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Category: Groups and organizations sociology

As we consider ways to try to improve our society, the role of groups and organizations becomes very important. This section briefly considers this importance. One individual can certainly make a difference, but it is much more common for any difference to be made by individuals acting together—that is, by a group.

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In this regard, it is very clear that groups of many types have been and will continue to be vehicles for social reform and social change of many kinds. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

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Groups have often served as vehicles for many types of social reform and social change. Many of the rights and freedoms Americans enjoy today are the result of efforts by social reform groups of years past. Wikimedia Commons — public domain. All such groups, past, present, and future, are vehicles for social reform and social change, or at least have the potential for becoming such vehicles.

Groups can bring about social reform and social change, but they can also thwart efforts to achieve a just society. For every social change and social reform effort that so many groups and organizations undertake, other groups and organizations try to block such efforts. Groups may be the building blocks of social reform and social change, but they are also the building blocks for the status quo. If the study of sociology can be said to be the study of group life, as noted earlier, the study of social reform and social change can also be said to be the study of what groups and organizations do to try to bring about social reform or to maintain the status quo.

Groups and organizations are typically set in their ways and do not often change their dynamics, goals, or other key aspects. Still, it takes a certain amount of courage and no small amount of perseverance to be a whistle-blower. If so, they will have great potential for changing a group or an organization from within while performing a social good for the larger society.

Alford, C. Whistle-blower narratives: The experience of choiceless choice. Social Research, 74, — Schwartz, J. Justice dept. The New York Timesp. Skip to content Learning Objectives Describe the two ways in which groups and organizations play an important role in social change. Discuss how whistle-blowing is relevant to a discussion of groups, organizations, and social change. Vehicles for Social Change One individual can certainly make a difference, but it is much more common for any difference to be made by individuals acting together—that is, by a group.

Obstacles to Social Change Groups can bring about social reform and social change, but they can also thwart efforts to achieve a just society. Changing Groups and Organizations From Within Groups and organizations are typically set in their ways and do not often change their dynamics, goals, or other key aspects. Key Takeaways Groups can be vehicles for social change and social reform, but they can also be vehicles for thwarting social change and social reform.

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For Your Review Have you ever disapproved of a policy, behavior, or goal of a group to which you belonged? If so what, if anything, did you do? Explain your answer.

Previous: Formal Organizations. Next: End-of-Chapter Material. Share This Book Share on Twitter.Figure 1. Former president Barack Obama addresses a joint session of Congress. Earlier, we discussed the hardware of a cell phone social institutions and the software of society culture and examined explanatory theories of society using the three main theoretical paradigms.

Another way to advance our understanding of society is to study formal organizations and groups, which can help us think about how the various social institutions operate. We live in a time of contradiction: while the pace of change and technology is requiring people to be more nimble and less rigid in their thinking, large bureaucracies like hospitals, schools, and governments are more hampered than ever by their organizational format.

At the same time, the past few decades have seen a trend toward the standardization of previously individualistic local institutions.

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This trend has been referred to as the McDonaldization of society. Even weak connections with others form an important network that provide us with benefits and opportunities. What is it like to track down a health insurance billing question?

Have you ever tried to get technical support on a computer or cell phone? How long did it take and how many different times were you placed on hold? If you went back to the store where you purchased the device, were you asked to wait in line? Does your college or university have a streamlined process for questions related to advising or financial aid?

We will discuss bureaucracies as an ideal-type of organization. Figure 2. Girl Scout troops and correctional facilities are both formal organizations.

Sociologist Amitai Etzioni posited that formal organizations fall into three categories. Normative organizationsalso called voluntary organizationsare based on shared interests. As the name suggests, joining them is voluntary and typically done because people find membership rewarding in an intangible way. The Audubon Society and a ski club are examples of normative organizations. Coercive organizations are groups that are forced to join.

These may include prison or a rehabilitation center. The third type is utilitarian organizationswhich, as the name suggests, are joined because of the need for a specific material reward. High school and the workplace fall into this category—one joined in pursuit of a diploma, the other in order to make money.

