Primary groups are of great individual as well as social importance. They are medium through which we learn our culture. They prepare the individuals to lead a successful social life. They socialize individuals and give proper shape to their personality. Some of the primary groups may secure certain external advantages such as better wages, production efficiency, worker's morale, counseling and guidance and so on. Primary group performs a number of vital functions for me growth and development of individuals in society. Following are the important functions of primary group.
1. Acts as a great humanizing agent:
Primary group-enacts the role of a humanizing agency. Family is the immediate primary group in which a child itself as soon as it is born in the family, peer groups and the neighborhood play an important role in socializing or humanizing the child, primary groups teach the child the social norms, standards, morals, beliefs, values and ideas of the society. They introduce to the child the culture of the society.
2. Development of personality:
C.H. Cooley is of the opinion that the primary group, particularly the family, is the chief molder of the human personality. The primary group is the source of our notions of love, freedom, justice and the like. The qualities of behavior that child picks up during the early years in primary groups find their expression in his adult life.
Fair play, equality, free expression, submission to the will of the group and willingness to sacrifice for it are characteristics of family groups. These have a great impact on the personality development of the individuals. Primary groups mould our opinions, guide our affections, influence our action, and in large measure determine our loyalties.
3. Satisfaction of Psychological needs:
Primary groups, satisfy many psychological needs of the individuals. Individuals get; mental happiness, contentment and security from the primary groups. They get the advantages of, Companionship, sympathy and exchange of thoughts and feelings. They reduce mental tensions and emotional stresses and strains.
4. Strengthens the democratic spirit:
The primary group serves the needs of society. Also primary groups help the individual to acquire basic attitudes towards people, social institutions and the world around him. The attitudes of kindness, sympathy, love, tolerance, mutual help arid sacrifice that provide the cementing force to social structure are developed in the primary groups.
5. Acts as an agent of social control:
From the point of view of society, the primary group acts as an agency of social control. Primary, groups not only provide security to the members but also control their behavior and regulate their relations. For example: family, neighborhood, peers group or friends group control much of the activities of the members.