Home > Organizational Behaviour > Social groups – P.J Philip

Social groups – P.J Philip

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Social Groups by PJ PHILLIP

Adapted by Navendu K. Sharma


1)      Reciprocal (or mutual) relationship: – The first characteristic of a good social group is a give and take relationship which is known as a reciprocal relationship.


2)      We-feeling: – Collectively, the group should have a feeling that “I belong here” or that “We are one”, that is that you are proud of being in a group.

Example:  If you look at India as a large social group, we are proud of saying that “We are Indians”. This is the kind of feeling that every individual should have in a good social group.  Every country tries to develop this. For example, every country has a national flag which gives us a sense of belongingness.  The flag gives us a “We-feeling”.


3)      Empathy (and also differentiating it from Sympathy): – The mutual relationship and the “We-feeling” should be rooted in Empathy. This is the third characteristics which good social groups have. As human beings, we sympathize for others. For example, we sympathize for a friend who is having family problems or has had an accident. But a social group should not limit itself to sympathy. So in other words, when you sympathize for somebody, you “feel for others” and when you empathize, you “feel with others”. By empathy, we mean that the person is able to put himself “in the shoes” of the person who is suffering which means we are able to put ourselves in that situation. We experience the same feeling that he/she has.

Example: If one person suffers in a family, the rest of the family will also suffer. So just like this, a social group should have empathy.


4)      Common Norms (standard or custom): – A good social group should have certain common norms (or certain standards of behavior) that would differentiate them from others. These are prescribed by the group that you are expected to behave this way. For example, if we go to an army, we recognize the way a soldier behaves because he has a certain standards of behavior. The moment he sees a senior, he has to stand up and wish him. So a good group should develop good standards of behavior. Another example is that people want to study in good institutions    (like NITs and IITs) because good institutions have good standards of behavior or good norms.


5)      Common Goals: – Common goals for a social group are important because if a group does not have common goals, it will not stay together in the long run. Everyone works towards a common goal.



There are a number of ways in which a group can be classified. We will take a look at the criteria/basis of Sanderson’s classification. Based on “how membership is acquired”, Sanderson classified groups into three types.


i)                    Voluntary Groups: – A person becomes a member of a group voluntarily. For example, the computer science group is a voluntary group as we made a choice to opt computer science.


ii)                   Involuntary Groups: – This is where you don’t have a choice, but you are made by somebody else the member of a group. For example, the groups of the sections CO1 and CO2 are involuntary. Our family is also involuntary as we didn’t have a choice to choose our family.



iii)                 Delegated Groups: – A delegated group is where you are either nominated or selected to be a member of group. For example, member of TECHNOBYTE, as you are chosen or elected to become a member.



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