people use this term to describe any collection of
Sociologist define group in many ways. In a broad
sense, it means people who have some sort of
relationship that they are thought of together.
pointed out, “an essential feature of a group is that
its members have something in common and they
believe what they have in common makes a
Plurality of persons who have a common, at least
some feeling of unity, and certain goals and shared
Direct or indirect communication among its
members, standardized patterns of interaction
based on a system of inter-related roles, and
degree of interdependence among members.
Is more develop type of collectivity with a distinct
sense of identity
Range in size and degree of intimacy from a family
to a society.
Frederick Bates outlines two conditions to provide a
means for identifying a group and delineating one
group from another:
1. “there be at least two individuals who interact with each
other as the occupants of the two position, each of which
contains at least one role reciprocal to a role in the other
position”. This condition makes it simple to determine
when and how a group comes into existence.
2. “a groups is composed of all individuals who occupy
positions reciprocal to all other positions in the group
structure and includes no individual who do not meet this
condition.” The application of the second condition
enables one to distinguish between BONA FIDE social
systems and other types of human groupings.
The structure of a group maybe visualized as being
made up of varying number of status – positions, each
of which contains one or more roles which are
composed of a set/s of norms.
The study of group has become a viral part of
sociological investigation because it plays a key
role in transmission of culture. Sociologists have
made a number useful distinction between types
of groups. It have been classified according to
size, pattern, permanence, on the basis whether or
not membership is voluntary or involuntary, in
terms of the number of social bonds and other
A. Primary vs.
Charles Horton Cooley
in his book Social Organization, coined the
term primary group to refer in small group
characterized by intimate, face-to-face
association and cooperation.
Primary group can be recognized by an
individual, personalities are fused with one
another, that the group manifests a common
total life and purpose to a large extent. He
never used the term secondary group.
Other scholars introduced the term secondary
group to refer to group relationships which
much larger than primary groups and they are
always more formal in nature. The members of
this group usually share certain common
values, or basic standards of behavior, and do
not share as many values as do members of a
B. Formal vs. Informal Group
An informal group is recognized as one which evolves without clear design and which
is not specifically organized to attain a given end. In contrast, a formal group is one
which usually has a definite purpose, clear procedures and which is characterized by
divisions of labor which is highly specialized. Agreement in formal groups normally
would be written and decisions are handed down from those authority positions
through a chain of command.
Informal groups are usually small groups in size, and can exist within the structure of
formal groups; in fact when a group increases in size; it is likely to become formal in
A primary group is more permanent than informal groups. An informal group is without
formally stated group rules, goals or leaders.
Most writers consider secondary group as formal group. Formal group is a social
group whose structure and activities have been rationally organized and standardized
with definitely prescribed group rules, goals, and leaders.
FIGURE 8-1 COMPARISON BETWEEN PRIMARY
AND SECONDARY GROUPS
Primary Group Secondary Group
Generally small Usually large
Relatively long period of time Short duration, temporary
Intimate, face-to-face Little social intimacy
Some emotional depth in relationship Relationship is superficial
Cooperative, friendly, less formal More formal
RIMARY AND SECONDARY GROUPS
C. Gemeinschaft vs. Gesellschaft
Ferdinand Tonnies termed a “Social Order” (social group) which
was in relationships were personal, or traditional or both. Charles
Loomis, in his book “Social System”, points out that in the work
teams, families, communities, societies and other collectivities
which are gemeinschaft like human relations are ends in
themselves, intimacy and sentiments are expected among the
actors; norms are traditional.
On the other hand, gesellschaft society is not one in which
neither personal association nor customary rights and duties
are important. Relationships are specialized and formal rather
than general and informal in nature. Said another way, the term
gemeinschaft is used to refer to those group relationships which
develop unconsciously while gelleschaft refers to group
relationship which are entered into deliberately for the
achievement of recognized ends
Other Types of Groups
1. In-group vs. Out-group
Sociologist identify these “WE” and “THEY” feelings by using two terms first
employed by William Graham Sumner: In-group and Out-group.
An In-Group can be defined as any group of category to which people feel
they belong. Simply put, it comprises anyone who is regarded as “WE” or
“US”. The In-group maybe as narrow as one’s family or as broad as an
entire society. An Out-Group viewed as “THEY” or “THEM”. More formally,
an Out-Group is a group of category to which people feel they do not
2. Reference Group
Both In-Groups and primary groups can dramatically influence the way an
individual thinks and behaves. Sociology uses the term reference group
when speaking of any group that individuals use as a standard for
evaluating themselves and their own behavior.
