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First, the lack of technical expertise needed to create or maintain blogs makes the application more accessible regardless of gender and age. Next, the ability to archive blog posts creates a way to scaffold on previous impressions and expressions; thus, constructing identity can be a continual process for adolescents, and one to which they can refer. Finally, when blog software offers ways to provide feedback or link to other bloggers, this can foster a sense of peer group relationships, another important aspect for the developing adolescent. Most surveys suggest that a significant portion of the total blog population is inhabited by teenagers, and the split between genders is relatively close.

Thus, not only is a significant portion of bloggers under 20 years old, the distribution between males and females demonstrates the egalitarian acceptance and usage of weblogs Herring et al. Because many aspects of identity, both online and offline, involve language use, we examine online identity as the disclosure of personally identifying information, emotive features, sexual identity and semantic themes through discourse expressed in online weblogs. They can be constructed in ways that leave the author completely unidentified, and users can post anonymously.

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This is an interesting feature when names, age, and even location can be strongly associated with both online and offline identity. How often do adolescent bloggers explore identity in terms of names or other personal information? How flexible are these explorations of identity? It is intriguing that blog authors often reveal their real names, along with other personal information such as age or location. In a virtual world, where identity is flexible, why would authors choose to present themselves as they do in nonvirtual worlds?

Perhaps the idea of the personal journal encourages authors to reveal exactly who they are. Perhaps there is a certain sense of empowerment in revealing thoughts and feelings without hiding behind a public mask. On the other hand, if the content of a blog is personal, candid, or intimate, would not a certain sense of anonymity make authors feel more comfortable in being explicit?

In either case, it would seem that names, age, and other forms of personal information play an important role in creating and maintaining blogs since these kinds of descriptors reflect the self, and hence how blog authors want to present themselves to others.


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Because online interactions lack the facial expressions and body gestures vital to expressing opinions and attitudes, emoticons were introduced to fill a void in online communication Crystal, How do emoticons affect the interpretation of a message? They also help form impressions of the author's disposition or attitude. Are there gender variations in the use of emoticons in CMC?

In an analysis using instant messaging dialogues, males rarely use emoticons in conversations with other males, but do use them with females, while females use an equal amount of emoticons in both male and female conversations Lee, One component of gender roles that is a key developmental milestone during adolescence involves sexual orientation, or sexual identity Huston, During adolescence, sexual orientations, whether heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or transgender, often emerge Grotevant, While the challenges of assuming a mature sexual identity occur for all youth, these challenges may be particularly difficult for those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered.

Even now, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth face erotic feelings and fantasies that they may not be able to discuss with their families and peers Grotevant, In a virtual world, where flexibility and anonymity are possible, adolescents may feel more comfortable expressing their sexual orientation and exploring their sexual identity beyond social prescriptions. In online forums, including weblogs, language is a key means through which sexual identity can be expressed and explored.

By contrast, traditional gender roles define the female role as communal, embodying emotional expressiveness and a focus on the needs of others Bakan, The work of Deborah Tannen suggests that the communication patterns of males and females often differ, with males using a direct and forceful style while females use a more indirect and intimate style of interaction Tannen, Such linguistic styles parallel the masculine principle of agency and the feminine principle of communion.

There are, however, differences in the modes of CMC, which may have consequences for language use or social interactions. How do Lakoff's theories relate to gender within a CMC context? Michelle Rodino disagrees with conceptualizing male and female language use in terms of a binary opposition. In either case, studying CMC can provide a variety of insights into the ways males and females present themselves and interact with others in online settings. For this study, gender similarities and differences in language use represent an important means by which adolescents form an online identity.

The purpose of this study is to examine gender similarities and differences among weblogs created by teenagers. By using content analyses of their weblogs, we examined how adolescents present their identities online, as well as how they use language to express their experiences and feelings. Of particular interest to us is: 1 the extent to which personal information, such as name, age, or location, is disclosed; 2 how emotive features are conveyed; 3 how sexual identity is intimated; and 4 how language is used to express ideas and feelings.

