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Chapter 5. Networks, Groups, and Organizations. Chapter Outline. Beyond Individual Motives Social Networks: It’s a Small World Groups Bureaucracy Freedom and Constraint in Social Life. How Social Groups Shape Our Actions. 1. Norms of solidarity demand conformity.

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Chapter 5 l.jpg

Chapter 5

Networks, Groups,and Organizations


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Chapter Outline

  • Beyond Individual Motives

  • Social Networks: It’s a Small World

  • Groups

  • Bureaucracy

  • Freedom and Constraint in Social Life


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How Social Groups Shape Our Actions

1. Norms of solidarity demand conformity.

  • When we form relationships, we develop norms of solidarity about how we should behave to sustain the relationships.

  • Study of the Nazis who roamed the Polish countryside to shoot and kill “enemies” of Nazi Germany felt they had to get their assigned job done or face letting down their comrades.


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How Social Groups Shape Our Actions

2. Structures of authority tend to render people obedient.

  • Most people find it difficult to disobey authorities because they fear ridicule, ostracism, and punishment.

  • Demonstrated in experiment conducted by social psychologist Stanley Milgram.


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How Social Groups Shape Our Actions

3. Bureaucracies are highly effective structures of authority.

  • The Nazi genocide machine was so effective because it was bureaucratically organized.

  • A bureaucracy is a large, impersonal organization composed of clearly defined positions arranged in a hierarchy.


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Polling Question

  • How likely would you be to join an organization where membership is determined by race?

    • Very likely

    • Somewhat likely

    • Unsure

    • Somewhat unlikely

    • Very unlikely


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Milgram Experiment

  • 71% of experimental subjects were prepared to administer shocks of 285 volts, despite the fact that the actor appeared to be in great distress at this level of current.

  • Teaches us that as soon as we are introduced to a structure of authority, we are inclined to obey those in power.



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The Building Blocks of Social Networks Negative Effects of One’s Actions

  • Dyad is the most elementary network form, a social relationship between two social units.

  • Triad is a social relationship among three social units.

  • The social dynamics of these two elementary network forms are fundamentally different.


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The Dyad Negative Effects of One’s Actions

  • Both are absorbed in the relationship.

  • Needs both partners to live but only one to die.

  • No “free riders” are possible.

  • Neither can deny responsibility by shifting it to a larger collectivity.


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The Triad Negative Effects of One’s Actions

  • Intensity and intimacy are reduced.

  • Allows a partner to be constrained for the collective good.

  • Coalitions are possible.

  • Third-party mediation of conflict between two partners is possible.


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The Triad Negative Effects of One’s Actions

  • Exploitation of rivalry between two partners is possible.

  • A divide-and-conquer strategy is possible.

  • “Free riders” are possible.

  • It is possible to shift responsibility to the larger collectivity.


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The Asch Experiment Negative Effects of One’s Actions

  • Asch assembled seven men. One was the subject, the others were “actors”.

  • Asch showed the men a card with a line on it and asked which line on the card was the same length as a line on card 2.

  • All six actors answered wrong.

  • The subject typically overruled his own perception and agreed with the majority.


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The Asch Experiment Negative Effects of One’s Actions


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Factors in Conformity Negative Effects of One’s Actions

  • The likelihood of conformity increases as group size increases to three or four members.

  • As group cohesiveness increases, so does the likelihood of conformity.

  • People with low status in a group are less likely to dissent than people with high status.


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Factors in Conformity Negative Effects of One’s Actions

  • People in individualistic societies like the United States tend to conform less than people in collectivist societies like China.

  • Even one dissenting voice greatly increases the chance that others will dissent.


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Group Think Negative Effects of One’s Actions

  • Group pressure to conform despite individual misgivings

  • Examples:

    • President Roosevelt and his advisors refused to believe the Japanese would bomb Pearl Harbor.

    • President Nixon decided to cover up the Watergate break-in.


