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INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY

STUDENT GUIDE

23

The Forms of Social Organization

Dyads

Groups

Formal Organizations

Communities

Societies

Organization is made possible because individuals accept the patterns as guides to their thinking and acting. Such acceptance facilitates social control over the individual actor and cooperation among the actors in the social organization.

When we identify any social organization, two qualities must be in evidence:

Ongoing Social Interaction

Actors regularly interact with one another

Social Patterns

A set of rules and perspectives are to some extent characteristic of that particular organization. Actors in the organization are influenced by these patterns.

Dyads: are formed when there is patterned interaction between two people

Friends

Lovers

Doctor-patient

Mother-son

Husband-wife

Groups: like a dyad, is made up of people who interact and form patterns, but a group is made up of three or more individuals.

Family (beyond dyadic relationships such as husband-wife)

Company softball team

Sunday School class or Bible study group

At first glance, there may not appear to be much of a difference between a dyad and a group, but size does indeed affect the nature of the patterns.

Georg Simmel, a famous German sociologist, analyzed how dyads and groups differ.

In a dyad, there is instability and insecurity not characteristic of the group because the dyad is faced with dissolution if one person leaves. A group is capable of survival if a member leaves or is replaced because the group has a “collective identity” that does not depend on any one individual.

Copyright © 2005 Mount Vernon Nazarene University Adult and Graduate Studies

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