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Social Groups, Organizations and Social Institutions Chapter 6.

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1 Social Groups, Organizations and Social Institutions Chapter 6

2 Social Groups Two or more people who share some attribute and interact with one another Primary Group: a small group who engage in intimate face-to-face interaction over an extended period (family, close friends) Influences an individual’s social identity Contributes to each other’s personal development, security, and well-being Secondary Group: a large, usually formal, impersonal, and temporary collection of people who pursue a specific goal or activity ( classes, sport teams, company employees) pursue a specific goal or activity Structured Fulfill instrumental needs

3 Characteristics of Primary and Secondary Groups

4 See what you know Identify each as a primary or secondary group A single mom and her child Your sociology class A married couple The McDonald’s Corporation

5 In-Groups and Out-Groups In-groups: People who share a sense of identity Exclude and devalue outsiders Promote solidarity and cohesion Out-groups: Are viewed and treated negatively for having values, beliefs, and features different from people in-group “We” vs “They” Your in-group may be someone out-group

6 Reference Groups People who shape behavior, values, and attitudes Fail to provide personal support or face-to-face interaction over time People with whom an individual associates, admires, and wants to be a part of Influence people’s self-identity, self-esteem, and sense of belonging These reference groups change as you change…example...if you aspire to move up the occupational ladder, your reference group may change form entry level employees to managers, VPs, CEOs.

7 Two important characteristics of a social group is its size and leadership Size Dyads: Group with two members Cohesive in nature Unstable as it requires the involved people to cooperate Triads: Group with three members Stable Tend to interact less Leadership Authoritarian: Gives orders, assigns tasks, and makes all major decisions Democratic: Encourages group discussion Laissez-faire: Offers minimum or no guidance to the members

8 Authoritarian: Gives orders, assigns tasks, and makes all major decisions Focuses on completing instrumental tasks Effective if the leader is knowledgeable and there is less time for group decision making Stifles creativity

9 Democratic: Encourages group discussion Includes all the members in the decision-making process Concerned about meeting a group’s expressive needs Engages group members and encourage their creativity Fails to take charge during crisis and are less productive

10 Laissez-faire: Offers minimum or no guidance to the members Allows the members to make their own decisions Effective when members are qualified in an area of expertise Leads to poorly defined roles, low productivity, and a lack of motivation, less cooperation between the members Fails to meet a group’s goals

11 Studies on Group Conformity Solomon Asch’s research Demonstrated the effect of groups over individual Even when people know that something is wrong, they go along with the group to avoid ridicule or exclusion. Irving Janis’s research Cautioned presidents and other heads of state to be wary of groupthink—a situation in which in-group members make faulty decisions because of group pressures Focused on high-level decision making Group members awareness of groupthink, avoids the pitfalls by: Eliminating disagreements Seeking advice from informed and objective people outside the group

12 Formal Organizations Secondary groups designed to achieve specific goals in an efficient manner Characteristics Statuses and roles are organized around shared expectations and goals Norms governing social relationships specify rights, duties, and sanctions Hierarchy includes leaders or individuals who are in charge

13 Types of Formal Organizations Utilitarian - Provides an income or specific material reward (government agencies, factories, corporations, and schools) Normative - Joined by people with shared interests for pursuing goals which are rewarding (political parties, civic organizations, religious organizations, choirs, and cultural group) Coercive - Contain involuntary membership. People are forced to join because of punishment (prison, treatment hospitals, rehab centers)

14 Social Institutions An organized and established social system that meets one or more of a society’s basic needs. 5 major social institutions: Family: Facilitates procreation, socializes children, and legitimizes sexual activity between adults Economy: Organizes a society’s development, production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services Political: Maintains law and order, pass legislation, and form military groups Education: Helps to socialize children, transmits knowledge Religion: Encompasses beliefs and practices


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