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Groups Negative Effects of One’s Actions

  • Groups are clusters of people who identify with each other.

  • Primary groups involve intense, intimate, enduring relations.

  • Secondary groups involve less personal and intense ties.

  • Reference groups are groups against which people measure their situation or conduct.


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Polling Question Negative Effects of One’s Actions

  • Which type of group is the most important to you?

    • Primary group

    • Secondary group


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Four Criticisms Against Bureaucracies Negative Effects of One’s Actions

  • Dehumanization

  • Bureaucratic ritualism

  • Oligarchy “rule of the few”

  • Bureaucratic inertia



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Bureaucratic Structure Negative Effects of One’s Actions


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Network Structure Negative Effects of One’s Actions


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laissez-faire Negative Effects of One’s ActionsLeadership

  • The least effective,

  • Leader allows subordinates to work things out on their own, with almost no direction from above.

  • Works best when group members are highly experienced, trained, motivated, and educated and when trust and confidence in group members are high.


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Authoritarian Negative Effects of One’s ActionsLeadership

  • Authoritarian leaders demand strict compliance from subordinates.

  • Most effective in a crisis such as a war or an emergency room.

  • May earn grudging respect for achieving the group’s goals in the face of difficult circumstances.


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Democratic Leadership Negative Effects of One’s Actions

  • Offers more guidance than laissez-faire but less control than authoritarian.

  • Leaders try to include all group members in decision-making.

  • Except for crisis situations, democratic leadership is the most effective leadership style.


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Quick Quiz Negative Effects of One’s Actions


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1. Stanley Milgram's research, in which subjects used a "shock generator," showed that:

  • people become hostile towards those who disagree with them.

  • the conclusions of Solomon Asch's research were incorrect.

  • when norms are put into writing, they are easier to enforce.

  • people are likely to follow the orders of authority figures.


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Answer: d "shock generator," showed that:

  • Stanley Milgram's research, in which subjects used a "shock generator," showed that people are likely to follow the orders of authority figures.


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2. Which of the following is NOT characteristic of a triad? "shock generator," showed that:

  • Intensity and intimacy are reduced.

  • Individuality is restricted.

  • Coalitions are possible.

  • Third-party mediation of conflict is possible.

  • No "free riders" are possible.


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Answer: e "shock generator," showed that:

  • The characteristic, No "free riders" are possible, is NOT characteristic of a triad.


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3. Which of the following statements is consistent with the findings of Solomon Asch's experiment in which subjects were asked to match lines?

  • Many people are willing to compromise their own judgment to avoid being seen as different.

  • Many people pick friends who tend to agree with them.

  • Ordinary people say things they know to be untrue to people in power.

  • All of these choices are correct.


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Answer: a findings of Solomon Asch's experiment in which subjects were asked to match lines?

  • The statement:

    Many people are willing to compromise their own judgment to avoid being seen as different.

    is consistent with the findings of Solomon Asch's experiment in which subjects were asked to match lines.


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4. Which of the following illustrate groupthink? findings of Solomon Asch's experiment in which subjects were asked to match lines?

  • A group shares information and makes an effective recommendation.

  • A group leader makes a decision without consulting anyone, and the decision turns out to be a bad one.

  • A group seeks consensus, discouraging members from speaking freely, and making a poor policy recommendation.

  • None of these choices.


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Answer: c findings of Solomon Asch's experiment in which subjects were asked to match lines?

  • The following illustrates groupthink:

    • A group seeks consensus, discouraging members from speaking freely, and making a poor policy recommendation.


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5. The more levels in a bureaucratic structure: findings of Solomon Asch's experiment in which subjects were asked to match lines?

  • the more efficiently it operates.

  • the less likely is oligarchic rule to emerge.

  • the more difficult communication becomes.

  • the greater the number of dyadic relationships.

  • None of these choices.


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Answer: c findings of Solomon Asch's experiment in which subjects were asked to match lines?

  • The more levels in a bureaucratic structure the more difficult communication becomes.


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