H1: Males more so than females will provide personally identifying information, such as their name, age, location, and contact information. H2: In keeping with traditional gender roles, females will use emoticons to express their feelings more often than males. H3: In keeping with traditional gender roles, females will discuss intimate topics like their sexual identity more openly than males. H4: In keeping with traditional gender roles, males will use language that is more aggressive, resolute, and active than females. H5: In keeping with traditional gender roles, females will use language that is more passive, cooperative, and accommodating than males.

We examined the discourse, as expressed in language and emoticons, to conduct our analyses of weblog content. Participants were randomly selected weblogs created by teenage males and females. The blogs were retrieved using two weblog search engines, as well as from Blogspot and LiveJournal , 3 two of the oldest and most popular blog hosting sites. Our sampling methods may be biased in two ways: 1 the majority of sites are from LiveJournal and Blogspot, the two most popular free blog hosting sites, which may include a high percentage of novice users; and 2 Blogsearchengine and blo.

Because of the abundance of female blog results, the sample was separated by gender and a stratified random sampling method was employed to even the sample. The final sample consisted of a total of 70 weblogs, equally distributed across male and female authors. The mean age for the 26 males was The mean age for the 21 females was It must be noted that there was no way to validate the physical identities of blog authors.

Because actual age or gender could be falsified in the virtual environment, this study could only explore the online personae that were displayed in the blogs.


  • Download Cohesive Profiling Meaning And Interaction In Personal Weblogs.
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  • The front page of each weblog was analyzed and scored for personally identifiable information, emotive features, sexual identity, and gendered language. There were two scorers. The formula used was two times the number of agreements divided by the total number of scores for Scorer 1 and Scorer 2 for all dependent variables. Specific reliability scores are reported within their respective categories below. Each blog was examined for the amount of personal information revealed in the text. This included: first name; full name; age; birth date, and location of the blog author; and contact information email address, instant messaging user name, or a link to another personal web page or home page.

    The blogs were examined for any use of emoticons or smileys. The total number of emoticons was counted and divided into five categories: 1 happy; 2 sad; 3 angry; 4 flirty; and 5 tired. Coders produced a total emoticon count for each type happy, sad, etc. The coders also scored for references to romantic relationships with other boys or girls e. In order to evaluate the language used on blogs, we used DICTION, a content analysis software program that takes into account language context as well as word frequencies.

    The master variables used in this study were activity , certainty , and commonality. Each HTML file was converted to a text document. Conversion to a text document did not remove any of the words, only the user interface and graphics in each blog. Resolute and active language scores were derived from DICTION's master variables, and were formulated using individual language scores. The master variables used to analyze resolute and active language were certainty and activity. The subcomponents of each master variable and the formula used to create the master variable scores are presented in the Appendix.

    Cooperative and accommodating language scores are derived from DICTION's master variables, which are also formulated using individual language scores. The master variable used to analyze cooperative and accommodating language is commonality.

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    The subcomponents of this master variable, and the formula used to create the master variable, are presented in the Appendix. The results cover aspects of online identity and language use for the total sample, as well as for males and females separately. Specifically, the results entail the disclosure of personally identifiable information, emotive features, sexual identity, common blog themes, and masculine and feminine language.

    For each dependent measure, descriptive information about weblogs is initially presented. Then comparisons of male and female blogs are made. As depicted in Figure 1 , teen bloggers reveal a considerable amount of personal information about themselves. The first hypothesis was that males more so than females would provide personally identifiable information, such as their name, age, location, and contact information.

    Contrary to prediction, there were no gender differences for the majority of categories: first name; full name; age; birth date; contact information; an email address; or an instant messenger user name. Figure 2 portrays the percentage of emoticon types within the total sample.

    Figure 3 demonstrates how graphics and text were used within each emoticon choice: Happy; Sad; Angry; Flirty; or Tired. Angry and Tired emoticons were overwhelmingly graphical, mainly because replicating these emotions are difficult in text form. Because females are traditionally more emotionally expressive than are males, we expected females to use emoticons in their blogs more often than males.