All formal organizations are, or likely will become, bureaucracies. Bureaucracies are not a new social phenomenon—they have been around for nearly a century! Today, people often complain about bureaucracies—declaring them slow, rule-bound, difficult to navigate, and unfriendly. Hierarchy of authority refers to the aspect of bureaucracy that places one individual or office in charge of another, who in turn must answer to her own superiors. The president or chancellor answers to the Board, and the divisions arranged under the president have their own leaders, who in turn manage other subordinate employees.

Faculty even tenured faculty are much more autonomous than in other professions, but each department has its own organizational structure and will typically answer to a dean or provost. Often there are elaborate organizational charts to show who answers to whom.

Delegation of tasks and duties flows downward and responsibility flows upward.As we consider ways to try to improve our society, the role of groups and organizations becomes very important. This section briefly considers this importance. One individual can certainly make a difference, but it is much more common for any difference to be made by individuals acting together—that is, by a group.

In this regard, it is very clear that groups of many types have been and will continue to be vehicles for social reform and social change of many kinds. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Groups have often served as vehicles for many types of social reform and social change. Many of the rights and freedoms Americans enjoy today are the result of efforts by social reform groups of years past.

Wikimedia Commons — public domain. All such groups, past, present, and future, are vehicles for social reform and social change, or at least have the potential for becoming such vehicles.

Groups can bring about social reform and social change, but they can also thwart efforts to achieve a just society. For every social change and social reform effort that so many groups and organizations undertake, other groups and organizations try to block such efforts. Groups may be the building blocks of social reform and social change, but they are also the building blocks for the status quo.

If the study of sociology can be said to be the study of group life, as noted earlier, the study of social reform and social change can also be said to be the study of what groups and organizations do to try to bring about social reform or to maintain the status quo.

Groups and organizations are typically set in their ways and do not often change their dynamics, goals, or other key aspects. Still, it takes a certain amount of courage and no small amount of perseverance to be a whistle-blower. If so, they will have great potential for changing a group or an organization from within while performing a social good for the larger society.

Alford, C. Whistle-blower narratives: The experience of choiceless choice. Social Research, 74, — Schwartz, J. Justice dept. The New York Timesp.Social Groups play an important role in the development of society social structure. Mostly, individuals interact with each other within the group and their behaviors are influenced by the norms, values and beliefs of the group. Which help the individuals to meet the expectation of a group associated with their social role.

Sociologists have made vital differentiations amongst the types of groups, which are as follow. Primary and secondary groups, reference groups, coalition groups, in-groups and out-groups and formal and non-formal groups. The term primary group is coined by C. According to C.

Groups, Organizations, and Social Change

H Cooley, primary group is a small group, the characteristics of primary group is intimate face to face association and cooperation. Members of Street gang, family members living under same roof and students sharing a same room in hostel, can be considered as the primary groups. According to MacIver and Page, collection of individuals who are in relationship with each other is called primary group. It is called primary because the members of the group are emotionally attached with one another.

They share the similar ways of life and interests. Family, close childhood friends and love relationships are the example of primary group. The concept of secondary group was given by Maciver. Secondary groups are large in size and there is no intimate relationship amongst the individuals.

The interaction among members is completely contractual and impersonal. Workplace and large educational institution are the examples of secondary group. In school teacher and student do interact but their relationship is solely based on teaching and learning. Therefore, it can be said that the relationship is merely mean to an end.

Work place is another example of secondary group. Employees working in an organization interact with one another frequently but their relationship purpose is just to achieve the organizational goal.

Individual feeling of belongingness to a group is known as in-group. Out-group is a group to which an individual does not belong or the group other than his own.

Members of in-group may feel threaten from out-group, furthermore, they may not agree with the ideology of the group or may be because the other group is different from their group culturally or racially.Over the past decade, a grassroots effort to raise awareness of certain political issues has gained in popularity.

As a result, Tea Party groups have popped up in nearly every community across the country. The group takes its name from the famous so-called Tea Party that occurred in Boston Harbor in Its membership includes people from all walks of life who are taking a stand to protect their values and beliefs. Their beliefs tend to be anti-tax, anti-big government, pro-gun, and generally politically conservative.

Organization in Sociology

Tea Party politicians have been elected to several offices at the national, state, and local levels. House of Representatives and the Senate. At the local level, Tea Party supporters have taken roles as mayors, county commissioners, city council members, and the like.

