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Sociology (Chapter 5)

Q: Define social groups
A: Two or more people who identify with and interact with one another.
Q: Define formal organizations
Q: Category (of groups)
A: People with a status in common, such as women, African Americans, homeowners, soldiers. Though they know that others hold the same status, most are strangers to one another.
Q: Crowd (of groups)
A: Loosely formed collection of people in one place is a crowd rather than a group.
(example: Students sitting in an auditorium)
Q: Primary Group (according to Charles Horton Cooley)

(display personal orientation)(define each other to “who” they are)

A: Small group whose members share personal and lasting relationships.
(People spend a great deal of time together, engage in a wide range of activities, and feel that they know one another pretty well. The family is every society’s most important primary group) (Among the first groups we experience in life.)
Q: What is the importance of family and friends as a primary group?
A: Family and friends have primary importance in the socialization process, shaping our attitudes, behavior, and social identity.
Q: Secondary Group

(display goal orientation)(define each other to “what” they are; what they can do for each other)

A: Large and impersonal social group whose members pursue a specific goal or activity. Secondary relationships involve weak emotional ties and little personal knowledge of one another, which is pretty much opposite of Primary Groups.
Q: What is one important element of group dynamics?
A: Leadership
Q: What are 2 types of Leadership; define.
1. Instrumental Leadership:
refers to group leadership which focuses on the completion of tasks. Look to leaders to make plans, give orders, and get things done. More formal of a relationship.
2. Expressive Leadership:
refers to group leadership which focuses on the group’s well-being. Take less interest in achieving goals and focus on promoting the well-being of members and minimizing tension and conflict among members. These leaders build more personal, primary ties.
Q: Name 3 Leadership styles; define.
1. Authoritarian Leadership:
focuses on instrumental concerns, takes personal charge of decision makes, and demands that group members obey orders. This type of leadership is appreciated in a crisis.
2. Democratic Leadership:
More expressive. Makes a point of including everyone in the decision making process…leaders draw on the ideas of all members to develop creative solutions to problems.
3. Laissez-faire Leadership:
allows the group to function more or less on its own. Typically, the least effective in promoting group goals.
Q: What did Solomon Asch’s research find out about conformity? (Pg. 110)
A: Asch found that 1/3 of all subjects in the research chose to conform by answering incorrectly. Apparently many of them were willing to compromise their own judgment in order to avoid the discomfort of being different, even from people they did not know.
Q: What did Stanley Milgram’s research find out about conformity? (Pg. 110-111)
A: Milgram’s research suggested that people are likely to follow the directions not only of legitimate authority figures but also of groups of ordinary individuals, even if doing so means harming another person.
Q: Define: “Groupthink”. What did Irving L. Janis think?
A: The tendancy of group members to conform, resulting in a narrow view of some issue.
Even though common sense tells us that group discussion improves decision making, Janis countered that group members often seek agreement that closes off other points of view…citing not foreseeing the Japanese attach on Pearl Harbor and our ill-fated involvement in Vietnam. (i.e.; not speaking up in a discussion…)
Q: Reference Group.

(Can be primary or secondary)

A: Social group that serves as a point of reference in making evaluations and decisions.
(we also use groups that we don’t belong to for reference…see anticipatory socialization)
Q: What is an example of “anticipatory socialization”?
A: Conforming to groups we do not belong to is a strategy to win acceptance and illustrates this process…i.e.; preparing and dressing for a job interview the way that those at the company are dressed.
Q: What were the results of Samuel Stouffer’s study of reference groups (about promotions)? (Pg. 111-112)
A: His point was that we do not make judgments about ourselves in isolation, nor do we compare ourselves with just anyone. Regardless of our situation in absolute terms, we form a subjective sense of our well-being by looking at ourselves relative to specific reference groups.
Q: What are some reasons why each of us favor some groups over others?
A: It may be because of political outlook, social prestige, or just manner of dress. (Example: way some view fraternities on college campuses vs. nerds). People in just about every social setting make similar positive and negative evaluations of members of other groups.
Q: In-groups and Out-groups.

(Both based on the idea that “we” have valued traits that “they” lack)
(Both can foster loyalty but also generate conflict/ example is whites vs. blacks)

Social group toward which a member feels respect and loyalty.

Social group toward which a person feels a sense of competition or opposition.

