Main characteristics of secondary group are: (i) Formal and Impersonal Relations (ii) Large in Size (iii) Option of Membership (iv) Active and Inactive Members (v) Relations (vi) Formal Rules (vii) Status of Individual Depends on his Role (viii) Goal Oriented.
(i) Formal and Impersonal Relations:
The relations of members in a secondary group are of a formal and impersonal type. It does not exercise primary influence over its members.
The members need not meet face to face. They perform their jobs, carry out the orders, pay their dues and still may never see each other. The relations of the members are merely casual and of ‘touch-and-go’ type. We go to a bank counter or an office, meet the clerk, get our work done and come back. We are not concerned with the other aspects of his life. We do not find warmth of relations in a secondary group.
(ii) Large in Size:
Secondary groups are large in size. They might be spread all over the world, for example, the Red Cross Society consists of thousands of members scattered all over the world.
(iii) Option of Membership:
The membership of most of the secondary groups is not compulsory. It is not essential to become the member of Rotary International or Red Cross Society.
(iv) Active and Inactive Members:
A secondary group is large in size. There is absence of intimacy among its members. Due to the absence of intimate relations some members of the group become inactive while some others are quite active. A large number of members of a national political party do not take any active interest in the party work. They confine themselves to the payment of annual subscriptions.
The members of a secondary group hardly meet face to face. They are scattered throughout the world, e.g., members of International Red Cross Society and Rotary International. They communicate with each other by indirect means.
(vi) Formal Rules:
A secondary group is regulated by formal rules. A formal authority is set up and a clear cut division of labour is made. The organization of a secondary group is carefully worked out. As a matter of fact, the stability of a secondary group depends much upon the way it is organized than upon uncertain sentimental attachment.
(vii) Status of Individual Depends on his Role:
In a secondary group the status of every member depends upon his role. The status of the President in a trade union depends upon the role he plays in the union and not upon his personal qualities or birth.
(viii) Goal Oriented:
The main purpose of a secondary group is to fulfill a specific function. A trade union is formed to better the working conditions of the workers. A school is opened to provide education. The success of a secondary group is judged by its efficiency to perform its task.