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INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY

FACILITATING INSTRUCTOR GUIDE

24

In a dyad, an individual can veto collective action. In a group, the individual, if he or she wants to remain in the group, may have to do things contrary to desire because the possibility exists that he or she will be outvoted. No longer does the individual have the power to veto action.

A dyad cannot have a coalition (an alliance), but in groups, coalitions will inevitably occur, and this makes the group qualitatively different from the dyad. Such coalitions can be predicted beforehand. According to the work of Theodore Caplow, for example, in the triad (three-member group), the two weaker members will usually try to balance the power of the strongest.

Dyads are usually more intense, exhibit more emotional involvement, and are less impersonal than groups.

Two major classifications of groups:

1.

Primary groups

These are small, relatively permanent, intimate, and unspecialized. Individuals feel a close attachment to such groups, and they fulfill a wide range of personal needs.

Charles Horton Cooley called these groups primary because they are important to both the individual and society.

These are the groups from which individuals receive their early socialization; thus they are the groups that are most responsible for imparting those qualities that make us human: language, self, mind, conscience.

Such groups also are important for society because they influence individuals to see the world as those in society do and to control themselves as those in society wish.

2.

Secondary groups

These groups tend to be larger, more temporary, more impersonal, and more specialized than primary groups.

Formal Organization

Often, secondary groups become so large and complex that their social patterns must be made very explicit, often in written form. Such groups are a third form of social organization, the formal organization.

When a group makes patterns explicit through written rules, it becomes a formal organization.

Community

Sometimes the group or formal organization becomes relatively self-sufficient or independent of other social organizations. It takes care of all the basic needs of its members—economic, social, cultural, educational, political. People are able to live their whole lives within this social organization, carry out most of their activities within it, and

Copyright © 2005 Mount Vernon Nazarene University Adult and Graduate Studies

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