Q: Does group size play a crucial role in how group members interact? How?
A: Yes. Increasing the number of people further boosts the number of relationships much more rapidly because every new individual can interact with everyone already there. (See fig. 5-2)
Q: Georg Simmel explored the dynamics in the smallest social groups. He used the terms “Dyad” and “Triad”. What do they mean? (Pg. 112)
Designates a social group with two members. Typically more intense than in larger groups because neither member must share the other’s attention with anyone else (love affairs, marriage)

Designates a social group with three members. A triad contains three relationships, each of which unites two of the three people. Is more stable than a dyad because one member can act as a mediator if relations between the other two become strained. On the other hand, 2 of the 3 can pair up to press their views on the third, or two may intensify their relationship, leaving the other feeling left out.

Q: Race, ethnicity, class, and gender each play a part in group dynamics. Peter Blau points out 3 ways in which social diversity influences inter-group contact. What were they?
1. Large groups turn inward. (Example: Increasing # of international students to enhance social diversity may have opposite effect if the amount of them rises and they begin to form their own groups)

2. Heterogeneous groups turn outward. The more socially diverse a group is, the more likely its members are to interact with outsiders. (Example: groups of both sexes and various social backgrounds)

3. Physical boundaries create social boundaries. To the extent that a social group is physically segregated from others, its members are less likely to interact with other people (Example: by having its own dorm or dining area)

Q: Networks (Pg. 113-114)
A: A web of weak social ties. Can we weak, but they can be a powerful resource. Networks are based on people’s colleges, clubs, neighborhoods, political parties, religious organizations, and personal interests. Women tend to include more family, and more women into their networks.
Q: Formal Organizations
A: Large secondary groups organize to achieve their goals efficiently. (corporations and government agencies, differ from small primary groups in their impersonality and their formally planned atmosphere).
Q: Amital Etzioni identified 3 types of formal organizations, distinguished by the reasons people participate in them…what were they?
1. Utilitarian Organizations:
One that pays people for their efforts. (Examples: a business, government agency, or school system). Usually a matter of individual choice, although most people must join one or another such organization to make a living.

2. Normative Organizations:
People join to pursue some goal they think is morally worthwhile…sometimes called voluntary associations. (Include community service groups such as Amnesty International, the PTA, the League of Women Voters, and the Red Cross), political parties, and religious organizations).

3. Coercive Organizations:
Have involuntary memberships. People are forced to join as a form of punishment (prisons) or treatment (some psychiatric hospitals). Have locked doors & bars on windows, and supervised by security personnel. They isolate people for a period of time in order to radically change their attitudes and behavior.

Q: Rationalization of society:

Sociologist, Max Weber, claimed that modern society becomes “disenchanted” as sentimental ties give way to a rational focus on science, complex technology, and the organizational structure called bureaucracy.

A: The historical change from tradition to rationality as the main type of human thought.
Q: Tradition:
A: Values and beliefs passed from generation to generation.
Q: Rationality:
A: A way of thinking that emphasizes deliberate, matter-of-fact calculation of the most efficient way to accomplish a particular task.
Q: What were some of the limitations of early organizations?
First, they lacked the technology to travel over large distances, to communicate quickly and to gather and store information.

Second, the pre-industrial societies they were trying to rule had traditional cultures.

Q: Bureaucracy:

(Weber’s ideal bureaucracy deliberately regulates every activity)

A: An organizational model rationally designed to perform tasks efficiently. Bureaucratic officials regularly create and revise policy to increase efficiency.
Q: Weber identified 6 key elements of the ideal bureaucratic organization…what were they?
1. Specialization:
Assigns individuals highly specialized jobs.

2. Hierarchy of offices:
Arrange workers in a vertical ranking. Each person is thus supervised by someone “higher up” in the organization while in turn supervising others in lower positions.

3. Rules and regulations.
Rationally enacted rules and regulations guide a bureaucracy’s operations to operate in a completely predictable way.

4. Technical competence:
Hire new members according to set standards and then monitor their performance.

5. Impersonality:
Puts rules ahead of personal whim so that both clients and workers are all treated in the same way.

6. Formal, written communication:
Depends on formal, written memos and reports, which accumulate in vast files.

Q: How well an organization performs depends not only on its own goals and policies but also on the ___ ____.
Organizational environment.
(These are factors outside an organization that affect its operation)
Q: What are some of the factors in an Organizational environment?
1. Technology

2. Economic and political trends:
All organizations are helped or hurt by periodic economic growth or recession. Most industries also face competition from abroad as well as changes in the laws, such as environmental standards, here at home.

