organizations Bureaucracy An organizational model rationally designed to perform tasks efficiently • Max Weber’s six elements to promote organizational efficiency: – – – – – – Specialization of duties Hierarchy of offices Rules and regulations Technical competence Impersonality Formal, written communications Organizational Environment • Factors outside an organization that affect its operation: – Economic and political trends – Current events – Populations patterns – Other organizations • Informal side of bureaucracy – In part, informality comes from the personalities of organizational leaders. Problems of Bureaucracies • Bureaucratic alienation – Potential to dehumanize individuals • Bureaucratic inefficiency and ritualism (irony) – Preoccupation with rules, interferes with meeting goals • Bureaucratic inertia – Perpetuation of the organization becomes more important than the goals and the purpose for it’s existence Oligarchy: The rule of the many by the few • Helps distance officials from the public. • Michels: Concentrates power and threatens democracy page 174 . The Evolution of Formal Organizations Scientific Management Application of scientific principles to the operation of a business or large organization 1. Identify tasks and time needed for tasks 2. Analyze to perform tasks more efficiently 3. Provide incentives for worker efficiency Whose interests are being served??? New Challenges to Formal Organizations • Race and gender – Pattern of exclusion – “Female advantage” • Japanese organizations – Value cooperation – Organizational loyalty • Changing nature of work – Information-based organizations – Creative autonomy, competitive work teams, flatter organization, and greater flexibility Figure 7.3 U.S. Managers in Private Industry by Race, Sex, and Ethnicity, 2005 Figure 7.4 Two Organizational Models The conventional model of bureaucratic organizations has a pyramid shape, with a clear chain of command. Orders flow from the top down, and reports of performance flow from the bottom up. Such organizations have extensive rules and regulations, and their workers have highly specialized jobs. More open and flexible organizations have a flatter shape, more like a football. With fewer levels in the hierarchy, responsibility for generating ideas and making decisions is shared throughout the organization. Many workers do their jobs in teams and have a broad knowledge of the entire organization’s operation. Source: Created by the author. McDonaldization of Society • • • • Efficiency: Do it quickly Predictability: Use set formulas Uniformity: Leave nothing to chance Control: Humans are most unreliable factor Each principle limits human creativity, choice, and freedom. Weber: Rational systems are efficient but dehumanizing. Future of Organizations: Opposing Trends • Movement toward more creative freedom for highly skilled information workers • Movement toward increased supervision and discipline for less skilled service workers Class Activity • Group 1: Explain behaviors on an elevator; group or crowd? • Group 2: How can we make this classroom more efficient? Is that a good thing, or just more drifting toward McDonaldization? • Group 3: After considering the differences between the American and Japanese models of automobile manufacturing (pages 176-7) , which is best and why?