    Contrary to prediction, there were no overall gender differences for how often emoticons were used. Contrary to prediction, rather than favoring females, discussions regarding relationships were split evenly between male and female bloggers. In keeping with the male gender role, we expected males more so than females to use language that reflects resoluteness, aggression, activity, and a sureness of the self, while we expected females to use more passive language patterns. As seen in Table 4 , males demonstrated more sureness, i.

    In keeping with traditional gender patterns, we expected that females would use language that is more cooperative and accommodating than males. The purpose of this study was to examine online identity construction, focusing on how teenagers present and express themselves using weblogs. By examining language and emoticon usage, we were able to consider both the roles that adolescents assumed for themselves and in relation to one another, which may be more or less stable over time, as well as aspects of identity that may be more stable over time, such as sexual orientation.

    Anonymity and flexibility are inherent in the Internet arena. Freedom from physical constraints, as well as the ability to design one's persona, creates an expectation that users would experiment with online identity Turkle, In short, people can present themselves in a realistic way or a fictitious way. In our study, youth chose to present themselves realistically.

    This is not the case, however, with teenage blogs. The online presentations of teenagers demonstrate that blogs are an extension of the real world, rather than a place where people like to pretend. For instance, teenagers reveal a considerable amount of personal information in their blogs. This includes first and sometimes last names, age, and location. In the case of location, males provide a little more personal information than females; but in all other cases, both males and females are revealing the same kinds of information.

    Teenagers also provide diverse ways for others to contact them online. This includes an email address, an instant messenger user name, or even a link to a personal home page which may contain other forms of contact information. While males and females provide the same types of contact information, females make a link to personal web site available more often than do males. This is interesting in light of previous studies that suggest females may be hesitant or fearful of male dominance, sexual harassment, or cyberstalking, which includes stalking, threatening, or harassing another person in an online environment Earley, ; Gilbert, ; Herring, That teenagers are providing so much personally identifying information about themselves is a cause for concern.

    However, on the Internet, where virtuality provides a sense of freedom from physical harm, people may feel less afraid of the online stranger. At the same time, the Internet's anonymity makes it an attractive medium for sexual predators and cyberstalkers, as sexual predators can deceive online adolescents by pretending to be younger than they are Earley, Because teenage bloggers are revealing a considerable amount of personal information, as well as multiple ways to contact them online, the danger of cyberstalking and communicating with strangers online is a serious issue.

    An awareness of the dangers of revealing personal information online should be cultivated in young bloggers, for cyberstalkers can arrange to meet their victims in offline settings. Emoticons and smileys were prominent in the blogs in our sample. While the majority of emoticons are Happy or Sad, bloggers sometimes use Angry, Flirty, or Tired emoticons. As David Crystal suggests, emoticons are used to fill a void in online communication.

    Because online interactions cannot rely on facial and body gestures to express thoughts or feelings, emoticons are used for several reasons. First, they help to accentuate or emphasize a tone or meaning during message creation and interpretation Crystal, For instance, if the author is complaining about school, and including emoticons of anger or sadness, the reader may derive more depth or feeling from the message. However, this was not the case with our blogs.

    Among authors who use emoticons in their blogs, males actually posted more emoticons than did females. Similarly, males used more Sad and Flirty emoticons than did females. The overall heavy use of emoticons in weblogs suggests that they are prevalent in online interactions, partly because emoticons are now often built into CMC applications such as instant messaging, chat rooms, message boards, and now blogs. He, therefore, analyzed the operation of such complex social forms as formal institutions and social class systems and the subtle controls of public opinion.

    Families as Social Groups: This family from the s would be an example of a primary group. A primary group is a group in which one exchanges implicit items, such as love, caring, concern, support, etc. Examples of these would be family groups, love relationships, crisis support groups, and church groups. Relationships formed in primary groups are often long lasting and goals in themselves.

