What is the difference between Primary Group and Secondary Group in Sociology?

Both Primary group and Secondary group differ from each other in certain respects. The chief points of differences between the primary group and secondary group are as follows.

1. Difference in Physical Proximity:

Primary group is characterized by close physical proximity. Members of primary group must be physically close to one another and personally known to each other. On the other hand, physical distance is characteristics feature of the secondary group. Members of the secondary group are scattered over a large place and therefore, they cannot live in close proximity.

2. Difference: in Size:

The size of the primary group is very small because it includes a small number of people. Small size of a primary group helps its members to develop personal relations among themselves. Secondary group on the other hand, is large in size. It may contain a large number of people and they are scattered all over the country. Due to its long size, the members do not have personal relations among themselves.

3. Difference in Relationship:

Primary group and secondary group differ from each other regarding the nature of relationship. The relations among the members of a primary group are face-to-face, direct, close, intimate, personal and permanent. But the relations among the members of a secondary group are touch and go type, indirect, less intimate, short, formal and impersonal.

4. Difference in Goals:

The aims and proposes of the members of primary groups are same and the persons take others interest as their own. But in secondary groups, the aims and purposes of the members are not same. The members of the secondary groups have different aims and they are always busy in their own business.

5. Difference in type of co-operation:

In the primary groups, the co-operation among the members is always direct and intimate. The members directly co-operate with each other, participate in same discussions, and take common decisions. But in secondary groups there is only indirect type of co-operation among the members because their functions are based on the principle of division of labor and specialization of work.

6. Difference in structure:

The structure of primary groups is very simple and rigid; the primary relations are guided by some rigid and informal means of customs, traditions, modes and norms. But the structure of secondary group is very complex and flexible.

7. Difference in means and ends:

Primary group is characterized by the primary relationship and this is not as a means to an end but an end itself. This relationship is voluntary and spontaneous. On the other hand, the secondary relationship is considered not as an end in itself but as a means to an end.

8. Difference in membership:

The membership of the primary groups is permanent and compulsory, because man lives, grows and dies within it. No one can deny the primary groups
membership. But the membership of the secondary groups is temporary and voluntary.

9. Difference in nature of control:

Primary groups control the behavior of the members through informal means such as customs, traditions, folkways, modes, norms, beliefs, suggestions, religion, art, literature, praise, reward, humor and satire etc. Secondary groups, on the other hand, control the behavior of its members by some formal means of social control such as law, police, court, jail, army and the like.

10. Difference in-position:

In primary groups, the position or status of a person is fixed according to his birth, age and sex. But in secondary groups the position of a person is determined by his roles.

11. Difference in the development of personality:

Primary group is concerned with the total personality of a person and it develops his whole personality. Secondary group on the other hand is concerned with a particular aspect of personality and it develops only that aspect.

12. Difference in personal activity:

Lastly, the members of primary groups are personally active and help each other whenever the need arises. But the members of secondary groups are mostly inactive members of the group.