Chapter 6

Groups and Formal Organizations
Primary Groups and Secondary Groups
Group: at least two people who have one or more goals in
common and share common ways of thinking and behaving
• they are in regular contact with one another
• they share ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving
• they take one another’s behavior into account
• they have one or more interests or goals in common
Neither Social Categories nor Social Aggregates
are considered to be groups
Social Category: people who share a social characteristic
citizens of a town
Social Aggregate: people who happen to be in the same place
at the same time
• people waiting in line for movie tickets
• people waiting for a bus
• people attending a concert
• witnesses of an accident
Primary Groups
Primary Group: people who are emotionally close, know one another
well, and seek one another’s company
• family
• close friends
Primary Relationships: interactions that are intimate, personal, caring,
and fulfilling
How Do Primary Groups Develop?
What conditions favor their formation?
• small size
• face-to-face contact
• continuous contact
• proper social environment
What are the functions of primary groups?
They provide three important functions in society
• emotional support
• socialization
• encourage conformity
Secondary Groups
Secondary Group: people who share only part of their lives while
focusing on a goal or task
Secondary Relationships: impersonal relationships involving
limited parts of relationships
Other Groups and Networks…
Reference Groups
Reference Group: group used for self-evaluation and the formation of
attitudes, values, beliefs, and norms
In-Groups and Out-Groups
Like two sides of a coin…you can’t have one without the other
In-Group: exclusive group demanding intense loyalty (cliques)
Out-Group: group targeted by in-group for opposition, antagonism, or
jocks, cheerleaders, etc. nerds are in-groups for some, out-groups for others
Freaks and Geeks
How are Group Boundaries Maintained?
Social Networks
Social Network: a web of social relationships that join a person to
other people and groups
Small World
Five Types of Social Interaction
1. Cooperation: individuals and groups
combine their efforts to reach a goal
Barn Raising
2. Conflict : interaction aimed at
defeating an opponent
3. Social Exchange
Social Exchange: a voluntary action performed in the expectation of getting
a reward in return
Sesame Street
4. Coercion
Coercion: individuals or groups are forced to behave in a particular way
Police show of force
5. Conformity
Conformity: behavior that matches group expectations
Candid Camera
Asch’s Experiment
Curiosity: How Evil Are You?
Medical Ethics Activity
What is Groupthink?
self-deceptive thinking that is based on conformity to group
beliefs, and created by group pressure to conform
Formal Organizations
high schools
government agencies
Formal Organization: a group deliberately created to achieve one or more
long-term goals
Bureaucracy: a formal organization based on rationality and efficiency
Major Characteristics of Bureaucracies
• A division of labor based on the principle of specialization
• Power is derived from a legitimate source
• A hierarchy of authority (pyramid shaped)
• A system of rules and procedures
• Written records of work and activities
• Promotion on the basis of merit and qualifications
Public School District Organization Chart
Bureaucracies; Good or Bad?
Advantages to industrial societies:
• speed
• efficiency
• predictability
•Rationalization: mind set emphasizing knowledge, reason
and planning
• rules
• procedures
• impersonal treatment
Informal Structure Within Bureaucracies
Personal relationships guided by
common interests, shared values.
Relationships guided by norms that
Are not part of the formal organization
Informal Organization: groups that form within a formal organization
Iron Law of Oligarchy
Power increasingly becomes concentrated in the hands of a few members in
any organization.

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