    They also are often psychologically comforting to the individuals involved and provide a source of support and encouragement. Unlike first groups, secondary groups are large groups whose relationships are impersonal and goal oriented. People in a secondary group interact on a less personal level than in a primary group, and their relationships are generally temporary rather than long lasting.

    Some secondary groups may last for many years, though most are short term. Such groups also begin and end with very little significance in the lives of the people involved. Secondary relationships involve weak emotional ties and little personal knowledge of one another. The distinction between primary and secondary groups was originally proposed by Charles Cooley. A secondary group is one you have chosen to be a part of.

    They are based on interests and activities. They are where many people can meet close friends or people they would just call acquaintances. Secondary groups are also groups in which one exchanges explicit commodities, such as labor for wages, services for payments, etc. Examples of these would be employment, vendor-to-client relationships, a doctor, a mechanic, an accountant, and such. A university class, an athletic team, and workers in an office all likely form secondary groups.

    Primary groups can form within secondary groups as relationships become more personal and close. In sociology and social psychology, in-groups and out-groups are social groups to which an individual feels as though he or she belongs as a member, or towards which they feel contempt, opposition, or a desire to compete, respectively. People tend to hold positive attitudes towards members of their own groups, a phenomenon known as in-group bias.

    The term originates from social identity theory which grew out of the work of social psychologists Henri Tajfel and John Turner. Henri Tajfel: The in-group and out-group concepts originate from social identity theory, which grew out of the work of social psychologists Henri Tajfel and John Turner. This can be expressed in evaluation of others, linking, allocation of resources, and many other ways. One of the key determinants of group biases is the need to improve self-esteem. That is individuals will find a reason, no matter how insignificant, to prove to themselves why their group is superior.

    Intergroup aggression is any behavior intended to harm another person because he or she is a member of an out group. Intergroup aggression is a by product of in-group bias, in that if the beliefs of the in-group are challenged or if the in-group feels threatened, then they will express aggression toward the out-group. The major motive for intergroup aggression is the perception of a conflict of interest between in-group and out-group.

    French Stereotypes: Prejudice is similar to stereotype in that a stereotype is a generalization about a group of people in which identical characteristics are assigned to virtually all members of the group, regardless of actual variation among the members. Perceivers tend to have impressions about the diversity or variability of group members around those central tendencies or typical attributes of those group members. When white students were shown faces of a few white and a few black individuals, they later more accurately recognized white faces they had seen and often falsely recognized black faces not seen before.

    The opposite results were found when subjects consisted of black individuals. Prejudice is a hostile or negative attitude toward people in a distinct group, based solely on their membership within that group. There are three components. The first is the affective component, representing both the type of emotion linked with the attitude and the severity of the attitude. The second is a cognitive component, involving beliefs and thoughts that make up the attitude. Prejudice primarily refers to a negative attitude about others, although one can also have a positive prejudice in favor of something.

    Prejudice is similar to stereotype in that a stereotype is a generalization about a group of people in which identical characteristics are assigned to virtually all members of the group, regardless of actual variation among the members. Reference group: Reference groups provide the benchmarks and contrast needed for comparison and evaluation of group and personal characteristics. Social comparison theory is centered on the belief that there is a drive within individuals to gain accurate self-evaluations. Individuals evaluate their own opinions and define the self by comparing themselves to others.

    One important concept in this theory is the reference group. A reference group refers to a group to which an individual or another group is compared. Sociologists call any group that individuals use as a standard for evaluating themselves and their own behavior a reference group. It is the group to which the individual relates or aspires to relate himself or herself psychologically. Robert K. Merton hypothesized that individuals compare themselves with reference groups of people who occupy the social role to which the individual aspires. Reference groups act as a frame of reference to which people always refer to evaluate their achievements, their role performance, aspirations and ambitions.

