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  • Social Groups Social Groups
  • Chapter 7 Chapter 7
  • The Group The Group
  • Small Groups Small Groups
  • The Effects of Group Size The Effects of Group Size
  • Three Basic Styles of Leadership Three Basic Styles of Leadership
  • Group Decision Making Group Decision Making
  • Groupthink Groupthink
  • Group Conformity Group Conformity
  • Group Pressure and Obedience Group Pressure and Obedience
  • Philip Zimbardo: Status and Role Philip Zimbardo: Status and Role
  • in a Mock Prison (1971) in a Mock Prison (1971)
  • Zimbardo Zimbardo
  • Social Networks Social Networks
  • Reference Group Reference Group
  • Bureaucracy Bureaucracy
  • Max Weber·s Analysis Max Weber·s Analysis
  • Max Weber on Bureaucracy Max Weber on Bureaucracy
  • McDonaldization McDonaldization
  • Other Forms of Organization Other Forms of Organization
  • The Japanese Corporation The Japanese Corporation
  • The Collective The Collective
  • Humanizing the Bureaucracy Humanizing the Bureaucracy
  • End of Chapter 7 End of Chapter 7

Social Groups Chapter 7


The Group 

Humans are fundamentally social. 

If deprived of social contact over a long period of time, mental breakdown occurs. The Geneva Convention defines more than 30 days of solitary confinement as a form of torture. 

The group (defined): a collection of people interacting who share expectations about each other·s behavior. 

Groups have a shared sense of ´specialµ belonging or membership ² they know they have something in common with each other. Examples: a family, Carolina Panther fans, a rock band. 

The group is one of the fundamental components of social structure.

The Group 

A group differs from an aggregate. aggregate. 

An aggregate is a collection of people who merely happen to be in the same place at the same time, but who have no sense of special membership. 

Examples of aggregates: moviegoers, plane travelers. 

Crowd: Crowd: a temporary cluster of individuals. Category: Category: a number of people who share similar characteristics. 

Category members may have never encountered each other.


The Group 

All groups have an internal structure. 

They have membership boundaries. They have their own values, norms, statuses and roles. They have leaders and followers.  

The structure of a group may be rigid and explicit (such as in the military) or flexible and vague (such as among friends). People form groups for a purpose or a common goal. 

This purpose may be explicit or implicit. For this reason, group members tend to be similar to each other in ways that are relevant to this common purpose.

The Group 

The more group members interact with each other, the more they are influenced by the group·s norms and values, and the more similar to each other they are likely to become.


task group: oriented. intimate. Secondary group: large or small. group:  The vast bulk of social interaction in pre-industrial societies preoccurs in primary groups. Primary group: small. lasting. formal. temporary.  2. there has been a dramatic increase in secondary group interaction.Two Basic Types of Social Groups  1. 6 .   Since the emergence of industrial societies. Large secondary groups always contain smaller primary groups within them. impersonal or anonymous. meaningful.

Small Groups  A small group is one that contains few enough members that they can relate or interact as individuals with one another. then members may remain impersonal and relatively anonymous toward each other. A small group may be a primary or secondary group.   However.  Small groups have a tendency to develop personal or primary group relationships if they meet a lot over time. if the group meets only a few times and disbands after it has fulfilled its purpose. 7 .

 If one ignores the other. 8 . then the group is destroyed. The dyad: the smallest possible group. The nuclear family has fewer supports from extended family members. It·s distinguishing characteristic is that each member has to take account of the other. consisting dyad: of two people.   This has implications for the American family and its middle class emphasis on the nuclear structure. the more personal and intense the interaction can become.The Effects of Group Size   Basic insight: the smaller the group.  Dyads are highly unstable.

2 members can unite against the third.  In the triad. because any one member can ignore the others without destroying the group. groups get progressively more stable.  Beyond 3 members. subjecting them to peer pressure.The Effects of Group Size  The triad is significantly different from a dyad. 9 . pressure.  The triad is more stable than the dyad.

Group sizes of 2 to 7 members allow all members to take part in the same conversation. it becomes difficult to hold people to the same conversation.  Groups larger than roughly 12 members usually cannot have all members engaged in the same conversation unless one member takes the role of leader and regulates the interaction. 10 . and usually several simultaneous conversations begin to occur.  Beyond 7 members.The Effects of Group Size   The quality of group interaction changes with increases in the size of the group.  Something else happens: because individuals can no longer tailor their speech to specific individuals. speech becomes more formal.

The Effects of Group Size   Generally the larger the group. making old members uncomfortable until new norms emerge. New members usually bring changes to the old norms of interaction. Interaction becomes more difficult. A sudden increase in group size can be particularly disruptive because 1. the more difficult the interaction.  11 .  2.

