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Chapter 158-188

SOC101Y1 Chapter 158-188: Groups and Organizations sociology 158-188


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC101Y1
Professor
Sheldon Ungar
Chapter
158-188

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Thursday, October 29, 2015
Groups and Organizations
Social Groups
-Groups, Aggregates, and Categories
Aggregate: A collection of people who happen to be in the same place at the same
time for a common purpose, but have little else in common i.e. passengers on an
airplane
Category: A number of people who may never have met one another but who share
a similar characteristic (i.e. age, ethnicity)
Categories are not like social groups bc the people in them usually do not create a
social structure
Categories can become aggregates i.e. individuals in the “student” category meet
for an orientation and become an aggregate
Formal Organization: a structured group formed to achieve specific goals in the
most efficient manner. i.e. Universities, corporations
-Types of Groups
A. Primary and Secondary Groups
Primary: a small less specialized group in which members engage in face-to-
face, emotion based interactions over an extended time i.e. significant other
Secondary: a larger, more specialized group where members engage in
impersonal, goal-oriented relationships for a limited time i.e. formal
organizations
B. Ingroups and Outgroups
Ingroup: A group to which a person belongs and with which the person feels a
sense of identity
Outgroup: A group to which a person does not belong and toward which the
person may feel a sense of competitiveness or hostility
Group boundaries may be formal and have clear definition of membership. i.e.
a private country club which requires for members to be recommended by
others
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Thursday, October 29, 2015
Boundary distinctions are often reflected in symbols i.e. clothing, “Members
Only” sign, card for being a member
Group boundaries are not as formal as they are in a private club i.e. friend
groups don’t have specific guidelines for membership
In and outgroup distinctions may encourage social cohesion but may also
promote racism, classism, sexism etc
i.e. ingroup members typically view themselves +’ly and others -‘ly. This
ethnocentrism can be detrimental to individuals not part of the ingroup
C. Reference Groups
A group that strongly influences a persons behaviour and social attitudes,
regardless of whether that individual is an actual member
i.e. when we evaluate our appearance, goals etc. based on the standards of
another group
D. Networks
A web of social relationships that link one person with other people and,
through them, with more people that those people know
i.e. A is tied to B, and B is tied to C, then a network may be formed among A, B
and C
We live in a world where many things get done through networks i.e. most
people get their jobs this way
Group Characteristics and Dynamics
-According to Functionalists, groups meet peoples’ instrumental (task-oriented) and
expressive (emotional) needs
-Conflict theorists believe 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
-To Postmodernists, groups and organizations are characterized by superficiality and
shallow social relationships
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i.e. fast food employees and customers interact in very superficial ways that are
scripted by large-scale organizations: the employees learn to follow scripts in taking
orders, while customers respond with a generic action
-Group Size:
Small group: a collectivity small enough for all members to be acquainted w/ one
another and to interact simultaneously. Interactions are very personal
Dyad: A group comprised of 2 members. i.e. married couples: both members are
needed for the group to function and exist
Triad: A group comprised of 3 members. If one member ignores another or declines
to participate, the group can still function
Coalition: An alliance created in an attempt to reach a shared objective or goal
Groups larger than 3 people tend to develop specialized takes, and a different
pattern of communication. It becomes more difficult for everyone to participate in
the conversation
Group Conformity
-Conformity: The process of maintaining or changing behaviour to comply with the
norms established by a society, subculture, or other group
A. Asch’s Research
Showed that the pressure to group conformity was so great that participants were
willing to contradict their own judgement rather than disagree with other members
Line length: even if the others chose the wrong line, only 25% chose correct, but
were uncomfortable with it. Mostly they went along with the group
B. Milgram’s Research on Obedience to Authority
Wanted to understand atrocities like the Holocaust, where ordinary citizens
behaved brutally when ordered to do so
Teacher and Learner: the subjects (teachers) continued to inflict electrical shock on
the learner bc instructed to do so by the person of authority (scientist)
Study suggests that obedience to authority may be more common than thought.
Raises ethical questions.
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