Chapter 6. Groups and also Organizations
Figure 6.1. Students, environmentalists, union members, and aboriginal people verified up come protest in ~ the Occupy activity in Victoria, B.C. (Photo courtesy of rpaterso/flickr)

Learning Objectives

6.1. Species of Groups

Understand major and second groups together two an essential sociological groupsRecognize in-groups and out-groups as subtypes of main and an additional groupsDefine reference groups

6.2. Groups and also Networks

Determine the difference between groups, society networks, and formal organizationsAnalyze the dynamics that dyads, triads, and also larger society networksDistinguish between different formats of leadershipExplain exactly how conformity is affected by groupsUnderstand why groups and networks are more than the amount of their parts

6.3. Official Organizations

Understand the different varieties of official organizationsCategorize the features of bureaucraciesAnalyze the the opposite tendencies of bureaucracy toward efficiency and also inefficiencyIdentify the concepts of the McDonaldization of culture and the McJob as aspects of the process of rationalization

Introduction come Groups and also Organizations

The punk tape NOFX is playing external in Los Angeles. The music is loud, the crowd pumped up and also excited. Yet neither the text nor the people in the audience are rather what you could expect. Blended in v the punks and young rebel students are members of local unions, native well-dressed teachers to much more grizzled labour leaders. The lyrics are not published anywhere but are obtainable on YouTube: “We’re right here to represent/The 99 percent/Occupy, occupy, occupy.” The song: “Wouldn’t It be Nice If Every Movement had actually a template Song” (Cabrel 2011).

You are watching: A business is a formal organization created to sell services or products at a profit.

At an accounting camp in brand-new York, approximately three dozen members that the Facilitation functioning Group, a component of the general Assembly, take a secure stream that visitors through requests at your unofficial headquarters. One human being wants a give for $1,500 come make organic medications available to those staying at the park. One more wants to present Native American tranquility principles derived from the Iroquois Confederacy. Yet an additional has a spreadsheet that he wants supplied as an evaluation tool because that the facilitators. A group of women push for an ext inclusive language to be offered in the “Declaration the the Occupation” paper so that racial and women’s pertains to are recognized as central to the movement.

In Victoria, B.C., a tent neighborhood springs up in Centennial Square exterior city hall, as with tent urban in various other parts that the country. With the “horizontal decision-making process” of everyday general assemblies, the neighborhood decides to change its surname from occupy Victoria to the People’s Assembly the Victoria due to the fact that of the negative colonial connotations of the word “occupy” for indigenous members of the group. Together the tent urban of the accounting movement start to it is in dismantled, forcibly in part cases, a different movement, Idle No More, increase to support for indigenous justice.

Numerous groups comprise the occupy movement, yet there is no main movement leader. What provides a group something an ext than simply a arsenal of people? just how are management functions and styles created in a team dynamic?

Most civilization have a sense of what it way to be component of some type of a group, whether it is a social movement, sports team, college club, or family. Groups attach us come others v commonalities of geography, interests, race, religion, and also activities. Yet for the teams of civilization protesting from new York City come Victoria, B.C., and also in the thousands of cities in between, their link within the Occupy wall surface Street activity is harder to define. What unites this people? are homeless world truly aligned with regulation school students? Do aboriginal people genuinely feeling for the ecological protests versus pipelines and also fish farming?

Groups are widespread in our social stays and administer a far-ranging way to understand and also define ourselves—both through groups we feeling a link to and also those we do not. Groups additionally play an essential role in society. Together enduring society units, they aid foster common value systems and are key to the structure of society as we understand it. Over there are four primary sociological perspectives for examining groups: functionalist, critical, feminist, and symbolic interactionist. We deserve to look in ~ the Occupy activity through the lenses the these approaches to far better understand the roles and also challenges that groups offer.

