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Secondary Groups in Sociology: Examples & Overview

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  • 0:01 What Is a Secondary Group?
  • 0:22 Examples
  • 1:09 Characteristics
  • 2:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kimberly Devore
Explore examples of secondary groups in sociology. Learn about the definition and purpose of such groups and examine the underlying characteristics that help them function.

What is a Secondary Group?

When you think about a class full of students and employees at a job site, you probably think they have little in common. However, from a sociological standpoint, they have a major commonality. They can both be characterized as secondary groups. Secondary groups are large clusters of people who have a mutually shared purpose, often aiming to complete tasks.

Examples

Let's take a look at some common examples of secondary groups.

Classroom- A classroom consists of students and a teacher where the teacher is in charge of creating a structure and environment that help the students learn. This involves implementing a set of rules and expectations and helping the students meet their educational goals. A classroom is located in a school, which is a common meeting place for the students and the teacher.

Secondary group - Students share the achievement of an educational goal.
Secondary groups

Place of Employment- In a work environment, employees and supervisors come together in a mutual location (such as an office building) for the purpose of completing a task. The supervisors lead their employees by having an arrangement that highlights expectations and requirements. The goal of the structured environment is to fulfill a predetermined assignment.

Characteristics

Secondary groups have numerous characteristics that distinguish them from other groups. Let's explore a few of them and see how they relate to classrooms or places of employment.

Structure- The structure of a secondary group tends to be defined by a set of formal rules rather than casual routines. This structure develops a guideline for members to follow. For instance, in a classroom and in a work environment, the structure is established through a set of rules determined by the teacher or supervisor.

Goals- The goals of secondary groups often define who their members are. Members are often clustered into the same group because they share a common desire to satisfy a specific need or task. For example, in a classroom, the students are all a part of a secondary group that shares the goal of learning and understanding new materials. In a work environment, the employees share the goal of completing a given task. Both groups are goal-oriented but serve different purposes.

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