7 junio, 2024

Social groups: types, examples and their characteristics

The social groups They are groups of two or more people who share some type of interpersonal relationship and who have similar characteristics that provide them with a sense of unity. It is one of the most important units of study in many social sciences, such as psychology, anthropology or sociology.

Groups differ from social categories in that while in the former the members interact with each other, in the latter they do not have to know each other or maintain any type of relationship. However, both terms are often confused because they both refer to a set of individuals with similar characteristics.

Social categories can become groups only when their members identify themselves as part of it, and realize the characteristics that make them similar to others. For example, the category of «citizens of a country» can become a group in specific situations where there is very strong nationalism.

The tendency to divide ourselves into social groups is characteristic of the human being, and in fact we share it with many other animals. Various cross-cultural studies have shown that our propensity to identify with people with whom we share things is innate and fundamental to our identity.


Characteristics of social groups

For a set of individuals to be considered a social group, it has to present a series of basic characteristics.

Social cohesion

It is a series of interrelationships, shared beliefs and values, and specific thoughts that lead members to identify with the rest.

Their individuals share characteristics

Individuals in social groups share characteristics, such as interests, ethical and moral values, customs, traditions, kinship ties, ethnicity, etc.

social interactions

Another of the most important requirements for a social group to appear is the presence of stable social interactions among its members. According to Dunbar’s number, a person can only maintain relationships with up to 150 individuals, although in practice this number is usually much lower.

common goals

In addition to these fundamental characteristics, there are other elements that some authors consider important to determine if there really is a defined social group or not.

Some of the most common are the presence of common goals or motivations, the appearance of norms and values ​​shared by all its members, and the development of punishments for those who do not comply with internal rules.

Division of labor

On the other hand, a universal law of social groups is the presence of division of labor and, therefore, the presence of hierarchies. When we belong to a specific group, we tend to act consistently within it in different situations; and the rest of the participants provide us with a level of perceived status that will determine how they respond to our actions.

Types of groups and examples

The groups can be classified into primary and secondary:

– Primary groups

A primary group is one in which members have long-lasting, intimate personal relationships. People within a primary group spend a lot of time together, and generally do many different activities together.

This causes them to feel like they know each other well, and they usually show real concern for the well-being of others. Some of the most important primary groups are family and friendship circles.

These groups shape the basic values ​​of human beings while allowing them to forge their identity. SIt is the first experience that the human being has of being part of a collective (in childhood and adolescence). Added to this, the primary groups are characterized by being more durable and stable than the secondary ones.

There are two primary groups, family and friends:

Family group

The family group is the first group with which an individual interacts. This group provides the person with the essential values ​​that will define her life. It is also in this group that the feeling of belonging develops for the first time.

Groups of friends

The group of friends is the second group with which a person establishes relationships. The feeling of belonging that it creates within the family group expands to other individuals who share similar interests (books, music, movies, games, among others).

However, interests are just one way to forge the first contact. Once the first interaction has taken place, the bonds that will be formed will be so strong that the relationship will last even if interests change.

The group of friends is so relevant that friends are considered to be a second family.

– Secondary groups

Secondary groups tend to be much larger than primary ones, and to be made up of people whose relationship is purely formal or institutional. Within them, the emotional connection is much weaker, and generally there is not great interpersonal knowledge among its members.

Normally, in addition, the secondary groups are formed with a specific purpose in mind, and tend to dissolve once this has been fulfilled. Some examples of this type of social groups would be a group of workers in a company, or the classmates of a university class.

Here are some examples of secondary groups:

Political parties

Political parties are associations that are carried out to promote the ideas and programs of a group that plans to achieve a place in the government of a State.

People who are part of a political party are united by an ideology and the desire to govern. Political parties can be communist, socialist, ecological, liberal, Christian-democratic, social-democratic, conservative, among others.

Sport clubs

Sports clubs are free and private associations, created by individuals who share an interest in practicing and promoting a specific sport.

Barcelona, ​​Madrid, Juventus and Napoli are examples of soccer sports clubs.

religious groups

Religious groups are social organizations that are structured around a doctrine that seeks to answer the most essential questions of the individual (such as the origin of the world and life on planet Earth).

The most prominent religious groups around the world are:

– Islam, Christianity and Judaism, which are monotheistic (affirm the existence of a single god).

– Hinduism and Shinto, which are polytheistic (they claim that there is more than one god).

– Buddhism and Taoism, which are non-theistic (they deny the existence of supreme gods).

Work groups

The work groups are those that are formed within the work spaces. In principle, these are forced associations because the individual is not able to decide with whom they share the work environment.

Study groups

Study groups are free associations created by the interest of achieving a common goal: doing efficient research, delivering group work, sharing knowledge before an evaluated activity, among others.

Minority advocacy groups

These are free associations that are made in order to defend and give visibility to other minority groups. At present, these social groups have gained popularity. Some examples of these groups are:

– Feminists.

– Defenders of the rights of the LGBT community.

– Defenders of the rights of ethnic minorities.


One of the strongest feelings of belonging to a group is that of nationality. Most individuals feel very identified with their own culture, its values ​​and its traditions.


Culture is another area in which belonging to a specific social group can be seen clearly. For example, European people tend to get along better with others with the same cultural heritage than with individuals belonging to nationalities that do not share the same roots.

social groups of Mexico

Based on the types of groups above, we are going to develop some examples of social groups in Mexico.

– Primary groups. A family from Querétaro, a group of childhood friends from Mérida.

– Secondary groups. PAN or PRI militants, Cruz Azul subscribers, Guadalupano pilgrims, Grupo Bimbo co-workers, CONACYT researchers or defenders of the indigenous peoples of Mexico.


“Social groups”in: Cliff’s Notes. Retrieved on: December 30, 2019 from Cliff’s Notes: cliffsnotes.com. “Social Group”in: Britannica. Retrieved on: December 30, 2019 from Britannica: britannica.com. «Definition of social group» in: Definition Of. Retrieved on: December 30, 2019 of Definition Of: definicion.de. “Types of social groups”in: Lumen. Retrieved on: December 30, 2019 from Lumen: courses.lumenlearning.com. «Social group» in: Wikipedia. Retrieved on: December 30, 2019 from Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org.

Deja una respuesta

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *