Importance of Primary Group for Individuals!
Why do men form primary group? What is it that the members achieve from grouping which they cannot gain living independently? The first thing to be impressed about group is that it is a medium through which we learn culture, use culture and change culture. The group is an important factor in shaping the personality of individuals.
Obviously some of the primary groups are formed to secure certain external advantages, e.g., better wages, production efficiency, workers’ morale, services of a teacher who cannot be hired by a single student.
But there are two other advantages of a different sort which induce members in associating together. They are realization of the human need for spontaneous living and the provision of stimulus to each member in the pursuit of interest.
In primary group members come freely together. A family, a play-group, a group of friends, a study group, a tribal Council comes into of its own initiative. The members of these groups do not come as representatives or delegates allotted certain duties but meet spontaneously without any direction from any quarter. Theirs is an informal group which has developed spontaneously.
In these groups spontaneity is more directly revealed than in other formal groups established deliberately to achieve certain defined objectives. It is in fact in these unplanned groups that we manifest our total personality, express effectively our aspirations and resentments, meet not as leaders or followers, professors or students but as fellows, and can thus be our true selves.
The self cannot develop on the basis of secondary contacts; it requires close, intimate, personal contacts. It is these informal groups which satisfy the need for spontaneous living. Primary groups are not judged so much by their efficiency in performing some task as by the emotional satisfactions they bring to their members.
Provisions of Stimulus:
The primary groups not only satisfy the human need for spontaneous living but also provide a stimulus to each of its members in the pursuit of interest. The presence of others in a group acts as a stimulus to each. “Through participation the interest gains a new objectivity. We see it through the eyes of others and thus it is in some measure freed from irrelevant personal implications,” The interest is keenly appreciated and more ardently followed when it is shared by a friendly group.
In association man is encouraged to continue the pursuit of his objectives by others vigorously. His fellow members save him from falling into despondency and keep up his morale.
The man feels that he is not alone pursuing the interest but there are many others who along with him are devoted to the same pursuit. This feeling stimulates him to keener efforts. The interest is perceived and effectively pursued together. Each member contributes his own view point thus enlarging and enriching the character of the interest.
United in Process:
The primary group not only affects the quality of our interests by enlarging and enriching them but as told above also the method of their pursuit. The members cooperate and do the same together.
“Direct co-operation is a characteristic of face to face group as specialization is of the large scale association.” The members of a primary group participate in the same process. The group is essentially a mode of sharing a common experience.” It is a unity in the performance of its function.