    A reference group can either be from a membership group or non-membership group. An example of a reference group is a group of people who have a certain level of affluence. For example, an individual in the U. If, however, the same person considers the relevant reference group to be those in the top 0. A social network is a social structure between actors, either individuals or organizations. It indicates the ways in which they are connected through various social familiarities, ranging from casual acquaintance to close familial bonds. Sociologists are interested in social networks because of their influence on and importance for the individual.

    Social networks are the basic tools used by individuals to meet other people, recreate, and to find social support. Social Network Illustration: An example of a social network diagram.

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    Social network theory views social relationships in terms of nodes and ties. Nodes are the individual actors within the networks, and ties are the relationships between the actors. There can be many kinds of ties between the nodes. In its most simple form, a social network is a map of all of the relevant ties between the nodes being studied.

    The network can also be used to determine the social capital of individual actors. In sociology, social capital is the expected collective or economic benefits derived from the preferential treatment and cooperation between individuals and groups. The rule of states that the size of a genuine social network is limited to about members. The rule arises from cross-cultural studies in sociology and especially anthropology of the maximum size of a village. The small world phenomenon is the hypothesis that the chain of social acquaintances required to connect one arbitrary person to another arbitrary person anywhere in the world is generally short.

    Milgram also identified the concept of the familiar stranger, or an individual who is recognized from regular activities, but with whom one does not interact. Somebody who is seen daily on the train or at the gym, but with whom one does not otherwise communicate, is an example of a familiar stranger. If such individuals meet in an unfamiliar setting, for example, while travelling, they are more likely to introduce themselves than would perfect strangers, since they have a background of shared experiences.

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    Recent research suggests that the social networks of Americans are shrinking, and more and more people have no close confidants or people with whom they can share their most intimate thoughts. In , the mean network size of individuals in the United States was 2. Networks declined by almost an entire confidant by , to 2. Almost half, The most frequently occurring response to the question of how many confidants one has was zero in An online community is a virtual community that exists online and whose members enable its existence through taking part in membership rituals.

    An online community can take the form of an information system where anyone can post content, such as a bulletin board system or one where only a restricted number of people can initiate posts, such as Weblogs. Online communities have also become a supplemental form of communication between people who know each other primarily in real life. Many means are used in social software separately or in combination, including text-based chat rooms and forums that use voice, video text, or avatars.

    The idea of a community is not a new concept. What is new, however, is transferring it over into the online world. A community was previously defined as a group from a single location. If you lived in the designated area, you became a part of that community. Interaction between community members was done primarily face-to-face and in a social setting.

    This definition for community no longer applies. In the online world, social interactions no longer have to be face-to-face or based on proximity. Instead, they can be with literally anyone, anywhere. There is a set of values to consider when developing an online community. Some of these values include: opportunity, education, culture, democracy, human services, equality within the economy, information, sustainability, and communication.

    Cost plays a role in all aspects and stages for online communities. Fairly cheap and easily attainable technologies and programs have also influenced the increase in establishment of online communities. While payment is necessary to participate in some online communities, such as certain dating websites or for monthly game subscriptions, many other sites are free to users such as the social networks Facebook and Twitter. Because of deregulation and increased Internet access, the popularity of online communities has escalated.

    Online communities provide instant gratification, entertainment, and learning. Every online community has a distinct set of members who participate differently. A lurker observes the community and viewing content, but does not add to the community content or discussion. A novice engages the community, starts to provide content, and tentatively interacts in a few discussions. A regular consistently adds to the community discussion and content and interacts with other users. A leader is recognized as a veteran participant, connecting with regulars to make higher concepts and ideas. Finally, an elder leaves the community for a variety of reasons.

    For instance, the elder might experience a change in interests or lack the time to stay connected. Facebook: While payment is necessary to participate in some online communities, such as certain dating websites or for monthly game subscriptions, many other sites are free to users such as social networks Facebook and Twitter. Online communities have changed the game for retail firms, as they have forced them to change their business strategies. Social groups are defined by boundaries. The perceived permeability of group boundaries is important in determining how members define their identity.