3. Uni-bonded Group vs. Multi-bonded Group
Pitirim Sorokin in his book “Society, Culture, and Personality” introduced the terms
Uni-bonded and Multi-bonded.
Unibonded Group is a group whose members are united by only one common
interest or purpose. A small part of each member’s life and personality is involved,
and relationships among the members are characterized by a limited range of
rights and obligations.
Multibonded Group is a group whose members are united by more than one tie.
The more ties there are binding together, the more it is relationship to one another
will be diffuse, that is, involving a wide range of rights and obligations.
4. Social Networks
They provide their members with valuable information, for example, a person
needing a job is likely to use social networks such as friends in order to find that job.
They likewise provide socio-emotional support, self-esteem, and even the courage
to face the rigors of everyday.
5. Voluntary Associations
They are specialized, formally organized groups, established on the basis of
common interest; in which membership is based on a deliberate choice or even
pay to participate, or may resign.
Sociologist use the phrase “small group analysis”
Refers to the study of psychological aspects of
behavior in small group.
Some thinkers define it as an applied discipline
dealing with such concerns as effective leadership,
communication, and decision process in industry
The size of the group is significant on its
Small Group is one that is small enough for everyone in it to interact directly
with all of the other members.
Sociologist Georg Simmel noted the significance of group size.
Dyad is a social group containing two members in interaction. It is the
smallest and most fragile of all human groupings.
Triad is a group of three persons. It is basically stronger than dyads, but still
extremely unstable. It is not uncommon for the bonds between two
members to seem stronger, with the third person feeling hurt and excluded
Coalition is a development as the size of triads become larger. It can be
temporary or permanent alliance toward a common goal. In any political,
organizational or small group setting, there are numerous ways in which
coalition can be created.
As more members are added to a group, there are more linkages between more people
within the group. The groups develop a formal structure to accomplish their goals, for
instance by having a president or a leader.
Two types of group leaders:
1. Instrumental (task-oriented) those who try to keep the groups moving toward its goals,
reminding the members of what they are trying to accomplish.
2. (socio-emotional) those who are less likely to be recognized as leaders but help with
These leaders, whether instrumental or expressive, employ certain leadership styles:
1. Authoritarian leaders – give orders and frequently do not explain why they praise or
condemn a person’s work.
2. Democratic leaders – try to gain consensus by explaining proposed actions, suggesting
alternative approaches, and giving “facts” as the basis for the member’s work.
3. Laissez-faire leaders – very passive ad give almost total freedom to do as it wishes.
Psychologist Ronald Lippit and Ralph White discover that leadership styles produced
different results. Those with authoritarian styles became either aggressive or apathetic: those
with democratic styles were personal and friendly; while those with laissez-faire style made
fewer decisions and were notable for their lack of achievement.
Structure of Multigroup System
Multigroups are of several types. Two types are
1. Organizations or Complex Organizations – consist of number of
subgroup or subsystem with specialized functions, linked together
through bilateral and reflexive role reciprocity, but which are devoted
to a common goal. (Roles are bilaterally reciprocal when two
different actors occupy the status positions they link; they are
reflexivewhen the same actor occupies two positions.)
2. Communities and Societies – multigroup structures linked or held
together by social relationships that are not necessarily directed
toward common endeavors. In communities and societies, roles are
played by various actors in other groups, but in each instance the
other actor is pursuing a different end.
Human Association that are not Social
Statistical groups may be sociologically significant, but they fulfill none of the
conditions for a social system. They are not characterized by social interactions
between their members, and there is no other aspect of social organization.
These similarities may be biological, such as age, sex, or ethnic group; they may
come from national heritage, as Filipinos or Indians; they may be adherents of a
particular school of thought, fashion or creed; or they may be members of an
occupational group such as teachers or philosopher. As long as these similar persons
do not band together in some type of formal organizations, they represent a societal
Congregations or Assemblies
A third type of human groupings is called congregation or assembly because its
members congregate or assemble together at one time or another. Such as groups
have many forms. They include crowds, audiences, casual play groups, church
congregations, spectators at a sporting event, passengers on a ship airplane, and
other similar groups.
