Know the Forming Factors of Social Groups and Forms of Social Groups

Social shaping factors – Humans have an instinct to live with other humans and form groups. That is, no human being can live without having a social group. In fact, by nature, humans have been members of social groups, families, since birth.

The interactions built by humans in their development are not only limited to the family. We interact with individuals and other social groups to form systems within the most related social groups.

At least, there are two main desires that drive humans to live in groups. First, humans always want to join with other humans around. Second, humans want to unite with the natural situation around them (Abdulsyani, 2012:103).

Not only that, humans also tend to live in groups in order to facilitate work or have common interests. Every member in a social group works together to meet their needs, to get protection, to get a sense of security.

Definition of Social Groups

According to Soerjono Soekanto (2014: 88) as written in the book “Social Groups”, humans are creatures that have two desires from birth, namely to unite with other humans and unite with nature. Therefore, humans always live in groups and form social groups for the sake of survival.

So dynamic is human life and its social groups according to the process of interaction that we establish in the social groups in which we live.

There are a small part of our life needs that can be met only by our own abilities. Even so, most of the necessities of life must be cultivated jointly with other people. For this reason, humans are called social beings.

As social beings, we interact with others, which results in the formation of various groups in society.

Humans as social beings are part of society. We will form laws, compile rules of behavior, to work together in larger groups in social life. Social groups must also help each other in this development because human progress is based on our ability to work together.

In social groups, humans also need affection, understanding, self-esteem, and recognition. Meanwhile, emotional responses like this can only be obtained when we relate and interact with other people in the order of social life.

In essence, a social group as Soerjono Soekanto (2014: 102) calls a set or unit of people who live together because of the relationship between them. This relationship, among other things, involves mutual influence and awareness to help each other.

Social Group Forming Factors


From human beings, there are three factors behind us forming a group:

  1. There is a shared belief in the importance of grouping and purpose.
  2. The expectations of the members.
  3. The ideology that binds the members.

Meanwhile, group formation or joining a person in a group is caused by similarities and closeness factors. Here are the details:

1. Similarity Factor 

The similarity factor among members means that it has become a habit when other people like to associate with other individuals who have similarities with themselves: whether it’s in terms of interests, beliefs, values, age, level of intelligence, to other personal characteristics.

2. Proximity Factor

Proximity factor, namely the proximity of the place of origin or place of residence. The closer geographic distance two people are, the more likely they are to see, talk, and socialize.

So, physical proximity can increase opportunities for interaction and joint activities. This allows the formation of social groups. In fact, when someone travels and meets people from the same area, they will feel that they have an inner bond even though they didn’t know each other at first.


Factors Driving Human Forming Social Groups


There are a number of factors that encourage humans to form or join a social group. The following are the driving factors:

1. The urge to sustain life

By joining or forming social groups, we are indirectly trying to survive. This is due to the needs of human life that cannot possibly be fulfilled by living alone.

Human relations will expand so that wherever you go you will always feel safe, with social groups.

2. The urge to continue the descent

All living things must have the same nature, namely to continue their descent. One can find each other’s partner through social groups. That way, this encouragement can be achieved.

3. Encouragement to increase work efficiency and effectiveness

As for what can be seen that currently humans are required to be able to do work effectively and efficiently in order to obtain maximum work results. The presence of social groups can increase both of these things.

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For example, work can be completed more quickly and the results can be better with the division of tasks.

Social Group Functions

One of the reasons individuals join groups is to benefit from the existence of certain groups. Social groups are formed so that their members can work together to meet the needs of life.

Following are the functions of social groups according to sociologists and individuals:

According to the Sociologist

Social groups can provide benefits for individuals, organizations, and society. According to Darwin Cartwright and Alwin Zander, the following are the functions of social groups:

  1. Bridging and coordinating social gaps that arise in groups. Cooperation is carried out by members to overcome social inequalities through intensive interaction and communication.
  2. Provide important information to group members. Members who receive information must convey it to other members so that group cohesiveness can be maintained.
  3. Growing and developing the work of members so that other works that are beneficial to society can emerge.
  4. Disseminate the work of group members to the community so that it benefits others.
  5. Give satisfaction in the form of material or immaterial to group members.
  6. Create clear goals to meet the needs of members. This clear goal will encourage the performance of the group members.

According to Individual

When someone joins a group, he is expected to live within the rules of the group. The group will direct its members to become the expected person.

At the same time, members will be given the opportunity to develop themselves according to their capacity. Through the group, someone is expected to be able to achieve the best quality.

Not only that, another role of the group is to accommodate the aspirations of community members. The reason is, everyone needs a place to express their aspirations and the group is expected to make it happen.

By Organization

Basically, a group is a collection of individuals who are in an organization. Members in the organization also depend on each other in carrying out their performance in a structured manner.

The function of a group can be positive or negative for the organization. Positively, social groups can enhance teamwork and group productivity in organizations. However, on the other hand, groups can have a negative impact if they limit the level of organizational productivity.

According to Society

For society, social groups have functions, both at simple and complex levels. This is because society consists of various forms of social groups. Community members can meet their needs with the existence of social groups.

Simultaneously, an individual can join in more than one social group with different roles, statuses, and positions. In this case, the individual may experience role conflict or even become an adaptable person.