A leader is someone who is consistently able to influence the behavior of others.Leadership  Leadership is always present in groups. usually by virtue of certain personality traits.  12 .  Even a group that claims to have no leader usually has a leader.

 2.  In the American family.  This leader is goal oriented. Instrumental leadership: the kind necessary to leadership: organize and achieve a goal. 13 . men are traditionally socialized into instrumental leadership roles while women are traditionally socialized into expressive leadership roles. They tend to be well liked. Expressive leadership: the kind necessary to create leadership: group harmony and solidarity.Two types of leadership in small groups  1.  This leader focuses on keeping morale high and on minimizing conflicts.

 When an expressive leader becomes an instrumental leader. it is not uncommon to see another member of the group assume an expressive leadership role. but less well liked.Leadership   Expressive leaders (who are well liked) are sometimes pressured to be instrumental leaders by the members of the group. people who direct group activities (instrumental leaders) tend to lose popularity fairly quickly. 14 .  Result: leaders generally do not fill both instrumental and expressive roles at the same time for very long. However.  They are greatly respected.

Generally what occurs is that this leader loses popularity over the next 3 or 4 meetings. but another member emerges to assume the expressive role. By the 4th meeting.Leadership  When a newly formed group chooses a leader. few members still consider the leader likable.  15 .  In such cases. it usually gives both instrumental and expressive roles to the same person. the original leader may retain the instrumental role.

they are more likely to be        Taller than average Judged better looking Rated higher in IQ More sociable More talkative More self confident More liberal in political outlook (even in conservative groups) 16 .Leadership   Do leaders have distinctive characteristics? Generally.

 The same leader who may be appropriate for fighting a war may be inappropriate for waging peace. 17 .Leadership  However. personality traits alone cannot tell use who would make a good leader because different conditions require different leadership qualities.

  Authoritarian leaders are usually less effective because groups can get bogged down in internal conflicts. Democratic: where leaders seek group consensus.S. Laissez faire leaders are less effective because the group loses goals and directives. Authoritarian: where leaders simple give orders. Authoritarian: 2. Laissez ²faire: where leaders seem easy going and faire: make little attempt to direct or organize the group. democratic style leadership is usually the most effective style in holding small groups together and accomplishing goals.Three Basic Styles of Leadership     1. In the U. Democratic: 3. 18 .

In ordinary friendship situations where folks are just hanging out and relaxing.   It is not uncommon to see an authoritarian style of leadership being used on the job when a democratic style would be more effective. Americans are socialized into democratic ideals and tend to react negatively to authoritarian leaders in non-crisis situations. non19 .   In emergency situations where speed and efficiency are primary. an authoritarian style produces the most effective leader. there may be different situations that call for different styles of leadership. there are situations where democratic leadership is less effective. the laissez-faire style works well. laissez-  Within any formal organization or bureaucracy.Three Basic Styles of Leadership  However.

20 . Two heads are not necessarily better than one when a problem has no necessarily-correct solution. When several solutions seem correct. for indeterminate tasks. group decision making may not be the best way to go. but only for determinate tasks. These are problems tasks.Group Decision Making     When it comes to making decisions. are two heads better than one? Yes. that have only one correct solution. In other necessarilywords.

such as in union-management bargaining. union- 21 .How do groups come to a decision?  Usually. the general tendency is for discussion to bring about general conformity. Juries usually move toward general agreement and certainty.   This insight has applications for understanding the jury deliberation process. through consensus. The only exception to this pattern toward consensus is when members represent the fixed opinions of others outside the group.  No matter what the views of the individual members at the outset.  Only rarely does a majority impose its view on a reluctant minority.

are groups likely to make less risky or more risky decisions than individuals?    Generally groups are likely to make more risky decisions than individuals. 22 . Recent evidence shows that the CIA and other security agencies adopted a risky shift policy under pressure from President Bush and Vice President Cheney.Group Decision Making  Because members tend to arrive at a consensus. An example of a disastrous risky shift was the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. This is called the ´risky shiftµ and is partly explained by individuals being absolved of personal responsibility for the decisions made by the group.

