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

Learning Objectives

6.1. Types of Groups

Understand main and second groups as two key sociological groupsRecognize in-groups and also out-groups together subtypes of main and second groupsDefine referral groups

6.2. Groups and also Networks

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

6.3. Officially Organizations

Understand the different types of formal organizationsCategorize the qualities of bureaucraciesAnalyze the the contrary tendencies of administration toward efficiency and also inefficiencyIdentify the concepts of the McDonaldization of culture and the McJob as elements of the procedure of rationalization

Introduction come Groups and also Organizations

The punk tape NOFX is playing exterior in Los Angeles. The music is loud, the crowd pumped up and excited. However neither the lyrics nor the human being in the audience are rather what you might expect. Mixed in with the punks and also young rebel students room members of neighborhood unions, indigenous well-dressed teachers to an ext grizzled work leaders. The lyrics are not published anywhere yet are available on YouTube: “We’re right here to represent/The 99 percent/Occupy, occupy, occupy.” The song: “Wouldn’t It it is in Nice If Every Movement had a theme Song” (Cabrel 2011).

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At an accounting camp in new York, about three dozen members of the Facilitation functioning Group, a part of the basic Assembly, take a steady stream that visitors v requests at their unofficial headquarters. One human being wants a approve for $1,500 to make herbal medications obtainable to those continuing to be at the park. An additional wants to current Native American peace principles obtained from the Iroquois Confederacy. Yet an additional has a spreadsheet the he wants provided as an testimonial tool because that the facilitators. A team of women push for an ext inclusive language come be supplied in the “Declaration of the Occupation” document so the racial and women’s involves are well-known as central to the movement.

In Victoria, B.C., a tent ar springs up in Centennial Square outside city hall, similar to tent cities in various other parts of the country. V the “horizontal decision-making process” of day-to-day general assemblies, the neighborhood decides to adjust its surname from accounting Victoria to the People’s Assembly of Victoria due to the fact that of the negative colonial connotations of words “occupy” for aboriginal members that the group. Together the tent urban of the occupy movement start to be dismantled, forcibly in part cases, a different movement, Idle No More, emerges to support for aboriginal justice.

Numerous groups consist of the accounting movement, yet there is no central movement leader. What renders a group something more than simply a collection 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 kind of a group, even if it is it is a social movement, sports team, institution club, or family. Groups connect us come others with commonalities of geography, interests, race, religion, and activities. But for the teams of human being protesting from brand-new York City come Victoria, B.C., and in the thousands of cities in between, their connection within the Occupy wall surface Street movement is harder come define. What unites these people? are homeless human being truly to adjust with legislation school students? Do indigenous people genuinely feeling for the environmental protests against pipelines and also fish farming?

Groups are common in our social resides and provide a far-reaching way come understand and define ourselves—both through teams we feeling a link to and also those we carry out not. Groups also play an important role in society. As enduring social units, they aid foster shared value systems and also are an essential to the structure of society as we know it. Over there are 4 primary sociological perspectives for studying groups: functionalist, critical, feminist, and also symbolic interactionist. We have the right to look at the Occupy activity through the lenses that these techniques to far better understand the roles and challenges that groups offer.

The functionalist perspective is a big-picture, macro-level watch that looks at just how different aspects of culture are intertwined. This view is based upon the idea that society is a well-balanced mechanism with all parts important to the whole. It research studies the functions these parts play in the reproduction of the whole. In the situation of the accounting movement, a functionalist could look in ~ what macro-level needs the motion serves. Structure functionalism recognizes that there room tensions or conflicts between different structural facets of the system. The vast inequalities produced by the financial system might duty positively as part of the incentive needed for civilization to commit us to risky financial ventures, however they conflict with the normative structure of the politics decision-making system based upon equality and democratic principles. The accounting movement forces both haves and also have-nots to pay fist to the imbalances in between the economic and political systems. Occupy emerges as an expression of the disjunction in between these 2 systems and also functions together a means of initiating a resolution the the issues.

The crucial perspective is an additional macroanalytical view, one that concentrates on the genesis and growth that inequality. A an important theorist researching the occupy movement might look at how organization interests have actually manipulated the device to mitigate financial regulations and also corporate taxes end the last 30 years. In particular, they would be interested in just how these caused the financial situation of 2008 and the enhancing inequality we check out today. The slogan, “We room the 99%,” emblematic of the accounting movement, refers to the massive redistribution of wide range from the middle course to the top class. Also when the mismanagement of the corporate elite (i.e., the “1%”) had actually threatened the stability of people’s livelihoods and the entire worldwide economy in the financial meltdown of 2008, and also even once their corporations and financial institutions were receiving bailouts native the American and also Canadian governments, their an individual income, bonuses, and also overall re-publishing of social riches increased.

Feminist analysis of the Occupy motion would be interested in the connection between contemporary capitalism and patriarchy. Why are women the poorest of the poor? lock would likewise be interested in the type of organizational models used by the Occupy motion to understand and attend to the resulting concerns of strength structure and economic injustice. The consciousness-raising techniques and 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 motion in order to prolong the critique of corporate greed and also financial establishments to mainly invisible issues of privilege and daily, an individual struggle. Occupy Montreal adopted the ide of stepping earlier or “progressive stack” in their meetings. Men and also other leading movement figures were motivated to step earlier from monopolizing the conversation so that a diversity of opinions and experiences might be heard. “We space not here to reproduce the very same monopolization that voice and power as the ‘1%,’ us are below to diversify spaces for radical inclusion” (Boler 2012).

