Sociology Ch. 5 “Social Groups and Formal Organizations” Sociology Home  Sociology Links

I.                    Social Groups

A.                 Groups are the essence of life in society. What is an essential element of a social group?

1.                   What is an aggregate?

2.                   What is a category?

B.                 What are Primary groups? 

             Why are groups important?



C.                 How are Secondary groups different?



3.                   Voluntary associations?  

4.                     Robert Michels? iron law of oligarchy?

D.                 Differentiate in-groups and  out-groups.

1.                   Why is this division is  significant?

2.                   Robert K. Merton?

E.                  What are Reference groups?  

1.                   How do Reference groups exert great influence over our behavior?

2.                   What is the effect of having two reference groups?

F.                  Differentiate Social networks and  Cliques.   

1.                   Stanley Milgram?

G.                 What are electronic communities?

II.       Bureaucracies

A.                 Max Weber (year?) What did he say about bureaucracies?   And what are they?

B.                 What are the 5essential characteristics of bureaucracies are:  

C.                 How do bureaucracies perpetuate themselves?

D.                 Explain Weber’s rationalization of society.

E.                  Bureaucracies also have a dark side. As they carry out their functions, certain dysfunctions emerge. Explain 3.


2.                   Bureaucratic alienation?

3.                   primary groups?

III.      Working for the Corporation

A.                 Discuss Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s organizational research.


2.                    iron law of oligarchy?

3.                   showcasing?  slow-track positions?

B.                 Why have the Japanese have become a giant in today’s global economy?

1.                   Contrast ideas about loyalty to themselves or  the company.

2.                   Lifetime security?  

3.                   Work is like a marriage?  

4.                   Workers move from one job to another within the corporation or one job only?  

5.                   Decision making process?  

IV.      Group Dynamics

A.                 What are group dynamics? Why do sociologists often study dynamics in small groups?  

B.                 Is the size of the group is significant for its dynamics?

1.                   Georg Simmel (approx. year?) group size? Dyad? triad?

2.                   How does a group change as more members are added?  

C.                 Explain 3 ways group size also influences our attitudes and behaviors.




D.                 Define a leader.

1.       Describe 2 types of group leaders. Instrumental  and Expressive  

2.                   Describe 3 types of leadership styles. Authoritarian leaders , Democratic leaders,    Laissez-faire leaders   

3.                   Describe the findings of psychologists Ronald Lippitt and Ralph White.  

4.                   Do different situations require different styles of leadership? Describe typical leaders.

E.                  Describe the study by Dr. Solomon Asch.  

F.                  Sociologist Irving Janis coined what word?  

1.                   The Asch and Milgram experiments demonstrate what?

2.                   U.S. history provides what examples of governmental groupthink?

3.                   How can groupthink can be prevented?


a.      primary groups

b.      obedience to authority

c.       dyad

d.      iron law of oligarchy

e.       power of peer pressure


1.       Simmel

2.       Michels

3.       Milgram

4.       Asch

5.       Cooley










1.       primary group

2.       secondary group

3.       reference group

4.       cliques

5.       social networks


a.      friends of friends

b.      provides intimacy

c.       provide standards to evaluate us

d.      more formal and impersonal

e.       internal factions