The functionalist view is a big-picture, macro-level see that watch at exactly how different elements of society are intertwined. This view is based on the idea that culture is a well-balanced system with every parts important to the whole. It researches the attributes these components play in the reproduction of the whole. In the situation of the accounting movement, a functionalist can look in ~ what macro-level requirements the movement serves. Structural functionalism recognizes that there space tensions or conflicts in between different structural elements of the system. The substantial inequalities produced by the financial system might duty positively as part of the inspiration needed for people to commit us to risky financial ventures, yet they conflict with the normative framework of the politics decision-making system based on equality and democratic principles. The accounting movement forces both haves and have-nots come pay attention to the imbalances in between the economic and political systems. Accounting emerges as an expression of the disjunction between these 2 systems and also functions as a method of initiating a resolution of the issues.

The an essential perspective is another macroanalytical view, one that concentrates on the genesis and also growth of inequality. A crucial theorist examining the occupy movement can look in ~ how business interests have manipulated the device to mitigate financial regulations and corporate taxes over the last 30 years. In particular, they would be interested in just how these caused the financial situation of 2008 and also the increasing inequality we check out today. The slogan, “We space the 99%,” emblematic that the occupy movement, describes the huge redistribution of wealth from the middle course to the top class. Even when the mismanagement of the corporate upstream (i.e., the “1%”) had threatened the stability of people’s livelihoods and the entire global economy in the jae won meltdown of 2008, and also even as soon as their corporations and financial establishments were receiving bailouts indigenous the American and Canadian governments, their personal income, bonuses, and overall re-superstructure of social wealth increased.

Feminist evaluation of the Occupy movement would be interested in the connection between modern-day capitalism and also patriarchy. Why room women the poorest that the poor? they would additionally be interested in the form of organizational models provided by the Occupy motion to understand and resolve the resulting worries of power structure and also economic injustice. The consciousness-raising techniques and also non-hierarchical decision-making processes occurred by feminists in the 1960s and also 1970s were, in fact, integrated into the everyday political activities of the Occupy movement in stimulate to extend the critique of that company greed and also financial establishments to mostly invisible concerns of privilege and daily, an individual struggle. Accounting Montreal adopted the concept of stepping earlier or “progressive stack” in their meetings. Men and other leading movement numbers were encouraged to step back from monopolizing the conversation so the a diversity that opinions and also experiences can be heard. “We are not here to blee the exact same monopolization the voice and also power as the ‘1%,’ us are right here to diversify spaces for radical inclusion” (Boler 2012).

A 4th perspective is the symbolic interactionist perspective. This an approach of assessing groups take away a micro-level view. Rather of studying the large picture, these researchers look in ~ the day-to-day interactions of groups. Researching these details, the interactionist looks at concerns like management style, communicative interactions, and group dynamics. In the case of the occupy movement, interactionists can ask, “How go a non-hierarchical organization work?”; “How is the society order the a diverse group maintained when there space no formal regulations in place?”; “What space the latent or tacit rules such groups rely on?”; “How do members pertained to share a common set of meanings worrying what the movement is about?”

Figure 6.2. Slavoj Zizek addresses the group at Occupy wall surface Street, “You don’t should be a genius to lead, anyone have the right to be leader.” (Photo courtesy of Daniel Latorre/Flickr).

At one allude during the occupation of wall surface Street, speakers favor Slovenian society critic and philosopher Slavoj Zizek were obliged to give up the use of microphones and amplification come comply v noise bylaws. They provided their speeches one heat at a time and also the people within earshot repeated the lines so that those more away might hear. The symbolic interactionist would certainly be interested in assessing how this communicational format, in spite of its cumbersome nature, could involved be one expression of team solidarity.

6.1. Types that Groups

Most of us feel comfortable using words “group” without giving it much thought. But what go it mean to be part of a group? The concept of a group is central to much of exactly how we think about society and human being interaction. Together Georg Simmel (1858–1915) put it, “ociety exists where a number of individuals go into into interaction” (1908). Society exists in groups. For Simmel, culture did no exist otherwise. What fascinated him to be the way in which people mutually attune come one one more to create relatively enduring forms. In a group, people behave in different ways than they would if they were alone. Castle conform, they resist, they create alliances, lock cooperate, they betray, lock organize, castle defer gratification, they display respect, they expect obedience, lock share, castle manipulate, etc. Being in a group alters their behaviour and also their abilities. This is just one of the founding insights of sociology: the whole is greater than the sum of that parts. The group has properties over and over the properties of its separation, personal, instance members. It has a reality sui generis, that its very own kind. Yet how precisely does the whole concerned be greater?

