Social Organizations

Secondary groups are diverse. Some are large and permanent; others are small and temporary. Some are simple; others are complex. Some have written rules; others do not.

Colleges, businesses, political parties, the military, universities, and hospitals are all examples of formal organizations, which are secondary groups that have goal‐directed agendas and activities. In contrast to official organizations, the informal relations among workers comprise informal organizations. Studies have clearly shown that quality informal relations improve satisfaction on the job and increase workers' productivity. However, professionals seem to place more importance on their relations with their co‐workers than blue collar workers do, perhaps because professionals' jobs require more interaction with co‐workers.

Goals help to define organizations and what they do, as well as provide standards for measuring efficiency, performance, and success in meeting specific objectives. Whereas most organizations cease to exist if they do not attain their goals, others may thrive because of the continuing need to meet their goals. For example, social service agencies continue to function because they never run out of clients.

Organizations use rational planning to achieve their goals. They identify needs, generate alternatives, decide on goals, figure the most effective means to achieve the goals, decide who is best capable of achieving the goals, and then implement a specific plan of action. All of this usually requires strict adherence to policies, which can make large organizations seem businesslike and removed.