Part of the issue involves groupthink. the initially tentative opinions of members becomes more bold as the group moves toward consensus.Group Decision Making  Conclusion The process of group discussion tends to intensify member·s opinions at the same time that consensus begins to emerge.  In other words.  23 .  Discussion toward consensus breeds boldness in group decisiondecision-making.  The problem is that unanimous decisions that are boldly stated can cause major problems if the decision happens to be wrong.

either the President permitted little disagreement (thus encouraging groupthink) and/or groupthink emerged among the inner circle of policy advisors.Groupthink  Groupthink is the informal norm associated with small groups that says that loyalty to the group (or group harmony) is more important than asking the tough questions that may cause group arguments.  Historical American foreign policy examples where groupthink occurred:     1961 Bay of Pigs invasion (John Kennedy) 1965 Vietnam escalation (Lyndon Johnson) 2003 Iraq invasion (George Bush) In each of these historical blunders. An atmosphere of consensus is assumed. 24 .  Groupthink keeps members from ´rocking the boatµ by disagreeing with each other.

and their decisions may be a product of groupthink. Their decisions may be overly risky.  Their decisions may be ´bold.Groupthink  Policy Implication  Beware of leaders who surround themselves with members who don·t like to rock the boat. 25 . they are overly certain that they are right.µ but wrong.

1956). 1955.Group Conformity  The smaller the group. This insight was confirmed by the research of Solomon Asch (1951. the greater the intensity of social interaction.   Asch found that unanimous group pressure of 4 or more people to conform to a wrong answer swayed one-third oneof his subjects away from their (obviously) right answer to the (obviously) wrong unanimous group answer. Therefore the pressure to conform is particularly powerful in the small group due to the intense atmosphere. 26 .

there was group pressure on the subject to conform to the group·s mismatched lines. overtheir own assessment and adopted the unanimous wrong assessment held by the others. But when the subject witnessed others mismismatching the lines. 27 .Soloman Asch on group conformity  Subjects were shown lines of different lengths and asked to match the lines. Without group pressure they did fine. the subjects over-rode cases. In one-third of onethe cases.

28 .Soloman Asch on group conformity  Conclusion: group pressure can override an individual·s own physical senses. People may yield to the group by giving the answer they think the group wants.  They may suspect or know it to be the wrong answer. or they may allow the group to override their own assessment and believe they are wrong.

It is less of a conscious judgment. effectively making you see almost selfanything. People doubt their own correct answers when everyone else provides a consistently wrong answer. so they conform to the group rather than rock the boat. People want to be well liked.  Later psychological research suggests that the actual perception of line length changed as a function of exposure to other·s views of its length. 2. 29 .Soloman Asch on group conformity   Why did some of the people conform to the wrong answer? Researchers asked the subjects this question and learned that   1.  The group pressure implied by the opinion of others can lead to self-modification.

All it took was one other person disagreeing with the group. and under this circumstance less than 10% of subjects adjusted their opinion to the majority group (wrong) opinion. then subjects felt much freer to stick to their original opinion. 30 .  He found that the subjects conformed to a group of 3 or 4 as readily as they did to a larger group.  Researchers varied the Asch experiment to address the issue of unanimous group consensus.Solomon Asch on group conformity  Asch varied the number of conspirators who gave the wrong answers between 1 and 15.  If the group was not unanimous.

 This misjudgment can occur at the perceptual level. 31  . people did not attribute their ´wrongµ behavior to an authority figure.Group Pressure and Obedience  Both the Solomon Asch and Stanley Milgram studies suggest that 1.  In the Asch experiments.  2. Some people will conform to group pressure even when there is physical evidence such conformity may be incorrect. causing people to doubt their own senses in favor of the group definition. Rather. People tend to obey legitimate authority figures even when there is evidence it may be wrong behavior. they attributed their wrong behavior to misjudgment or poor eyesight. The group has a powerful effect on perception.

Zimbardo learned that people do not just obey from the pressure of authority and/or from group pressure .  Role expectations play an important part in how we behave. 32 .they also obey from the pressure of particular social situations and their implied statuses and roles.Obedience ² the Zimbardo research   Another famous study which contributes to why people conform was done by Philip Zimbardo.

passive.Philip Zimbardo: Status and Role in a Mock Prison (1971)   Zimbardo set up a social psychological experiment that quickly went awry. He had undergraduates play the role of prisoners and prison guards in a mock prison environment. What is the role expectation of ´prison guardµ or ´prisonerµ?  The experiment was cut short after only 6 days because those playing the role of prison guard quickly became mean and sadistic.  Link to youtube clip: The Stanford Prison Experiment 33 . while the ´prisonersµ became depressed and sadistic.

   Conclusion: Conclusion: The social situation and its implied roles are powerful influences of how people can be expected to behave. The Lucifer Effect.  See Zimbardo¶s recent book. for more information. norms.  At the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq (2004). and institutional support that transcends individual agency. Effect.Zimbardo  Zimbardo found that even the temporary adoption of a status can quickly affect one·s personality. a legitimizing ideology. rules. 34 . American guards quickly became sadistic in much the same way that the student guards did back in 1971. Good people can do harm to others if they find themselves in particular social situations within the context of socially approved roles.