Defining a Group

How deserve to we hone the definition of the ax group more precisely because that sociological purposes? The hatchet is one amorphous one and can refer to a wide selection of gatherings, from just two world (think around a “group project” in school once you partner with an additional student), a club, a regular gathering that friends, or human being who work-related together or re-superstructure a hobby. In short, the hatchet refers to any collection that at least two world who communicate with part frequency and who re-publishing a feeling that their identification is somehow aligned v the group. Of course, every time civilization gather, they perform not necessarily kind a group. An audience assembled to clock a street show is a one-time arbitrarily gathering. Conservative-minded civilization who come with each other to poll in one election room not a group since the members perform not necessarily communicate with one an additional with part frequency. World who exist in the same place at the exact same time, however who perform not interact or re-superstructure a sense of identity—such together a bunch of civilization standing in heat at Starbucks—are thought about an aggregate, or a crowd. People who share comparable characteristics however are not otherwise tied to one one more in any way are thought about a category.

An example of a classification would be Millennials, the term offered to all children born from roughly 1980 come 2000. Why space Millennials a category and not a group? due to the fact that while several of them may share a feeling of identity, they do not, together a whole, interact typically with every other.

Interestingly, world within an aggregate or group can end up being a group. During disasters, civilization in a neighbourhood (an aggregate) that did not know each other might end up being friendly and depend top top each other at the local shelter. After the disaster ends and also the world go earlier to just living close to each other, the emotion of cohesiveness may last due to the fact that they have all mutual an experience. They might remain a group, practising emergency readiness, coordinating offers for following time, or taking turns caring for neighbours who need extra help. Similarly, there might be plenty of groups within a single category. Consider teachers, because that example. Within this category, teams may exist like teachers’ unions, teachers who coach, or staff members that are connected with the institution board.

Types of Groups

Sociologist Charles Horton Cooley (1864–1929) said that teams can generally be separated into two categories: primary groups and also secondary groups (Cooley 1909). Follow to Cooley, primary teams play the most an essential role in our lives. The primary group is usually reasonably small and is made up of individuals who usually engage face-to-face in long-term, emotionally ways. This team serves emotionally needs: expressive functions fairly than pragmatic ones. The primary group is usually made up of far-ranging others—those individuals who have the most impact on our socialization. The ideal example the a primary group is the family.

Secondary groups are frequently larger and impersonal. Castle may additionally be task focused and time limited. These teams serve an instrumental function rather than an expressive one, definition that their role is much more goal or job oriented than emotional. A class or office deserve to be an example of a an additional group. Neither main nor secondary groups space bound by strict meanings or set limits. In fact, human being can relocate from one group to another. A graduate seminar, for example, can start as a secondary group focused on the course at hand, however as the students job-related together throughout their program, they may find common interests and strong ties the transform them right into a main group.

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Peter Marsden (1987) refers to one’s group of close social contacts as a core conversation group. This are people with who you can comment on important an individual matters or with whom you pick to invest your complimentary time. Christakis and Fowler (2009) uncovered that the mean North American had 4 close personal contacts. However, 12 percent of their sample had actually no close personal contacts the this sort, if 5 percent had an ext than eight close an individual contacts. Half of the people listed in the core discussion group were identified as friends, as can be expected, but the other fifty percent included family members, spouses, children, colleagues, and professional consultants of various sorts. Marsden’s original research indigenous the 1980s confirmed that the dimension of the core conversation group decreases as one ages, there to be no distinction in size in between men and women, and those with a post-secondary degree had core discussion groups nearly twice the size of those who had actually not completed high school.