File - Yesenia King

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
Are viewed as the buffer between individuals and
Prevent ‘Anomie’
Social category – people who share a social
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
“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.
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
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
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
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,
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
◦ 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
By the nature of organizations, power is
concentrated in relatively few positions at the top
(generally held by white men from higher social
Glass ceiling – reflects that fact that so few
women and minorities get promoted to the more
powerful (higher) positions.