This sample essay on Family As A Social Group provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
The “social fabric” of modern societies is composed of millions of groups of many types and sizes. Some are as intimate as a pair of lovers. Others, like the modern corporation or university, are extremely large and are composed of many interrelated subgroups. Virtually everyone moves through life with a sense of belonging; that is each person belongs to a social group. Among the different social groups, the family is considered the most significant group around the world. Hence it is my chosen social group as I belong to a family and so does everyone else. Indeed, family experience is a daily part of our lives and is a main concern of everyone.The family is not just the most significant but also the most popular social group all throughout man’s history. A social group is defined as “two or more people who identify and interact with one another. Each member of a family is enmeshed daily in a network of family interaction.The family is defined as “a social group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction; it includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, owned or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults.”As classified by sociologists, a family is a primary group. According to Charles Horton Cooley (1864-1929), a primary group is a small social group in which relationships are both personal and enduring. Bound together by strong and lasting loyalties that Cooley termed primary relationships, the members of a primary group spend a great deal of time together, share many activities, and feel that they know one another well. As a result, they typically display sincere concern for each other’s welfare. Moreover, Cooley called personal and tightly integrated groups primary because they are among the first groups we experience in life. In addition, the family and early play groups also hold primary importance in the socialization process, shaping personal attitudes and behavior. We look to members of primary groups in forming our social identity as well, evident in the fact that members of primary groups almost always think of themselves as “we.”The strength of primary relationships gives many individuals considerable comfort and security in the familiar social circles of family or friends, people feel they can “be themselves” without constantly worrying about the impressions they are making.Members of primary groups display a personal orientation that is; members generally provide one another with personal, financial, and emotional support. Even so, people generally think of a primary group as an end in itself rather than as a means to other ends. For example, we readily call on family members or close friends to help us move into a new apartment, without expecting to pay for their services. And we would do the same for them.As a social group, family members also recognize leaders – are the people charged with responsibility for directing the group’s activities. Within families, parents have leadership roles, although husband and wife may disagree about who is really in charge. Nowadays, the family generally benefit from two kinds of leadership. That is, both father and mother are both assuming leadership roles.One is the instrumental leadership which refers to group leadership that emphasizes the completion of tasks. In a family this kind of leadership is bestowed on men. As fathers and husbands, men assume primary responsibility for providing family income, making major decisions, and disciplining children. The other kind of leadership, expressive leadership, focuses on collective well-being. That is, expressive leaders take less of an interest in the performance goals of a group than with group morale and minimizing tension and conflict among members. Hence it is the purview of women. Mothers and wives historically have encouraged supportive and peaceful relationships among family members.Decision-making styles also characterize fathers and mothers as leaders of a family. Some fathers or mothers are authoritarian leaders, leaders who focus on instrumental concerns, make decisions on their own, and demand strict compliance from family members. Democratic leaders on the other hand, try to include everyone in the decision-making process. Laissez-faire leaders (from the French phrase meaning roughly “to leave alone”) tend to downplay their position and power, allowing family members to function more or less on its own. But leadership style in any particular case depends, in large part, on the needs of the family members itself.A family influences the behavior of its members, often promoting conformity. A family’s group conformity may provide a secure feeling of belonging. But on the other hand, family pressure, however, can be considerable and sometimes unpleasant. Sociologists have confirmed the power of family pressure to shape a member behavior and found that it remains string in adult members as well as young members.A family can also be a reference group among its members or by another social group. A reference group is “a social group that serves as a point of reference for making evaluations and decisions.” Some families as a reference group set and enforce certain values and norms especially to its own members, while others serve as a standard for comparison. For example, some family members with whom you spend much of your time are a primary and are likely to act as a reference group as well.The family as a primary group tends to be relatively small. The strongest social bonds are formed between two people (i.e. married couples) and are known as dyads. So, the term dyad is used to designate a family with only two members. In families, too, the shift from a dyad to a three-member social group or triad happens during the addition of a couple among couples. Though the family as a social group does not have an ideal size, it all depends on the group’s purpose. A College is a BureaucracyFormal organizations have explicit (often written) sets of norms, statuses, and roles that specify each member’s relationships to the others and then conditions under which those relationships hold. Bureaucracy as a type of formal organization “is an organizational model designed to efficiently perform tasks.”A college is a bureaucracy as it is characterized by a clearly defined hierarchy with a commitment to rules, efficiency, and impersonality. It has specific structure of statuses and roles. As a bureaucratic organization, Max Weber identified six elements of any college as an ideal bureaucratic organization.1. Positions with clearly defined responsibilities: In colleges, people are assigned highly specialized roles that correspond organizational offices. Like the academic deans and presidents of colleges. “The regular activities required for the purposes of the organization are distributed in a fixed way as official duties.”2. Positions ordered in a hierarchy: The organization of college offices “follows the principle of hierarchy; according to their responsibilities, that is, each lower office is under the control and supervision of a higher one.” Like each academic dean has specific subject area heads.3. Rules and regulations: The functioning of a college is governed “by a consistent system of abstract rules” and the “application of these rules to specific cases.”4. Technical competence: College officials must have the technical competence to carry out their duties. Colleges typically recruit new members according to high standards of set criteria and, later, monitor their performance.5. A career ladder: Work in colleges “constitutes a career. There is a system of ‘promotions’ according to seniority, or to achievement, or both.”6. The norm of efficiency: A college as “a purely bureaucratic type of administrative organization… is from a purely technical point of view, capable of attaining the highest degree of efficiency.Further, a college is an ideal bureaucracy as it is a model of efficiency. The college as a bureaucracy made human social life more “rational.” Rules, impersonality, and the norm of efficiency are some of the ways in which a college “rationalizes” human societies.Hence it is even a humanizing bureaucracy as it recognizes teachers and students as its greatest resource. It aims to develop human resources and it does not allow people of one gender or race to dominate in its organization level; rather, responsibility and opportunity is available at all levels.