The Rationalization of Society
Max Weber trace the rationalization of society to Protestantism, while Karl Marx
attributed to capitalism. Rationality (acceptance of rules, efficiency, and practical
results) is a characteristic of industrial societies.
Weber distinguished the Roman Catholics from the protestants in the following way:
Roman Catholic doctrine emphasized the acceptance of present arrangements, not
“God wants you where you are. You owe primary allegiance to the Church, to your
family, to your community and country. Accept your lot in life and remain rooted.”
But Protestant theology was quite different, Weber argued, especially Calvinism, a
religion he was intimately familiar with from his mother.
Calvinists (followers of the teachings of John Calvin) believed that before birth people
are destined to go either to heaven or to hell – and they would not know their destiny
until after they died.
Weber believed that this doctrine filled Calvinist with an anxiety that pervaded their
Salvation became their chief concern in life, they wanted to know where they were
going after death. (1904)
According to Karl Marx, rationalization resulted from capitalism.
Capitalism caused people to change their way of thinking; the new
form of production destroyed traditional relationships; since
capitalism was efficient, people change their ideas; rationality thus
resulted from economics, not from Protestantism.
According to Weber, the traditional wisdom presumed that the past
was the best guide for the present; however this stood in the way of
industrialization. Weber’s “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of
Capitalism” asserts that people wanted to show they were among
the chosen of God; success in life was a sign of God’s approval, but
spending money on oneself was sinful; thus, capitalism allowed the
investment of excess money, and the profits from those investments
showed more approval from God. Worldly success, then, became
transformed into spiritual virtue, and other branches of Protestantism,
although less extreme, adopted the creed of thrift and hard work.
Consequently, said Weber, Protestant countries embraced
Formal Organizations and Bureaucracies
A Formal Organization is highly organized group having explicit
objectives, formally stated rules and regulations, and a system of
specifically defined rules, each with clearly designated rights and duties.
Formal organizations include schools, hospitals, voluntary associations,
corporations, government agencies, etc.
A Bureaucracies is a component of formal organization in which rules
and hierarchical ranking are used to achieve efficiency.
Bureaucracy is a large scale, formal organization that is highly
differentiated and efficiently organized by means of formal rules and
departments of bureaus of highly trained experts whose activities are
coordinated by a hierarchical chain of command. This type of
organization is characterized by a centralization of authority, and
emphasis on discipline, rationality, technical knowledge, and impersonal
Max Weber introduced the concept of bureaucracy but tended to
emphasize its positive aspects.
The Essential Characteristics of
Max Weber enumerated the essential characteristics of a bureaucracy as follows:
1. A Hierarchy with Assignments Flowing Downward and Accountability Flowing
2. A Division of Labor
3. Written Rules
4. Written Communications and Records
These five characteristics not only help bureaucracies reach their goals but also
allow them to grow and endure. If the head of bureaucracy dies, retires, or resigns,
the organization continues. The functioning of each unit and each person in this
units does not depend on the individual who heads the organization.
Dysfunctions of Bureaucracies
Although no other form of social organization has been found to be
more efficient in the long run, Weber recognized his model accounts
for only part of the characteristics of bureaucracies. They also have
dark side, or dysfunctions:
1. Bureaucratic alienation (feeling powerless/normless; cut off from
product of won labor) leaves individual needs unfulfilled. Workers want
to feel respected and worthwhile; to resist alienation; they form primary
groups within larger organization. Alienated bureaucrats feel trapped in
the job, do not take initiative, do nothing that is only strictly required,
and use rules of justify doing as little as possible.
2. Trained incapacity (thinking in terms of one’s own activity and unit
and failing to grasp larger goals) impedes organizational goals.
3. Goal conflict occurs when the goals of a unit conflict with those of the organization.
4. Goal displacement occurs when an organization adopts new goals after the
original goals have been achieved.
5. Bureaucratic engorgement is the tendency of an organization to keep on growing.
6. Bureaucratic incompetence: the Peter Principle (introduced by Laurence J. Peter)
asserts that each employee is promoted to his or her level of incompetence; in fact,
bureaucracies do have difficulty dealing with exceptional cases.
