As we shift from primary- to secondary-group situations we also 'shift from informal to more formal social con trios. Secondary groups are generally larger, more impersonal, and specialized in purpose. We do not use them to meet our need for intimate human response but 19 help us to get certain jobs done. If a secondary' group does not meet our needs, we can generally withdraw with no great anguish, for our emotional lives are not deeply, involved. To maintain our status in the secondary group is desirable but not a desperate emotional necessity as it is in the primary group. True, it is possible in our society for people to change their primary groups-leave their families, divorce their mates, find new friends-but this is painful. The secondary group is generally a less compelling control agency than the primary group. . The secondary group is still an elective control. Some of the informal controls still operate in the secondary group.
No normal person wants to appear ridiculous at the union meeting, the church worship service, or the 'chamber of commerce banquet. Such informal controls as ridicule laughter gossip and ostracism operate in secondary-group settings, but generally with a reduced impact. Meanwhile, other more formal controls' are characteristic of secondary groups=-parliamentary rules of order, official regulations and standardized procedures, propaganda, public relations and "human engineering," promotions. and "titles, rewards and prizes, formal penalties and punishments, and still others.
These formal controls of the secondary group are most effective when reinforced by a primary group. A prize or decoration is more sweet when an admiring family and an applauding clique of close friends can watch the presentation ceremony. Within the large, impersonal secondary group may be many. very closely integrated primary groups, such as squads within. an army or work crews within a corporation. These primary groups can either reinforce or undermine the formal secondary-group controls and greatly affect the performance of the secondary group. Much of the human engineering approach in industry is an effort to use these primary groups to reinforce the controls and the objectives of-the corporation.