Everyone, regardless of his age andkind of activity, consists of several small groups - a family, a school class, a sports team. The relationship of the individual with other members of the collective plays a key role in the formation of his personality. The variety of types of associations demonstrates the classification of small groups. Psychology attaches particular importance to the study of the characteristics of small collectives and their role in society.

What is a small social group

Based on small teams possiblea detailed study of the relationship of the individual with his environment, the influence of society on its members. Therefore in sociological research an important place is occupied by the concepts "group", "small group", "classification of groups". The fact is that most people spend their lives in small groups that have a strong influence on the formation of their values.

A social group is an association of people connected by joint activity and a system of interpersonal relationships. Such groups are classified by their size, that is, by the number of participants.

A small group is a small group of people,connected with joint activities and in direct communication with each other. A feature of such a team is that the number of its members does not exceed twenty, and therefore they can freely contact each other and establish an emotional connection.

Classification of small groups


There are a number of provisions, the existence of which may indicate that the association is a small social group:

  • co-presence of people in one territory at a certain time;
  • emotional contact between members of the team, the existence of a stable relationship;
  • joint activities aimed at achieving a common goal;
  • separation between members of group roles;
  • presence of organizational and administrative structure;
  • the formation of their norms and values.

On these signs and the nature of their manifestationthe concept and classification of small groups is constructed. Establishment of emotional relations between individual members can lead to the appearance of sub-blocks and internal structure.

Small group. Classification of small groups

Types of associations

There are several aspects concerning which the classification of small groups is formed. The table below shows the types of small social associations.




Official (consciously organized) and informal.

Mode of interaction

Primary (high level of cohesion) and secondary (lack of strong relationships, teamwork).

Duration of existence

Temporary (created to achieve a single goal) and stable (designed for long-term work).

Nature of activity

Labor, research, entertainment, ideological, aesthetic, communicative, political.

Personal value

Elite and reference.

The nature of internal relations

The defining is the classification of smallsocial groups as to the mode of its origin. Formal associations are created by management and have a legal status. Their activities are regulated by certain documentation. Management of such a group occurs on a "top-down" basis, and the interpersonal relations of its members are determined by the organization.

Informal groups arise spontaneously on the basis ofemotional connections of participants. Such societies do not have an official status, and its activities are directed "from the bottom up". Nevertheless, they also form certain norms and values ​​shared by all members of the group and predetermining their behavior. If in formal organizations the leader has official powers, then in contact organizations he acts by recognizing other participants.

Classification of social groups. Small group

Reference staff

On the factor of significance of association for a separatepersonality is based on a different classification of social groups. A small group, the norms of which play an important role for man, is called reference (reference). A member of the team sorts out its value system, forms the relevant standards. Such a group is divided into two subspecies:

  • Perfect. The individual is not a unit, but in his behavior he is guided by his norms.
  • Group presence. A person is a member of this collective and shares values.

Small communities play a crucial role information of a person's personality. The child sees norms accepted in the family and among friends. In this case, small social groups can also have a negative impact on the individual - to suppress his personal qualities (inhibition), to impose wrong ideals.

Classification of small social groups

Social significance

Small organizations can play different roles insociety, depending on the values ​​and goals pursued by a small group. Classification of small groups, based on the criterion of social significance, suggests the existence of three types of associations: socially oriented, asocial and antisocial. Accordingly, they play a positive, neutral and negative role. To the socially-oriented small groups are educational, public, productive organizations. People are not accepted by various criminal associations, which nevertheless retain the authority for their members.

Classification of small groups. Psychology

Team Leadership

Management includes a number of actions,necessary for organizing the activities of the association. This concept includes decision making, goal setting, plan development, control, coordination, and so on. There is a conditional classification of small groups with respect to the method of control. There are such types of relations:

  • subordination (from above);
  • coordination (horizontal system);
  • coordination (from below).

Successful organization of activities is based on combining these principles, finding the best option for building internal relationships.

The terms "group", "small group". Classification of groups

Head of the team

A feature of the organization of small groups ishighlighting the leader. It is a member of the association, which has a strong influence on its activities. He is respected by other participants due to his personal qualities and plays an important role in the management of the group. The activity of the leader extends to both internal and external communication. It ensures the involvement of team members in joint activities, exercises control over decision making. There is a classification of small groups, based on the level of intervention of the leader in the activities of the association and the degree of involvement of each member in the process of community management. In the most successful organizations (both contact and formal), a balance is observed between the two extremes.

Control Styles

The conditional classification of small groups, which takes as a basis the involvement of the members of the association in the management process, includes the three items shown in the table below.


Nature of relations

Management Process


Top down

The decision is made by the leader, strengthened control.


Horizontality, equality

A collective discussion where everyone can express their opinion.


Down up

The initiative is in the hands of the governed.

There is also a theory of X and Y. In the first case, a person initially avoids work and prefers to be supervised. Theory Y assumes that the individual has a high level of self-control and strives for responsibility. Accordingly, two different control methods are applicable here.

Team Pressure

The norms adopted in the association have an impacton the way of life of its individual member. Everyone knows an experiment carried out with a group of children, where the pre-arranged participants incorrectly answered the question posed, and the last subject repeated the words of their peers. This phenomenon is called conformism. The opinion of the majority of members of a small group exerts psychological pressure on an individual. The opposite of this phenomenon can serve as independence, that is, the independence of the person's attitudes from the opinion of the environment.

It is important to classify small groups as to what role it plays for an individual. The higher the referral of the association, the more pronounced conformism.

The concept and classification of small groups

Formation of a small social group

Each team goes through several stagesdevelopment. Psychologists G. Stanford and A. Roark developed a theory that includes 7 stages of the formation of a social group. The study is based on a two-factor model of the development of the team, where there are contradictions between business and emotional activity.

  1. Acquaintance, the first attempts at interpersonal interaction.
  2. Creating group norms.
  3. Stage of conflict.
  4. The state of balance, the emergence of a sense of cohesion.
  5. Formation of unity - business activity increases, general goals are set.
  6. Domination is not working, but interpersonal relations of individual members of the association.
  7. Actualization, balance of business and emotional activity.

Social roles in a small group

Members of the association can be assignedcertain behaviors associated with solving problems or communicating with other participants. Roles are manifested in both business and emotional activity of the group. For example, in the process of solving problems, the "initiator" offers new ideas, and the "critic" evaluates the work of the entire group and finds its weaknesses. Roles are also manifested in the sphere of interpersonal relations of the collective. So, the inspirer actively supports the ideas of other members, and the conciliator refuses his opinion and settles conflict situations.