What is the importance of primary group?

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The primary group is the nucleus of all social organizations. It is a small group in which a small number of persons come in direct contact with one another. The primary groups not only satisfy the human needs but also provide a stimulus to each of its members. Family, neighbourhood, children's playground, friends, clubs are the examples of primary group.

C. H. Cooley used the term 'primary group' to mean a social group characterized by 'face-to-face' relationship, mutual aid and companionship. The primary groups can be referred as the 'we-groups'. Cooley defines it as a group involving sympathy and mutual identification for which 'we' is the natural expression.

Importance of Primary Group:

Primary groups are important not only from the individual point of view, but they are equally important from the viewpoint of society. The primary group is the birth-place of human nature. Primary groups help in the socialisation of the individuals and maintain social control over them. The attitude of kindness, love, sympathy, mutual help and sacrifice which provide the cementing force to social structure is developed in the primary group. The importance of primary groups are as follows:

(1) Development of personality:

The primary group, particularly, the family, is the chief moulder of the human personality. The quality of behaviour that a child picks up during its childhood in primary groups finds expression in adult life. Primary groups mould our opinions, guide our affection, influence our actions and determines our loyalties.

(2) An agent of social control:

Primary groups not only provide security to the members but also control their behaviour and regulate their relations. For instance, family, peer group or friend group control much of the activities of their members.

(3) Provision of stimulus:

The primary groups not only provide happiness to its members, but they also provide a stimulus to pursue their interests. Everyone feels that he is not alone pursuing the interests but there are others who are along with him.

(4) A heaven-like place:

The primary group is a heaven for the individuals where they can find comfort and security. The primary relations are based on sympathy and mutual identification. Primary relation here counts 'who you are', not 'what you are'.

(5) Satisfaction of psychological needs:

Primary groups satisfy many psychological needs of the individuals. Individuals get mental happiness, security and also realise that the primary group is their noble centre of human affection, love and sympathy.

(6) United in process:

The primary group is a cohesive group. Direct co-operation characterises the face-to-face group. The group is essentially a mode of sharing a common experience. It is a unity in the performance of its function.

(7) Strengthening the democratic spirit:

The primary group serves the needs of the society also. It helps the individual to acquire basic attitude towards people, social institutions and the world around him. The attitude which provides cementing force to social structure is developed in the primary groups. The very democratic spirit is developed and reinforced in primary groups.

Conclusion:

From the discussion it is clear that primary groups are of great individual as well as social importance. They are the medium through which we learn to prepare the individuals to lead a successful social life. They socialise individuals and give better shape to their personality.


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