Characteristics and Terms of Social Groups

Not everyone who gathers physically can be called a group. According to the book “Social Groups”, sociologists formulate the existence of a number of characteristics and conditions that indicate the existence of groups in society.

Apart from being understood by looking at the differences, we must also see the group through its internal structure as a whole system.

Characteristic features

Following are the characteristics of social groups according to Wila Hulky (2012: 99-100):

  1. At least two people
  2. Have intimate interaction and communication
  3. Group members influence each other
  4. The group is considered ended if the relationship in the minds of its members ends
  5. There is a transfer of culture from generation to generation
  6. Shared interests and interests form the color of the group
  7. The formation of groups can be based on various situations, namely situations that require humans to unite

There are also other opinions related to the characteristics of social groups according to Muzafir Sherif (Santoso, 1999:48), namely as follows:

  1. There is the same drive or motive in each individual until there is social interaction with each other and agree on a common goal
  2. There are different reactions and skills between one individual and another as a result of social interaction
  3. Formation and affirmation of a clear group structure, consisting of roles and positions that develop by themselves in order to achieve goals
  4. The presence of norms that govern the relationship between members of the group


We often see crowds of people in various places in life, such as at bus stops or ticket queues. However, it was not a social group despite being a collection of humans. There are certain criteria that must be met for a group of people called a social group.

The following are the requirements for social groups according to Soerjono Soekanto (2014: 99):

  1. There is awareness of every member of the group that he will be part of the group.
  2. There is a reciprocal relationship between one member and another
  3. The presence of certain similarities, such as background, fate, goals, or ideology which then creates a sense of solidarity among group members
  4. Rule, structured, and have a pattern
  5. Regeneration of social groups in order to maintain the sustainability of the group
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Multiple Membership in Social Groups

Each individual must be part of a particular social group. Not only being a member of a group, we will also generally join other groups. For example, children have playgroups, both at school and at home.

Various social groups continue to be created and increased in society because of the ease of formation and the process of joining. Each individual will not only be a member of one social group, but can also be part of another social group at will, such as in formal, informal, primary, secondary, and other groups.

The term multiple membership in the book “Social Groups” denotes individuals who belong to more than one social group. This is triggered when we are faced with a situation when we have to join a social group, but our current social group cannot answer the problem at hand.

For example, we have to work on assignments that are done in groups at school, so that the family group is not involved. Optionally, we can add to the group by forming or joining an existing group.

Meanwhile, dual membership also has consequences related to our activity level. The reason is, membership can hinder or actually accelerate social processes if it can fulfill every role we have to carry out.

Forms of Social Groups


In the midst of social groups humans live, starting from the family, community, school, to the work environment. Humans also interact intensively in their social groups. The following are the forms of social groups according to the book “Social Groups”:

1. Primary group

Primary group is a type of social group that has relatively few members, more intimate social relations, is familial, and has intensive social interaction. So, the orientation built by the primary group is the social relations within it.

2. Secondary Group

There is also a secondary group which is a large group consisting of many people, the relationship between its members does not need to be based on personal recognition, and its nature is not very lasting. For this reason, the closeness of its members is not so close and only temporary.

3. Formal Groups

Groups that have strict rules and are created intentionally by their members to regulate relationships between people are called formal groups or formal groups . The relationship system in this group is functional. Its formation is done for the sake of achieving certain goals, so formal groups have a clear work system.

4. Informal Groups

Informal groups have personal, close, and intimate relationships based on the system of relationships they build. Not only that, this group also does not have a specific organizational structure. Unofficial nature, not bound by certain legal rules. The orientation in it aims for common interests and is based on shared experience.

5. Reference Group

The reference group according to Paul B. Horton (1993: 221) is a group that becomes a reference when making an assessment or a group whose assessment is the same as our group. This group is able to influence behavior, attitudes, and personality.

6. Group Membership

Group membership or membership group is a group in which there are individuals who join as members of the group physically. To determine group membership , the main measure is the process of interaction within the social group.

7. In-Group Group

Social dynamics in social groups must occur and this can have an impact on the level of group solidarity. Social dynamics in some cases can increase the solidarity of the group. For example, a feeling of kinship within a person can increase the closeness between group members, and this is one indicator of the formation of an in-group .

In-group is a social group that is well identified by each member so that they consider the group as part of life.

8. Out-Group Group

The diversity of backgrounds that exist in Indonesia gives rise to very diverse social groups, for example groups based on religious backgrounds. Of course, every member of this social group is unlikely to join another religious group.

Sinaumed’s, another group that we cannot join because we belong to another group, for example in terms of religion, is called an out-group . Richard T. Schaefer, an American sociologist, calls out-groups a social group whose position is outside the individual, or we are not members of that group.


Social groups are of course very important, that’s why we also have to understand the factors that form social groups well. As social beings, we must belong to each other in groups and must learn from each other for closeness among group members and a better sense of solidarity.

To increase your knowledge, read more and do literacy activities. Today, there are so many books related to sociology and various other knowledge that are worth studying.

With , you can get the most up -to-date and high-quality books from the biggest online bookstore in Indonesia! To support Sinaumed’s in adding insight, sinaumedia always provides quality and original books so that Sinaumed’s has #MoreWithReading information.


Author: Sevilla Nouval Evanda

Digital book reference (Accessed 15 Dec 22):

  • Social Groups