Humans are social creatures who interact together in groups including family, friends, social, business, and religious associations. Different social groups will impact our behavior be it the informal groups or the formal groups such as large bureaucracies. Understanding the characteristics and dynamics of these groups are important. (Murray, Linden, Kendal 2012, 102)
What constitutes a group? Can people waiting at the bus stop or persons waiting to be interviewed for a job be considered groups? In everyday language we would say group are a collection of people however Sociologist says that those are not considered groups but can be classified as aggregates or categories.
“A Social Group is a collection of two or more people who interact frequently with one another, share a sense of belonging, and have a feeling of interdependence.” (Murray etal, 2012, 102). This should not be confused with Aggregates and Categories.
An aggregate is a collection of people who happen to be in the same place at the same time but have little else in common for example people standing at the bus stop. A Category consists of a number of people who may never have met one another but who share a similar characteristic, for example Male and Female. Categories are not social groups because the people in them usually do not create a social structure or have anything in common other than a particular trait. Persons in aggregates and categories can form social groups, with frequent interaction and development of mutual interests and concerns, which develop a sense of belonging to the group. Social groups can also change over time into formal organizations with a specific structure and clear goals (pg. 103) http://www.jasonbarton.net/photoalbum/SUPT/MemorialWeekendSunday/Mexico/Guys.jpg(category) http://cdn.greenprophet.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/hiding-behind-bus-stop.jpg(agregate)
Types of Groups
Primary and Secondary Groups