The concept of primary group was first introduced by C.H. Cooley in his book ‘Social Organization’. The primary group is the nucleus of all social organization. It is a small group in which small number of persons comes, into direct and close contact with one another. The members of primary group meet “face-to-face” for mutual help, co-operation, companionship and discussion of common question. It is the nursery of human nature and from it originates the human virtues of love, sympathy, co-operation, honesty, justice and fair play. The relations among the members of primary group are characterized by face-to-face, direct, intimate, informal and personal.
Definition of Primary Group:
According to C.H. Cooley, “By primary group I mean those characterized by intimate, face-to-face, association and co-operation. They are primary in several senses but chiefly in that they are fundamental in forming the social nature and ideals of the individual”.
Characteristics of Primary group:
According to C.H. Cooley, following are important and essential characteristics of a primary group.
1. Physical Proximity:
The members of primary group must be physically close to one another. They develop intimacy on account of close contact among themselves.
2. Small in Size:
The primary group is always small in size. It is so small that the desired intimate relationship can be developed among its members. Due to its small size, the members of a primary group know each other personally and develop a group character
3. Continuity of Relationship:
The relations among the members of the primary group are direct, close, intimate and personal. These relations are continuous and permanent. The members of the primary group meet and discuss with each other frequently. The continuous and frequent relations bring stability in the primary group.
There is a strong ”we-feeling” among the members of a primary group. They are always motivated by unique slogan that we are all the members of a particular group. They treat the members of their own group as their near relatives or friends and the persons belonging to other groups as outsiders.
5. Personal Relations:
The relations among the members of a primary group are personal, spontaneous and inclusive. That means all the members of the primary group personally know each other. The members of primary groups have personal relation and this is why the gap of one member’s absence is not filled completely by the other.
6. Common Aims and Objectives:
In primary group, all the members have common aims and objectives. For example, in family he pleasure and pain of every member is shared by the whole, family and all the members work for some common aims. Thus in primary group, the aims and objectives are the same for all the members.
7. Similarity of Background:
The members of a primary group always have similar background. They should be equally experienced so that each member can either give or take some thing from other members.
A primary group is more stable than other groups. To promote closeness and intimacy of relationship, the primary group should be stable, permanent to some extent. The stability of nature of primary group brings unity and integrity among he members.
9. Maximum control over the members:
Due to the intimacy, spontaneity, physical proximity, small size and the stability of the group, all the members of a primary group, it is very difficult for any person to avoid the other. Therefore, primary group exercises maximum control over the members.