Groups and Organizations How does group membership define one’s status? What is the importance of social cohesion? Groups – the people who are in contact with one another, who share some way of thinking, feeling, and behaving, who take one another’s behavior into account, and have one or more interests or goals in common. Are viewed as the buffer between individuals and society. Prevent ‘Anomie’ Social category – people who share a social characteristic. Social aggregate – people who happen to be at the same place at the same time. Unlike groups, individuals who make up aggregates or categories do not interact with one another or take each other into consideration. Primary Groups – people who are emotionally close, know one another well, and seek one another’s company. ◦ Characterized by relationships that are intimate, personal, caring and fulfilling. Conditions for having a primary relationship: ◦ small group size, face-to-face contact, continuous contact, proper social environment Secondary Groups – people come together to accomplish a specific purpose. These groups are larger, relatively temporary, more anonymous, impersonal and goal oriented. Involves only some of the segments of its members’ lives. Members more likely to interact on the basis of specific roles such as president, manager, worker, or student, etc. Reference Groups – Individuals use various groups to evaluate themselves and to acquire attitudes, beliefs, values, and norms. You may or may not be a member. You assess self in terms of their standards, etc. Includes families, teachers, doctors, political leaders, college Greek organizations, sports teams. Exert great influence over our behavior; people may change their clothing, hair style, speech, etc, to match what the reference group would expect of them. In-groups –groups to which individuals feel loyalty ◦ Identification and belonging that often produce rivalries. Out-groups – groups of which one is not a member. The in-group members feel opposition and competition with out-groups and their members. Discrimination “We” and “them” can sometimes lead to acts directed against the out-group Social network – a web of social relationships that joins a person to other people and groups. Links a person with a wide variety of individuals and groups. Provides a sense of belonging and social support and help in the job market. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Cooperation – a form of interaction in which individuals or groups combine their efforts to reach some common goal. Conflict – when people work against each other to obtain a larger share of the rewards. Many times defeating the opponent becomes more important than achieving the goal and may bring more joy than winning the prize. Social Exchange – a type of social interaction in which one person voluntarily does something for another, expecting a reward in return. The basis is reciprocity. Coercion – an individual or group compels others to behave in certain ways. Central element is domination. Conformity – behavior matching group expectations. We adapt our behavior to fit the behavior of those around us. Participants publicly denied their own senses in order not to deviate from majority opinion. Numerous groups of male college students were assembled and asked to compare the length of lines on two cards. Under group pressure, the “naïve” subject went along with the majority’s wrong opinion over 1/3 of the time. Groupthink - a situation in which pressures toward uniformity discourage members of the group from expressing their reservations about group decisions. Examples: Buildup to the invasion of Iraq in 2003; Kennedy administration decision to launch the Bay of Pigs invasion. What is bystander apathy? Are there similarities between bystander apathy and groupthink? In the absence of clearly defined responsibility, what happens? Formal organizations - a type of secondary group that is deliberately created to achieve one or more specific goals. The change from preindustrial to industrial society lends itself to the establishment of more and more formal organizations. Citizens of modern society have become highly dependent on large organizations. Most formal organizations are bureaucracies. Bureaucracy – formal organization based on rationality and efficiency A division of labor based on the principle of specialization. A hierarchy of authority. Organizational affairs are based on a system of rules and procedures. Members of the organization maintain written records of their organizational activities. Statuses in the organization, especially managerial ones, are considered full-time jobs. Relationships within the organization are impersonal, devoid of favoritism. Employees of bureaucratic organizations do not own their positions. The decisive reason for the advance of bureaucratic organization has always been its purely technical superiority over any other form of organization. The fully developed bureaucratic mechanism compares with other organizations exactly as does the machine with the nonmechanical modes of production. ◦ Max Weber Dehumanizing social environment (iron cage of rationality) Wastefulness Parkinson’s Law – work always expands to fill the time available for its completion Peter principle – individuals rise to their level of incompetence (moving into higher positions) Goal displacement Trained incapacity What is meant by “McDonaldization”? How does Ritzer’s idea of McDonaldization relate to Weber’s “iron cage of rationality”? Where else in our culture do you see McDonaldization occurring? Normative Organizations – members are free to join, considered voluntary organizations; they have shared understandings that provide an important basis for coordination of members’ activities (e.g., churches, political parties, universities). Coercive Organizations – people are forced to join (e.g., camps, prisons, elementary schools). Utilitarian Organizations – people join them because of the benefits they derive from membership (e.g., work, professional firms). Informal organization – a group (within a formal organization) guided by unofficial norms, rituals, and sentiments that are not part of the formal organization. ◦ Usually form spontaneously based on common interests and personal relationships. Formulated by Robert Michels, the iron law of oligarchy states that power tends to become increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few members of any organization. ◦ Those in power want to remain in power. ◦ Politics in the U.S. is a prime example. Three organizational factors encourage oligarchy: 1. Organizations need a hierarchy of authority to delegate decision making. 2. Advantages held by leaders at the top of the hierarchy allow them to consolidate their power. 3. Encouraged by the characteristics of the followers. Non-elites believe that their leaders are more articulate, etc. By the nature of organizations, power is concentrated in relatively few positions at the top (generally held by white men from higher social classes). By the nature of organizations, power is concentrated in relatively few positions at the top (generally held by white men from higher social classes). Glass ceiling – reflects that fact that so few women and minorities get promoted to the more powerful (higher) positions.