Importance of Secondary Group for Society!
The primary groups have an important place in a simple and small society but in modern era the trend is towards secondary groups. The small communities have now given way to large communities. In place of cottage industry we have now giant corporations, employing thousands of men.
Population has moved from the village to the city. The changing trends of modern society have swept away primary groups. Man now depends for his needs more on secondary groups than primary groups. One activity after the other is being withdrawn from the primary group. The child was formerly born in the warm atmosphere of the family, now he is born in the cold atmosphere of the hospital. Most of the needs which were earlier satisfied in the village are now satisfied in the city.
Industrialisation has moved the worker from the village disrupting his local associations. It has also influenced the roles played in the family. Employment of women in offices and factories has influenced her domestic role. The ‘laissez-faire’ has given way to globalisation.
While the growth of secondary groups has created numerous problems, it has also brought some benefits.
These benefits are the following:
A secondary group is marked by clear cut division of labour. There are set rules to regulate it. A formal authority is set up with the responsibility of managing the organisation efficiently. The organisation of a secondary group is carefully worked out. The emphasis is on getting the job done. Sentiment is subordinated to achievement. The great advances in material comfort would be impossible without the rise of goal directed secondary organisations.
(II) Channels of Opportunity:
Secondly, the secondary groups have opened channels of opportunity. They provide a greater chance to develop individual talents. In the earlier times there were only a handful of pursuits like agriculture and small trades. But today there are thousands of occupations which open the way for specialised careers. The talented individual can now rise from an unknown background to the highest position in business, industry, civil or technical service.
(III) Wider Outlook:
A secondary group broadens the outlook of its members. A primary group is a group of vested interests. It consists of members belonging to a locality and is small in size. The members of a neighbourhood group look to the interests of the neighbourhood only, a family looks to its own interests. The outlooks of its members get narrowed because they think of their limited interest only.
On the other hand, the members of a secondary group are widespread. Its boundaries extend beyond the primary group. A secondary group has to accommodate a large number of individuals and localities which widens the outlook of its members. It is more universal in its judgement than the primary group which is influenced by local customs and personal attitudes. It may shatter the bonds of localism, provincialism and casteism.
Though in modern society, the secondary group has overshadowed the primary group, yet the primary groups persist. It is only in a primary group that the need for intimate, sympathetic association can be satisfied. Man cannot function well unless he belongs to a small group of people who really care what happens to him.
A secondary group also needs primary groups for its existence. Without the primary groups, the secondary group would be “like a tree without roots; it would fall of its own weight”. Primary groups within a secondary group provide intimacy and personal response in an otherwise impersonal situation. They help to integrate the disparate parts of the secondary organisation and provide emotional security to members. The secondary group must be articulated with primary groups.
Moreover, the nature of the large-scale group is such that it cannot satisfy man’s intimate cravings for fellowship and sociality. To satisfy the desire of sociality men in large scale organisations form their clubs wherein they establish personal contacts and express their personality. Charles H. Cooley has greatly emphasized the need of creating opportunities for spontaneous and unrestricted expression of individual’s personality within the large groups.