3. Population patterns:
Average age, typical level of education, social diversity, and size of a local community determine the available workforce and sometimes the market for an organization’s products or services.

4. Current events:
Economic stability in Europe, sweeping political changes in the Middle East, and the current level of consumer confidence affect the operation of both government and business organizations.

5. Other Organizations such as:
Hospitals responsive to insurance industry and to organizations representing doctors, nurses, and other health care workers. It must also be aware of the medical equipment, health care procedures, and prices available at nearby facilities.

Q: List some problems with bureaucracy:
1. Bureaucratic Alienation:
(the impersonality that fosters efficiency also keeps officials and clients from responding to each others unique personal needs)

2. Bureaucratic Inefficiency (too much “red tape” ) and Bureaucratic Ritualism (focusing on rules & regulations to the point of undermining an organization’s goals):

3. Bureaucratic Inertia:
(refers to the tendency of bureaucratic organizations to perpetuate themselves) Tend to take a life of their own beyond their formal objectives…moves from doing their jobs to then protecting them.

Q: Robert Michels pointed out link between bureaucracy and political “oligarchy” (the rule of the many by the few) by saying… (Pg. 117-118)
A: He said the pyramid shape of bureaucracy places a few leaders in charge of the resources of the entire organization. He said it could weaken democracy because officials can and often do use their access to info, resources, and the media to promote their own personal interests. Oligarchy can thrive in the hierarchical structure of bureaucracy and reduces leaders’ accountability to the people.
Q: In the early 1900’s, Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management applied scientific principles to increase productivity; per Taylor, what were the steps it involved?
(Pg. 118-119)
The application of scientific principles to the operation of a business or other large organization.
It involves 3 steps:
1. Managers carefully observe the job performed by each worker, identifying all the operations involved and measuring the time needed for each.
2. Managers analyze their data, trying to discover ways for workers to perform each job more efficiently.
3. Management provides guidance and incentives for workers to do their jobs more efficiently.
Q: How did the First Challenge to Formal Organizations: Race and Gender cause challenges in formal organizations? What is the “female advantage”?

(In the 1960’s, Rosabeth Moss Kanter proposed that opening up organizations for all employees, especially women and other minorities, increased organizational efficiency). (Pg. 120-122)

These organization were not hiring on the basis of competency and only certain social categories were included for hire which limited the talent pool of the organization. Women and minorities tended to be over-looked.

The “female advantage” were that they were more “information focused” where men were more “image focused”. Women placed more value on communication skills and the sharing of information, were more flexible leaders, and tended to emphasize the interconnectedness of all organizational operations.

Q: How did the Second Challenge to Formal Organizations: The Japanese Work Organization cause challenges in formal organizations? (Pg. 120-122)

(In the 1980’s global competition drew attention to the Japanese work organization’s collective orientation).

They were more like large primary groups…and valued cooperation over rugged individualism like the US; and their quality of product was superb. When their economy suffered a recession, they changed some of their organizational aspects which did not bode well for their organizations.
Q: How did the Third Challenge to Formal Organizations: The Changing Nature of Work cause challenges in formal organizations? (Pg. 120-122)
The economy of the US has moved from industrial to post-industrial production…characterized by information based organizations (using computers and other electron technology to create or process information). Many of today’s information age jobs demand creativity and imagination.
*Highly skilled & creative work (examples include designers, consultants, programmers, and executives)
*Low-skilled service work associated with the “McDonaldization” of society.
Q: What are some ways in which today’s organizations differ from those of a century ago?
1. Creative freedom (subject to less day-to-day supervision as long as they generate good results in the long run).

2. Competitive work teams (Draw out the creative contributions of everyone and at the same time reduce the alienation often found in conventional organizations).

3. A flatter organization (By spreading responsibility for creative problem solving throughout the workforce, organizations take on a flatter shape. Pyramid shape is replaced with fewer levels in the chain of command).

4. Greater flexibility (Generates new ideas and adapts quickly to the rapid changing global marketplace)

Q: According to George Ritzer, the McDonaldization of society involves 4 basic organizational principles; what are they?
1. Efficiency (i.e., entire breakfast packed into a single sandwich)
2. Predictability (company policies guide the performance of every job)
3. Uniformity (designed and mass produced uniformly according to a standard plan)
4. Control (i.e., automation)

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