    Where group boundaries are considered permeable e. Children and Marbles: Early childhood peers engaged in parallel play. Where group boundaries are considered impermeable, and where status relations are considered reasonably stable, individuals are predicted to engage in social creativity behaviors. Here, without changing necessarily the objective resources of in the in-group or the out-group, low status in-group members are still able to increase their positive distinctiveness. This may be achieved by comparing the in-group to the out-group on some new dimension, changing the values assigned to the attributes of the group, and choosing an alternative out-group by which to compare the in-group.

    One important factor in how symbolic boundaries function is how widely they are accepted as valid. Emile Durkheim was interested in this idea. He saw the symbolic boundary between the sacred and the profane as the most profound of all social facts, and the one from which lesser symbolic boundaries were derived. Rituals, whether secular or religious, were for Durkheim the means by which groups maintained their symbolic and moral boundaries.

    Mary Douglas has subsequently emphasized the role of symbolic boundaries in organizing experience, private and public, even in a secular society. Leadership is the ability to organize a group of people to achieve a common purpose. Although the leader may or may not have any formal authority, students of leadership have produced theories involving traits, situational interaction, function, behavior, power, vision and values, charisma, and intelligence, among others. A leader is somebody who people follow, somebody who guides or directs others. The trait theory of leadership seeks to find attributes that all leaders possess.

    According to researchers of leadership, all individuals can and do emerge as leaders across a variety of situations and tasks. Significant relationships exist between leadership and such individual traits as: intelligence, adjustment, extraversion, consciousness, openness to experience, and general self-efficacy. Considering the criticisms of the trait theory outlined above, several researchers have begun to adopt a different perspective of leader individual differences—the leader attribute pattern approach.

    Situational theory also appeared as a reaction to the trait theory of leadership. Social scientists argued that history was more than the result of intervention of great men. Herbert Spencer said that the times produce the person and not the other way around. This theory assumes that different situations call for different characteristics; according to this group of theories, no single optimal psychographic profile of a leader exists. By contrast, functional leadership theory is a particularly useful theory for addressing specific leader behaviors expected to contribute to organizational or unit effectiveness.

    It is the result of the philosophy, personality, and experience of the leader. Under the autocratic leadership style, all decision-making powers are centralized in the leader, as with dictators. The democratic leadership style consists of the leader sharing the decision-making abilities with group members by promoting the interests of the group members and by practicing social equality. This style of leadership works well because people feel their voice is being heard, but it can result in fighting and animosity if opinions clash and decisions can not be reached.

    In the laissez-faire leadership style, a person may be in a leadership position without providing leadership, leaving the group to fend for itself. Subordinates are given a free hand in deciding their own policies and methods. Expressive leaders are concerned about the emotional well-being of the group and want the group to function harmoniously. Decision-making is the mental process resulting in the selection of a course of action among several alternative scenarios. Every decision-making process produces a final choice.

    Group decision-making is the process used when individuals are brought together in a group to solve problems. According to the idea of synergy, decisions made collectively tend to be more effective than decisions made by a single individual. However, there are situations in which the decisions made by a collection of individuals are riddled with error, or poor judgment.

    For example, groups high in cohesion have been noted to have a negative effect on group decision making and hence on group effectiveness. Consensus requires that a majority approve a given course of action, but that the minority agrees to go along with the course of action. In other words, if the minority opposes the course of action, consensus requires that the course of action be modified to remove objectionable features. When a consensus is impossible, impractical, or undesirable, different voting systems can be used for a group to decide on an outcome. Three examples are range voting, majority voting, and plurality voting.

    Range voting lets each member score one or more of the available options. The option with the highest average is chosen. Plurality voting is where the largest block in a group decides, even if it falls short of a majority. Consensus Decision-Making: This diagram shows how decisions are made by consensus.

    Consensus requires that a majority approve a given course of action, but that the minority agree to go along with the course of action. Decision making in groups is sometimes examined separately as process and outcome. Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within groups of people. It is the mode of thinking that happens when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints.

