Chapter 5 - Groups and Organizations
Groups, Aggregates and Categories
A Social Group is a collection of two or more people who interact frequently with one
another, share a sense of belonging and have a feeling of interdependence.
Aggregate-A collection of people who happen to be in the same place at the same time
but have little else in common.
Category-A number of people who may never have met one another but who share
similar characteristics. (not social groups)
A formal organization - A structured group formed to achieve specific goals in the most
Types of Groups
Primary and Secondary Groups
Primary Group - Describe small, less specialized group in which members engage in
face-to-face, emotion-based interactions over an extended time.
Secondary Group - A larger, more specialized group in which members engage in more
impersonal, goal-oriented relationships for a limited time.
Formal organizations are secondary groups, also contain many primary groups within.
Ingroups and Outgroups
Ingroup-A group to which a person belongs and with which the person feels a sense of
Outgroup- A group to which a person does not belong and toward which the person may
feel a sense of competitiveness or hostility.
Ingroups and Outgroups may encourage social cohesion, but they also promote
classism, racism, sexism and ageism. Ethnocentrism can occur.
Reference Groups ReferenceGroup-A group that strongly influences a person’s behaviour and social
attitudes, regardless of whether that individual is an actual member.
Network-A web of social relationships that link one person with other people and
through them, with more people that those people know.
It’s a Small World: Network of Acquaintances (Milgram’s theory) Pg. 163
According to functionalists, groups meet peoples instrumental and expressive needs.
Instrumental - task-oriented- needs cannot always be met by one person, so the group
works together to fulfill a specific goal.
Expressive - emotional needs - For self-expression and support from family, friends and
Conflict Theorists - suggest that groups also involve power relationships whereby the
needs of individual members may not be equally served.
Symbolic Interactionists - focus on how the size of a group influences the kind of
interaction that takes place among members.
SmallGroup-A collectivity small enough for all members to be acquainted with one
another and to interact simultaneously.
Dyad-A group consisting of two members.
- Provide an intense bond and a sense of unity not found in larger groups.
- Active participation of both members is necessary for the group’s survival.
Triad-A group composed of three members.
- Group can still function without the participation of one member.
Coalition - an alliance created in an attempt to reach a shared objective or goal. Group Conformity
Conformity-The process of maintaining or changing behaviour to comply with the norms
established by a society, subculture or other group.
Asch’s Research They had known the answers were wrong, but decided to go along with the group to
avoid ridicule or ostracism.
Milgram’s Research on Obedience
Milgram wanted to understand atrocities, like the Holocaust, where citizens behaved
brutally when they were ordered by authority to do so.
The shock study:
In which Milgram had his assistant sit in an “electric chair” whilst the “teacher” was told
by the researcher to enact high voltages for every wrong answer.
According to Milgram, The teachers- who could freely leave - continued with the
experiment because they were being given directions by a person of authority.
Obedience to Authority is common and many individuals are willing to enact their orders
from authority figures regardless of the pain caused to them and the victim.
Groupthink-The process by which members of a cohesive group arrive at a decision that
many individual members privately believe is unwise.
Members often withhold their opinions and follow the consensus, rather than the best