In a survey conducted by Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC),
Philippines was ranked third as the most inefficient. Ranking 12 key countries and
territories on a scale from one to 10, with 10 as the worst possible score, the
business executives in the survey rated India as having the region’s most inefficient
Bureaucratization as a Process
Bureaucratization is the process in which formal organization
increasingly takes on the characteristics of a bureaucracy. A central
aspect of this process is the formalization of rules and regulations.
Bureaucratization also takes place within small group settings.
In addition to varying from society to society, bureaucratization also
serves as an independent variable affecting social change. Conflict
theorists have argued that bureaucratic organizations tend to inhibit
change because of their emphasis on regulations and security for office
Max Weber introduced the concept of bureaucracy but tended to
emphasize its positive aspects. More recently, social scientists have
described the negative consequences of bureaucracy both for the
individual within the organization and for the bureaucracy itself.
FIGURE 8-3 THE POSITIVE
CONSEQUENCES OF BUREAUCRACY
For the Individual For the
Division of Labor Produces efficiency in large scale corporation Produces trained incapacity Produces a
Hierarchy of Authority Clarifies who is in command Deprives employees of a voice in
Written Rules and Regulations Let workers know what is expected of them Stifle initiative and imagination Lead to goal
Impersonality Reduces bias Contributes to feelings of alienation Discourages
Employment Based on Technical
Discourage favoritism and reduces petty rivalries Discourages ambition to improve
Just as individual and relationship change, so too do organizations, both formal and involuntary. These
changes often relate to other social institutions, particularly the government.
A. Goal Multiplication
Goal multiplication takes place when an organization expands its purposes. Generally, this is the result
of changing social or economic conditions which threaten the organizations’ survival.
Some exclusive colleges for boys (like Letran) and for the girls (like Marian) have changed their
traditional goal of being an exclusive school, instead, they have opened their doors both for girls and
B Goal Succession
Goal succession occurs when a group or organization has either realized or been denied its goal. It
must then identify an entirely new objective that can adjust its existence.
Sociologists Peter Blau, who coined the term succession of goals, noted that organizations do not
necessarily behave in a rigid manner when their goals are achieved or become irrelevant. Rather,
they may shift toward new objectives.
Ironically, some organizations may have a stake in avoiding goal succession. Sociologist James
Rooney has shown that program failure is necessary for the maintenance of certain bureaucracies.
Voluntary associations are specialized, formally organized groups,
established on the basis of common interest; in which membership is based
on a deliberate choice or even pay to participate, or may resign.
Voluntary associations represent no single interest or purpose. In spite of the
diversity of voluntary associations, however, a thread does run through
them all. That thread is mutual interest. Although the particular interest
varies from group to group, shared interest in some view or activity is the tie
that binds their members together.
Although a group’s members are united by mutual interests, the specific
motivations for joining a group differ from one individual to another. Some
join because of their conviction concerning the stated purpose of the
organization, but others become members for quite different reasons, such
as the chance to make contacts that will help them politically or
professionally, or even to be closer to some special persons.
With motivations for joining voluntary associations and
commitments to their goals so varied, these organizations typically
have a high turnover. Some people move in and out of groups
almost as fast as they change clothes. Within each organization,
however, is an inner core of individuals who stand firmly behind the
group’s goals, or at least are firmly committed to maintaining the
organization itself. If this inner core loses commitment, the group is
likely to fold.
Functions of Voluntary Associations
Note: the first two functions are applicable to all forms of voluntary
associations. In general sense, so does the third function. Although,
not all organizations focused on politics and the social order, taken
together, voluntary associations help to incorporate individuals into
the general society, and by allowing the expression of the desire
and dissent, voluntary associations help to prevent anomie
The Iron Law of Oligarchy
By Robert Michels refers to the tendency of self-perpetuating elites to
dominate formal organizations. The majority of the members become
passive, and an elite inner group keeps itself in power by passing the
leading positions from one clique member to another. What is
problematic in the iron law of oligarchy is that it applies even to
organizations that strongly uphold the principles of democracy.
The iron law of oligarchy is not without limitations, of course. Members
of the inner group must remain attuned to the opinions of the other
members, regardless of their personal feelings. If the oligarchy gets too
far out of lines, its members run the risk of a grassroots rebellion that
would throw them out of office. It is this threat that often softens the iron
law of oligarchy by making the leadership responsive to the