    Similarly, group polarization refers to the tendency for groups to make decisions that are more extreme than the initial inclination of its members. In this game, both individual and group decision-making was observed to see how individual preferences with respect to the allocation of money between a dictator and a recipient are transformed into a team decision. Their main finding was that team decisions were more selfish and competitive, less trusting and less altruistic than individual decisions.

    This study therefore offers evidence of group polarization, where the actions of individuals when in a group were more extreme than when the individual acted individually. Setting goals involves establishing specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-targeted S. On a personal level, setting goals helps people work toward their own objectives, which are most commonly financial or career-based goals.

    Setting goals affects outcomes in four ways: by improving choice, effort, persistence, and cognition. By choice, we mean that goals narrow attention and direct efforts to goal-relevant activities, and away from perceived undesirable and goal-irrelevant actions. Secondly, goals can lead to more effort. For example, if a person typically produces four widgets an hour, and sets the goal of producing six, he may work more intensely toward the goal. Third, through improved persistence, someone becomes more prone to work through setbacks when pursuing a goal.

    Finally, by cognition, we mean that goals can lead individuals to develop and change their behavior. Goal setting and achievement: Athletes set goals during the training process. Through choice, effort, persistence, and cognition, they can prepare to compete.

    1.1 – The Nature of Groups

    The enhancement of performance through goals requires feedback. Goal setting and feedback go hand in hand, for without feedback, goal setting is unlikely to work. Providing feedback on short-term objectives helps to sustain motivation and commitment to a goal. Feedback should also be provided on the strategies followed to achieve the goals and the final outcomes achieved as well.

    The first empirical studies were performed by Cecil Alec Mace in Later in the mids, Edwin A. Locke began to examine goal setting, a topic he continued to explore for thirty years. Group polarization is the phenomenon that when placed in group situations, people will make decisions and form opinions that are more extreme than when they are in individual situations. The phenomenon has shown that after participating in a discussion group, members tend to advocate more extreme positions and call for riskier courses of action than individuals who did not participate in any such discussion.

    The importance of group polarization is significant as it helps explain group behavior in a variety of real-life situations. Examples of these situations include public policy, terrorism, college life, and violence. For instance, group polarization can largely be seen at political conventions that are broadcasted nation wide before a large election. Generally, a political party holds the same ideals and fundamentals.

    At times, however, individual members of the party may waver on where they stand on smaller subjects. During a political convention, the political party as a group is strongly united in one location and is exposed to many persuasive speakers. As a result, each individual in the political party leaves more energized and steadfast on where the party as a whole stands with regards to all subjects and behind all candidates, even if they were wavering on where they stood before hand. Kennedy, was one of the primary political case studies that Irving Janis used in explaining the theory of groupthink.

    Irving Janis led the initial research on the groupthink theory. The United States Bay of Pigs Invasion was one of the primary political case studies that Janis used in explaining the theory of groupthink. When some people attempted to present their objections to the plan, the Kennedy team as a whole ignored these objections and kept believing in the morality of their plan. Janis claimed the fiasco that ensued could have been prevented if the Kennedy administration had followed the same methods of preventing groupthink that it later followed during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    Herd behavior describes how individuals in a group can act together without planned direction. The term pertains to the behavior of animals in herds, flocks and schools, and to human conduct during activities such as stock market bubbles and crashes, street demonstrations, sporting events, religious gatherings, episodes of mob violence and everyday decision-making, judgment and opinion-forming.

    The formal structure of a group or organization includes a fixed set of rules of procedures and structures, usually set out in writing, with a language of rules that ostensibly leave little discretion for interpretation. In some societies and organizations, such rules may be strictly followed; in others, they may be little more than an empty formalism.

    A formal organization has its own set of distinct characteristics. These include well-defined rules and regulation, an organizational structure, and determined objectives and policies, among other characteristics. Formal rules are often adapted to subjective interests giving the practical everyday life of an organization more informality. Practical experience shows no organization is ever completely rule-bound: all real organizations represent some mix of formal and informal characteristics.