µ Ingroup: a social group commanding a members Ingroup: esteem and loyalty.     All groups tend to maintain their boundaries by developing a sense of ´usµ and ´them. 35 . Outgroup: Outgroup: a social group one does not belong to toward which one feels competition or opposition. By the same token.Ingroups and Outgroups  Every group has membership boundaries. People tend to regard their ingroups as special. they regard the outgroup as less worthy or perhaps even with hostility.  Note that these boundaries may be vague in some cases (like peer groups).

Ingroups and Outgroups The very presence of an ´enemyµ outgroup tends to promote ingroup solidarity or loyalty. 36 .   Thus. conflict between groups increases the loyalty and solidarity of members within each group.

 Today it is relatively easy to find other people interested in the same obscure topic or underground band. The rise of the 500Internet and links like My Space have greatly helped computercomputer-literate people widen their social networks.   Social networks provide access to resources and are helpful in getting jobs and solving problems requiring special resources. indirectly to even more people. thanks to Internet resources.  An individual·s social network is not a group ² because its members don·t all interact together.Social Networks  Social networks are webs of relationships that link the individual directly to other people. and through them. In modern industrial societies the average individual has a network of roughly 500-2500 acquaintances. 37 .

and thus buy something. commercial culture teaches young women to rely on runway models as their reference group ² which guarantees she will feel she needs improvement.  It is important to use realistic reference groups and realistic role models. Similarly.Reference Group    A reference group is a group which people compare themselves with when they evaluate themselves.   If a trainee evaluates their performance by referencing the performance of experienced veterans. The verdict of our evaluations is strongly influenced by the reference groups we choose to compare ourselves with (or the one we are provided with to compare). their self evaluation will be low. We do this by comparing ourselves with others and the standards of other groups. We constantly evaluate ourselves. 38 .

 A formal organization is a large secondary group that is deliberately and rationally designed to achieve specific objectives. formal organizations.Formal Organizations   Until a century ago. nearly all social life took place in primary groups. Today the social setting is dominated by large.  Today. just as we are likely to die in one. 39 . we are likely to be born in a formal organization. impersonal.

Formal Organizations   In formal organizations.  40 . and power can be dehumanizing. Formal orgs are a double edged sword: On the one hand we need them for our material standard of living. yet on the other hand their size. rights and responsibilities are attached mainly to the office or role a person occupies and not to the person as an individual. impersonality.  Max Weber believed that much of the feeling of alienation (powerlessness) of industrial societies stems from the rise of bureaucracies.

 Bureaucracies uphold the values of rationality. racism. government. making them efficient.Bureaucracy  A bureaucracy is a formal organization with an authority structure that is hierarchical. Many people can be ´processedµ efficiently. productivity. and there are many people with little power at the bottom of the pyramid.   Bureaucracies are shaped like a pyramid. they liberate us from the traditional values of ascription. The bureaucracy is highly efficient and rational. and meritocracy. obedience.  Because they value meritocracy and achieved statuses. sexism. and other resources. and other non-rational bigotries. non41 . where there are a few people with a lot of power at the top. thereby allowing mass access to education.  Those at the top command the behaviors of those at the bottom. efficiency.

42 . 5. Technical competence to perform specialized tasks used as a criteria of evaluation. Specialized tasks within the organization. 2. 4. Hierarchy of statuses and offices. 3.Six Characteristics of Bureaucracy       1. written records to assure rationality. Impersonality. 6. Formal. Rules and regulations that serve as rational guides for behavior. where rules take precedence over feelings.

explicit. and other dehumanizing values. efficiency. with its mystery and beauty being replaced by the new values of technical rationality. primary group based interaction (spontaneous.Max Weber·s Analysis     While Max Weber appreciated the rational nature of bureaucracies. predictability. To Weber. the world was becoming disenchanting as it became increasingly rationalized. he also found them problematic. Rationalization refers to the replacement of traditional. Weber argued that the modern world was becoming increasingly dull. carefully calculated rules and procedures that are associated with secondary group interaction. 43 . productivity. rule-ofrule-ofthumb. emotionalized) with abstract.

to Weber. people are treated impersonally as ´casesµ or ´numbers. technical goals. The spirit of humanity.µ Within the bureaucracy.Max Weber on Bureaucracy    Bureaucracies bring the subordination of humans to the interests of impersonal. was ´trapped in the iron cage of bureaucracy. Feelings interfere with the efficiency of the system.µ The members of the bureaucracy are expected to remain impersonal in their contacts with the public ² to be ´detachedµ from their own humanity. 44 .

informal networks develop and primary groups emerge.The 1970s TV show MASH captured this informal side.  These informal norms are created by the members themselves and are a source of humanity within the ´machine. Within all bureaucracies.µ  Note . there is also an informal side. all bureaucracies consist of a bundle of formal rules and regulations mixed with a bundle of informal norms and relationships. where primary groups reside.The Informal Structure of Bureaucracy    Despite Weber·s concerns about the cold-hearted coldnature of bureaucracies. 45 . Therefore.

