Subject: Social Studies
Topic: Group Behaviour
Learning Objectives: by the end of this lesson, the learners should have learnt the following:
- Meaning of group behaviour
- Types of group behaviour
- Characteristics of group behaviour
Group Behaviour refers to people with a similar goal behaving in the same way, which might be different from how they would normally behave if they were alone or as individuals. It is the type of behaviour that takes place when individuals act together or collectively. Examples include students on a courtesy call in the governor of a state, or when they embark on a peaceful demonstration.
Group Behaviour also refers to the interactions that take place in small groups such as the family, peer groups, etc.
Types Of Group Behaviour
There are two major types of group behaviour and they are collective behaviour and community services. Other forms of group behaviour include crowd behaviour, herd behaviour and public or mass behaviour. However, for the sake of this lesson, our attention is focused on the two major types mentioned earlier.
(1) Collective Behaviour: This includes social behaviour such as action and industrial action. It is defined by the fact that individuals come together to express a preference for, or a grievance against, a given social situation. Strikes by the Nigerian Labour Congress, for instance, constitute collective behaviour or mass action.
Characteristics of Collective Behaviour
i. Collective behaviour such as mass action is often based on a grievance or preference for change shared by members of a social group.
ii. The mass action may be spontaneous, in the sense that it may not have been planned in advance but may have been based on a perceived injury.
iii. Collective behaviour sometimes requires a formal organisational and administrative or leadership structure that organises the diverse interests of members.
iv. Collective behaviour is the means by which individuals make their ideas, opinions and feelings known in a group situation.
v. Collective behaviour (such as mass action) is always undertaken primarily for the interests of members of a given group.
(2) Community Services: These are actions taken by corporate groups or individuals to improve the lots of communities. The provision of boreholes or pipe-borne water in a community by a group of individuals is a form of community service. Usually, community services are directed at areas of need and very often, they take the form of corporate social responsibility or philanthropy.
Characteristics Of Community Services
i. Community services, whether provided by a social group or by an ad hoc group of individuals, are usually based on a felt need of the community.
ii. Community services are usually planned in advance.
iii. Community services are often provided by formal organisations, although they could also be provided by an ad hoc group of individuals who come together specifically to provide the given service. Examples of such services may be to build an access road to a remote village or a laboratory for a community secondary school.
iv. Community services can also be provided within the community itself by individuals who maintain their community roads or clean up the environment so as to promote health.
v. Community services are provided for the benefit of the society and not for personal or group profit.
Benefits of Group Behaviour
When people act or behave collectively, certain benefits or advantages are realised. Some or these advantages are stated below:
(i) People achieve more when they act collectively. What one person cannot do properly can be done well when people try to do it as a group. For example, clearing the environment of rubbish and dirt.
(ii) Changes in a society are usually brought about by group Behaviour. For example, if a group of people think the way the government is ruling the people is not right and they speak with one voice, the government could be forced to change the system. For example, a dictatorial government can be made to change to a democratic one.
(iii) During emergency situations, help comes quickly or action is taken speedily to stop bad situations getting worse. For example, during a fire incident or a motor accident, people behaving or acting as a group put off the fire quickly or help to save the lives of those who are badly injured, or even their own lives.
(iv) A peaceful demonstration by workers because of low pay or salaries and bar working conditions of service may lead to increase in salaries and better working conditions.
(v) Group behaviour may bring about a revival or renewal of a good habit that has been lost or forgotten. For example, when the Buhari/Idiagbon military government took over power in 1983, the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) campaign was introduced. This campaign brought back the need for orderliness in public life such as queuing up at bus stops, post offices, banks, etc. People wholeheartedly supported the programme and collectively opposed any one who tried to go against the campaign.
(vi) When there is group behaviour, people tend to feel a sense of unity, even if that spirit of unity does not last for long. People put aside their differences and work together as one big family to achieve their objectives.
(vii) Those who may be shy or not bold enough to do certain things when they act alone become bold and strong to behave or act because others are doing the same thing.
(viii) Group behaviour can bring about freedom for a people who are oppressed or unjustly treated when collectively they revolt or decide not to accept their condition. For example, the struggle for independence by Nigerians from the British.
Group behaviour, however, may have destructive effects such as when a crowd becomes violent, destroys properties, lynches a person or suddenly rushes for a small exit, leading to people losing their lives.
Now take the following as test questions to assess your learning progress.
1. What is group behaviour?
2. Mention and describe the two major types of group behaviour
3. What are some of the benefits of group behaviour?
Were you able to answer those questions? Bravo!!
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