In a small, rural, Midwestern county with a population of roughlythe three county commissioners who oversee the operation and administration of county government were two Republicans and a Democrat for years. During the election, the Democrat lost his seat to an outspoken Tea Party Republican who campaigned as pro-gun and fiscally conservative. He vowed to reduce government spending and shrink the size of county government.

Groups also play an important role in society. As enduring social units, they help foster shared value systems and are key to the structure of society as we know it. There are three primary sociological perspectives for studying groups: Functionalist, Conflict, and Interactionist.

We can look at the Tea Party movement through the lenses of these methods to better understand the roles and challenges that groups offer. The Functionalist perspective is a big-picture, macro-level view that looks at how different aspects of society are intertwined. This perspective is based on the idea that society is a well-balanced system with all parts necessary to the whole, and it studies the roles these parts play in relation to the whole. In the case of the Tea Party Movement, a Functionalist might look at what macro-level needs the movement serves.

For example, a Structural Functionalist might ask how the party forces people to pay attention to the economy.

groups and organizations sociology

The Conflict perspective is another macroanalytical view, one that focuses on the genesis and growth of inequality.A broad definition of an organization could be said to be that of any purposeful arrangement of social activity that implies active control over human relations ordered for particular ends. In this sense, organizations involve patterns of relationships beyond primary group associations that are largely spontaneous, unplanned, and informal, and that are typified by kinship relations, peer groups, and localized community networks.

There is, however, no generally accepted definition of an organization since its meaning may vary in terms of the different sociological approaches applied to the subject.

There are numerous existing sociological frameworks of organizational analysis and many have sought to categorize their forms by recourse to various criteria.

For example, by using a classification of motivation behind adhering to organizational authority, Amitai Etzioni identifies three types.

Chapter 6: Groups and Organizations

Those who work for remuneration are members of a utilitarian organization. Large commercial enterprises, for instance, generate profits for their owners and offer remuneration in the form of salaries and wages for employees.

Joining utilitarian organizations is usually a matter of individual choice, although the purpose is that of income. Individuals joining normative organizations do so not for remuneration but to pursue goals they consider morally worthwhile, perhaps typified by voluntary organizations, political parties, and numerous other confederations concerned with specific issues.

Max Weber []to whom the first comprehensive sociological treatment of organizations is usually attributed, offered a distinction between modern bureaucracies and other forms of organization Verband.

Formal organizations, however, as Weber accounts, dated back to antiquity. The elites who ruled early empires, ranging from Babylonian, Egyptian, to Chinese, relied on government officials to extend their domination over large subject populations and vast geographical areas. Formal organizations, and their attendant bureaucratic structures, consequently allowed rulers to administer through the collection of taxes, military campaigns, and construction projects.

Typically, cultural patterns in pre industrial societies placed greater importance on preserving the past and tradition than on establishing rationally oriented organizational structures.

In their rationalized bureaucratic form, Weber identified organizations as pervading the structures of modernity and holding increasing sway over human life, including the agencies of the state, business enterprises, education, infirmaries, the military, political parties, penal or rehabilitation institutions, and even religious establishments.

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There were various historical reasons identified by Weber for this expanding mode of bureaucratic existence. These included, in the West at least, the overlapping developments of the calculated pursuit of profit in the emergent capitalization of the marketplace, the diffused Protestant work ethic, an advanced form of geographical communication, the growth of representative democracy, and inscribed for mats of legal regulations.

Sociology Lesson 15- Patterns of Dominant Groups

Weber considered the bureaucratic organizational type to be the clearest expression of a rational worldview because its principal elements were intended to achieve specific goals as efficiently as possible. In short, Weber asserted that bureaucracy transformed the nature of western society in the same way that industrialization revolutionalized the economy — pointing out that large capitalist enterprises are unequaled models of strict bureaucratic organizations.

Firstly, there is the distinguishing feature of specialization. Throughout most of human history, social activity was dominated by the pursuit of the basic goals of securing food and shelter. Bureaucracy, by contrast, assigns to individuals highly specialized duties. Secondly, bureaucracies arrange personnel in a vertical hierarchy of offices. Each official is thus supervised by superiors in the organization, while in turn supervising others in lower positions.

Thirdly, rules and regulations replace cultural traditions through operations guided by rationally enacted rules and regulations.

