Essay on Difference Between Primary Groups and Secondary Groups – The classification of social groups into ‘primary groups’ and ‘secondary groups’ is not rigid. These groups are not watertight compartments. The groups having preponderance of primary or ‘face-to-face’ relations are primary groups. And the groups other than those of the primary groups are secondary groups.
They constitute a residual category. Differences between the two are relative but not absolute. Even in secondary groups we find some elements of primary relations. Secondary groups to possess to some extent some attitudes of loyalty, devotion, faith, cooperation, sympathy, kindness etc., without which they cannot function.
Members of primary groups such as family, neighbourhood are also members of political parties, trade unions, religious associations and so on. Still these two types of groups can be distinguished on some grounds. The following table makes evident the difference between the two.
Groups which are characterised by ‘face-to-face’ relations, mutual aid and companionship are primary groups. Ex: family, neighbourhood, community, children’s playgroup, local brotherhood.
2. Nature of Social Relations:
Social relations are ‘face-to-face, direct intimate, personal, contractual, non-specialised, non-partisan and non-economic in character
Primary groups are smaller in size. They are localised or limited to a definite area.
4. Physical Proximity:
Groups are confined to a small geographic area.
Since members stay together communication is not only direct but also quick and effective.
6. Group Interests:
Interests of the members are not specific but general. Everyone is in retested in the welfare of everyone else.
7. Nature of Cooperation:
Cooperation is direct. Members work together, play together,
1. Groups which provide experience lacking in intimacy are secondary groups.
Ex: Political parties, trade unions, religious associations, the state, city, corporation, factory. Rotary Club, Lions Club, etc.
2. Social relations are indirect, impersonal, non-intimate, contractual, specialised, partisan, and more economic in-nature.
3. Secondary groups are relatively bigger in size. They are not necessarily restricted to a small area.
4. Groups are not characterised by a physical area.
5. Since members are spread over a vast area direct communication is difficult. It is mostly indirect in nature.
6. Interest of the members is more specific. Hence groups are often called ‘special interest groups’.
7. Cooperation is mostly indirect. Cooperation is an intended act to serve a particular need.
Enjoy together and in times of crisis struggle together. Cooperation is natural and spontaneous.
8. Group Structure:
Group structure is very informal. Members are not particular about their rights and powers or statuses and prestige. No formal or detailed rules are drafted as guide lines. The group is not very much ‘organised’ in the modern sense.
Groups are relatively durable.
10. Effects on Personality:
The group has a longlasting influence upon the personality development of the members.
11. Nature of Group Control:
Primary groups control the behaviour of the members to a great extend. Informal means of social control are enough to regulate the relations.
It is limited to that purpose only. It is not spontaneous but deliberate and cultivated. Group structure is formal. The group is regulated by a set of formal rules. Statuses and roles, rights and powers of the members are well defined. The organisation of the group is carefully planned and worked out.