Groups and Organization

Read this chapter for a review of groups and organizations. As you read each section, consider the following topics:

  • Focus on the three major theoretical perspectives in relation to groups and organizations.
  • Take note of the bold terms outlining the different types of groups.
  • Take note of the bold terms, focusing on the sections "Dyads, Triads, and Large Groups" and "Group Leadership".
  • Take note of the bold terms and Table 1: Table of Formal Organizations. Also, pay close attention to the section "The McDonaldization of Society".

Key Terms

a collection of people who exist in the same place at the same time, but who don’t interact or share a sense of identity

authoritarian leader
a leader who issues orders and assigns tasks

formal organizations characterized by a hierarchy of authority, a clear division of labor, explicit rules, and impersonality.

people who share similar characteristics but who are not connected in any way

clear division of labor
the fact that each individual in a bureaucracy has a specialized task to perform

coercive organizations
organizations that people do not voluntarily join, such as prison or a mental hospital

the extent to which an individual complies with group or societal norms

democratic leader
a leader who encourages group participation and consensus-building before moving into action

a two-member group

explicit rules
the types of rules in a bureaucracy; rules that are outlined, recorded, and standardized

expressive function
a group function that serves an emotional need

expressive leader
a leader who is concerned with process and with ensuring everyone's emotional wellbeing

formal organizations
large, impersonal organizations

any collection of at least two people who interact with some frequency and who share some sense of aligned identity

hierarchy of authority
a clear chain of command found in a bureaucracy

the removal of personal feelings from a professional situation

a group a person belongs to and feels is an integral part of his identity

instrumental function
being oriented toward a task or goal

instrumental leader
a leader who is goal oriented with a primary focus on accomplishing tasks

Iron Rule of Oligarchy
the theory that an organization is ruled by a few elites rather than through collaboration

laissez-faire leader
a hands-off leader who allows members of the group to make their own decisions

leadership function
the main focus or goal of a leader

leadership style
the style a leader uses to achieve goals or elicit action from group members

McDonaldization of Society
the increasing presence of the fast food business model in common social institutions

a bureaucracy where membership and advancement is based on merit - proven and documented skills

normative or voluntary organizations
organizations that people join to pursue shared interests or because they provide some intangible rewards

a group that an individual is not a member of, and may even compete with

primary groups
small, informal groups of people who are closest to us

reference groups
groups to which an individual compares herself

secondary groups
larger and more impersonal groups that are task-focused and time limited

total institution
an organization in which participants live a controlled lifestyle and in which total resocialization occurs

a three-member group

utilitarian organizations
organizations that are joined to fill a specific material need