Hence, a bureaucracy seeks to operate in a completely predictable fashion. Thirdly, a bureaucratic organization anticipates that officials will have the technical competence to administer their official duties.

It follows that bureaucracies regularly monitor the performance of staff members. Such impersonal evaluation based on performance contrasts sharply with the custom or patronage which informed earlier forms of organization. Fourthly, in bureaucratic organizations rules take precedence over personal caprice, encouraging uniform treatment for each client as well as other officials. Finally, rather than casual verbal communication, bureaucracies rest on formal, written reports which subsequently underpin their mode of operation.

While Weber recognized the unparalleled efficiency of bureaucratic organizations, he identified them as simultaneously generating widespread alienation. Moreover, working for large organizations demanded specialized and often tedious routines.

Weber therefore envisaged modern society as a vast and growing system of rules seeking to regulate everything and threatening to crush the human spirit.

groups and organizations sociology

Weber also predicted that the same rationality would overspill into other aspects of social existence and subject individuals to apathetic functionaries.Suppose that in you are working as a middle-level manager at a U. There have been a dozen reports so far, eight for the stroller and four for the crib. The other four managers and you suspect that a hinge in both products might be to blame, but you also realize that several thousand cribs and strollers have been sold in the last year with this particular hinge, with only a dozen apparent injuries resulting.

First, the number of reports is very few compared to the number of cribs and strollers that have been sold. Second, they worry that if they bring the reports to the attention of upper management, their jobs may be at risk.

groups and organizations sociology

Having learned about groupthink in your introduction to sociology course, you recognize that groupthink may be operating in your present situation in a way that could lead to further injuries of toddlers across the country. Yet you also think the two reasons the other managers have for remaining silent make some sense. What, if anything, do you do? Explain your answer. Summary Social groups are the building blocks of social life, and it is virtually impossible to imagine a society without groups and difficult to imagine individuals not being involved with many types of groups.

They are distinguished from social categories and social aggregates by the degree of interaction among their members and the identification of their members with the group. Primary groups are small and involve strong emotional attachments, while secondary groups are larger and more impersonal. Some groups become in-groups and vie, sometimes hostilely, with people they identify as belonging to out-groups. Reference groups provide standards by which we judge our attitudes and behavior and can influence how we think and act.

Social networks connect us through the people we know to other people they know. They are increasingly influential for successful employment but are also helpful for high-quality health care and other social advantages.

The size of groups is a critical variable for their internal dynamics. Compared to large groups, small groups involve more intense emotional bonds but are also more unstable. These differences stem from the larger number of relationships that can exist in a larger group than in a smaller one. Instrumental and expressive leaders take different approaches in exercising leadership. Instrumental leaders focus more on solving tasks, even at the risk of alienating group members, while expressive leaders focus more on group relations.

Of the three major styles of leadership—authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire—laissez-faire leadership seems the least effective in helping a group achieve its goals.

Women and men are equally effective as leaders but exhibit different leadership styles. Women tend to be expressive leaders, while men tend to be more authoritarian leaders.

Women leaders still face problems in securing the respect of the group members they seek to lead. Processes of group conformity are essential for any society and for the well-being of its many individuals but also can lead to reprehensible norms and values.

Laboratory experiments by Asch, Milgram, and Zimbardo illustrate how this can happen, while a real-life classroom experiment called the Third Wave dramatized how a fascist atmosphere could develop from everyday group processes.

Formal organizations are commonly delineated according to the motivations of the people who join them. Max Weber outlined several characteristics of bureaucracy that he felt make them the most efficient and effective type of large formal organization possible. At the same time, other scholars have pointed to several disadvantages of bureaucracies that limit their efficiency and effectiveness and thus thwart organizational goals.

Robert Michels hypothesized that the development of oligarchies in formal organizations and political structures is inevitable. Women and people of color have long been involved in normative organizations and continue to expand their numbers in utilitarian organizations, but in the latter they lag behind white men in rank and salary. In a major type of coercive organization, prisons, people of color and men are overrepresented.

The chapter closes with the question of whether the reason for this overrepresentation is the offending rates of these two groups or, instead, discrimination against them in criminal justice processing.

Using Sociology Suppose that in you are working as a middle-level manager at a U.


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