A fourth perspective is the symbolic interactionist perspective. This an approach of assessing groups bring away a micro-level view. Instead of researching the huge picture, these researcher look at the day-to-day interaction of groups. Studying these details, the interactionist watch at concerns like leadership style, communicative interactions, and group dynamics. In the situation of the occupy movement, interactionists could ask, “How walk a non-hierarchical company work?”; “How is the social order the a diverse group kept when there room no formal regulation in place?”; “What space the latent or tacit rules such groups rely on?”; “How carry out members involved share a common collection of meanings concerning what the movement is about?”

Figure 6.2. Slavoj Zizek addresses the crowd at Occupy wall Street, “You don’t must be a genius come lead, anyone can be leader.” (Photo courtesy the Daniel Latorre/Flickr).

At one point during the occupation of wall Street, speakers favor Slovenian social critic and also philosopher Slavoj Zizek were obliged to give up the use of microphones and amplification come comply through noise bylaws. They gave their speeches one heat at a time and also the human being within earshot recurring the present so that those more away might hear. The symbolic interactionist would be interested in assessing how this communicational format, regardless of its cumbersome nature, could concerned be an expression of team solidarity.

6.1. Types the Groups

Most of united state feel comfortable using the word “group” without offering it much thought. Yet what does it median to be part of a group? The ide of a team is main to lot of exactly how we think about culture and human being interaction. As Georg Simmel (1858–1915) put it, “ociety exists wherein a number of individuals get in into interaction” (1908). Society exists in groups. Because that Simmel, society did not exist otherwise. What fascinated him to be the means in which world mutually attune to one another to create reasonably enduring forms. In a group, people behave differently than they would certainly if they to be alone. Castle conform, lock resist, they forge alliances, they cooperate, castle betray, they organize, lock defer gratification, they display respect, they intend obedience, castle share, castle manipulate, etc. Gift in a group transforms their behaviour and their abilities. This is among the founding insights of sociology: the whole is higher than the sum of that parts. The team has properties over and over the properties of its separation, personal, instance members. It has a reality sui generis, the its own kind. But how exactly does the whole involved be greater?

Defining a Group

How have the right to we hone the definition of the term group more precisely because that sociological purposes? The hatchet is an amorphous one and also can refer to a wide selection of gatherings, from simply two world (think about a “group project” in school once you companion with one more student), a club, a consistent gathering of friends, or people who work-related together or share a hobby. In short, the ax refers to any collection of at least two civilization who communicate with part frequency and also who re-superstructure a sense that their identity is in which method aligned with the group. Of course, every time human being gather, they carry out not necessarily form a group. An audience assembled to watch a street performer is a one-time random gathering. Conservative-minded human being who come with each other to vote in one election room not a group because the members carry out not necessarily connect with one one more with part frequency. World who exist in the same place at the same time, but who perform not connect or share a feeling of identity—such as a bunch of people standing in line at Starbucks—are taken into consideration an aggregate, or a crowd. World who share similar characteristics but are not otherwise tied to one another in any way are taken into consideration a category.

An example of a category would be Millennials, the term provided to all youngsters born from approximately 1980 to 2000. Why room Millennials a category and also not a group? because while several of them might share a feeling of identity, they perform not, as a whole, interact typically with each other.

Interestingly, world within an accumulation or group can become a group. Throughout disasters, people in a neighbourhood (an aggregate) who did not understand each various other might come to be friendly and depend ~ above each other at the local shelter. After ~ the disaster ends and also the human being go back to just living close to each other, the emotion of cohesiveness might last since they have actually all mutual an experience. They might remain a group, practising emergency readiness, coordinating supplies for next time, or taking transforms caring for neighbors who require extra help. Similarly, there might be plenty of groups within a solitary category. Consider teachers, because that example. Within this category, groups may exist prefer teachers’ unions, teachers who coach, or employee members who are involved with the college board.

Types the Groups

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

Secondary groups are often larger and impersonal. Castle may also be task focused and time limited. These groups serve an instrumental function fairly than one expressive one, definition that their function is much more goal or task oriented than emotional. A class or office have the right to be an instance of a secondary group. Neither main nor secondary groups are bound by strict interpretations or collection limits. In fact, civilization can move from one group to another. A graduate seminar, because that example, have the right to start as a an additional group concentrated on the class at hand, yet as the students work-related together throughout their program, they may find usual interests and strong ties the transform them into a main group.

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Peter Marsden (1987) refers to one’s team of close society contacts as a core conversation group. This are individuals with who you can talk about important an individual matters or with whom you choose to invest your totally free time. Christakis and Fowler (2009) uncovered that the median North American had four close an individual contacts. However, 12 percent of their sample had no close an individual contacts that this sort, when 5 percent had more than eight close an individual contacts. Half of the people noted in the core conversation group were defined as friends, as can be expected, yet the other half included family members, spouses, children, colleagues, and also professional consultants of assorted sorts. Marsden’s initial research native the 1980s confirmed that the size of the core discussion group decreases together one ages, there was no distinction in size between men and women, and those with a post-secondary level had core conversation groups nearly twice the size of those who had not completed high school.