    When attempting to create a formal structure for an organization, it is necessary to recognize informal organization in order to create workable structures. Tended effectively, the informal organization complements the more explicit structures, plans, and processes of the formal organization.

    Informal organization can accelerate and enhance responses to unanticipated events, foster innovation, enable people to solve problems that require collaboration across boundaries, and create paths where the formal organization may someday need to pave a way. Formal Organization: A formal organization is a fixed set of rules of intra-organization procedures and structures. As such, it is usually set out in writing, with a language of rules that ostensibly leave little discretion for interpretation.

    The deviation from rulemaking on a higher level was documented for the first time in the Hawthorne studies in This deviation was referred to as informal organization. At first this discovery was ignored and dismissed as the product of avoidable errors, until these unwritten laws of were recognized to have more influence on the fate of the enterprise than those conceived on organizational charts of the executive level. Numerous empirical studies in sociological organization research followed, particularly during the Human Relations Movement—the researchers of organizational development who study the behavior of people in groups, in particular workplace groups.

    The informal organization is the interlocking social structure that governs how people work together in practice. It consists of a dynamic set of personal relationships, social networks, communities of common interest, and emotional sources of motivation. The informal organization evolves organically in response to changes in the work environment, the flux of people through its porous boundaries, and the complex social dynamics of its members. The nature of the informal organization becomes more distinct when its key characteristics are juxtaposed with those of the formal organization.

    The informal organization is characterized by constant evolution; grass roots; being dynamic and responsive; requiring insider knowledge to be seen; treating people as individuals; being flat and fluid; being cohered by trust and reciprocity; and being difficult to pin down.

    Keith Davis suggests that informal groups serve at least four major functions within the formal organizational structure. First, they perpetuate the cultural and social values that the group holds dear. Certain values are usually already commonly held among informal group members. Day-to-day interaction reinforces these values that perpetuate a particular lifestyle and preserve group unity and integrity. For example, a college management class of 50 students may contain several informal groups that constitute the informal organization within the formal structure of the class.

    Second, they provide social status and satisfaction that may not be obtained from the formal organization. In a large organization, a worker may feel like an anonymous number rather than a unique individual. Members of informal groups share jokes and gripes, eat together, play and work together, and are friends—contributing to personal esteem, satisfaction, and a feeling of worth.

    Third, the informal group develops a communication channel to keep its members informed about what management actions will affect them in various ways. Finally, they provide social control by influencing and regulating behavior inside and outside the group. Internal control persuades members of the group to conform to its lifestyle. For example, if a student starts to wear a coat and tie to class, informal group members may convince the student that such attire is not acceptable and therefore to return to sandals, jeans, and T-shirts.

    Under rapid growth business approach, Starbucks, which grew from employees to over , in just over a decade, provides structures to support improvisation. Spear and H. Familial ties represent the purest form of gemeinschaft, although religious institutions are also a classic example of this type of relationship. Such groupings based on feelings of togetherness and mutual bonds are maintained by members of the group who see the existence of the group as their key goal.


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    • Characteristics of these groups include slight specialization and division of labor, strong personal relationships, and relatively simple social institutions. A modern business is a good example of an association in which individuals seek to maximize their own self-interest, and in order to do so, an association to coordinate efforts is formed. The specialization of professional roles holds them together, and often formal authority is necessary to maintain structures.

      Characteristics of these groups include highly calculated divisions of labor, impersonal secondary relationships, and strong social institutions. The equilibrium in Gemeinschaft is achieved through morals, conformism, and exclusion social control , while Gesellschaft keeps its equilibrium through police, laws, tribunals and prisons. Amish and Hassidic communities are examples of Gemeinschaft, while state municipalities are types of Gesellschaft.

      Rules in Gemeinschaft are implicit, while Gesellschaft has explicit rules written laws. Mechanical and organic solidarity are concepts referring to different modes of establishing and maintaining social order and cohesion.