Ultimately it is the people who create and operate an organization. the formal structure of a bureaucracy provides only a general framework for social interaction. members will negotiate informal norms and patterns that have little relationship to the formal hierarchy.  Within the larger structure of a bureaucracy.The Informal Structure of Bureaucracy   In reality. and in essence the bureaucracy is a negotiated reality. 46 .

In a mass society a bureaucracy is functional for most people. yet it is dehumanizing too. Weber and other researchers have identified a number of dysfunctions of bureaucracies. Weber was especially interested in how bureaucracies dehumanize us ² they detach us from our humanity by turning us into cold technocrats.Dysfunctions of Bureaucracy    Max Weber appreciated the paradox of bureaucracies. 47 .

Inefficient in unusual cases. 7. Inability to be innovative. De- 48 . 5. antiauthoritarian nature. 3. 6.Dysfunctions of Bureaucracy        1. a technocrat. 2. De-humanization. The bureaucratic personality: detached. Bureaucratic enlargement. 4. Oligarchy (rule by the few) and its anti-democratic. Goal displacement.

Every product is made the predictability. Efficiency. Uniformity and predictability. same way. Both product and service are guided by this Efficiency. 49 . 4. eliminated as much as possible through assembly lines. The human element is automation. value. computers and automation.McDonaldization      George Ritzer recently expanded on Weber·s concerns about overover-rationalization. He argues that our society is increasingly organized around four principles that McDonalds has perfected: 1. Calculability ² fixed amounts of product for fixed prices. 2. Control through automation. 3.

Each individual may belong to different teams over the years.Other Forms of Organization   Most formal organizations are similar in structure. The Japanese Corporation  The extraordinary achievements of Japan are largely due to the unique features of the Japanese industrial corporation. and it is the team ² not the individual ² which is evaluated. providing job security to workers.  Emphasis upon the group over the individual. 50 .  Membership is a reciprocal lifetime contract.  Workers are organized into small teams. but there are some variations.  All promotions are from within.

 Decision-making is collective and discussion Decisionoccurs from the bottom up. recreation. Japanese workers show great loyalty to the firm. but nothing like the American system where the top makes 400+ times more.The Japanese Corporation top managers are not paid that much more than the bottom workers. etc. education. health care. Top officials merely ratify. day care.  Japanese corporations go beyond strictly business to offer their workers welfare. 51  The . perhaps 3 to 5 times more.  They fuse leisure activities with work activities.  In turn. including housing.

They have several features:       Little division of labor. the more bureaucratic it is likely to get. The larger a collective gets. Weakness: less efficient. Strength: affirms democracy and equality.The Collective  Collectives are nonbureaucratic organizations often associated with progressives seeking to affirm participatory democracy. Individual initiative is valued. The individual usually has a variety of tasks. 52 . Generally authority is democratic and arises from consensus. and only applicable to relatively small scale enterprises. Members treat each others is equals. with a democratic leadership style.

 periodic sabbaticals. and because of their oligarchyoligarchyemphasis. there has been a call to reform bureaucracies with new policies like  flextime.  job security. 53 .  paternity leave.  and a more egalitarian division of labor. As a result.Organizational Reform  The rise of humanism during the 1960s resulted in the criticism of bureaucracies because of their tendency to stifle personal growth.

not the other way around. 54 . In the final analysis organizations exist for the benefit of people.Organizational Reform    Ultimately the most significant reforms will be those that allow greater social control over the affairs of bureaucracies. We need to develop a means of making bureaucracies more accountable to the public interest and to their workers.

advancement. and work to minimize outgroup hatreds. everyone feel included. Social inclusiveness. The organization should make inclusiveness. oligarchal responsibilities. 2.and subsupersubordinates. Reduce the number of workers stuck in dead end jobs and encourage new means of upward mobility. structures by spreading power more widely and keeping lines of communication open between super. 55 . 3. Sharing responsibilities.Humanizing the Bureaucracy     There are at least 3 ways to make bureaucracies more humane: 1. Reduce rigid. Expanding opportunities for advancement.

End of Chapter 7 56 .

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