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Why do people join groups?
- Security. Standing alone is an unsafe position. In groups, people feel stronger, are more confident and, consequently, more resistant to threats.
- Power. There is power in numbers. Power gives security and it provides the means to achieve.
- Goal achievement. Sometimes you can't accomplish something by yourself, but you can with others. You need to pool resources, talent, knowledge and power. Moreover, the additional hands means you can work faster (at some things). See SuperordinateGoal.
- Affiliation. Groups are social entities, so they fulfil social needs. For most people, working with others provides the daily interaction so necessary to their lives.
- Status. Belonging to a highly respected group confers status onto its members.
- Self-Esteem. Belonging to a group gives you a higher sense of self-worth because you personally feel of higher status, independently of outside forces.
There's also the negative notion of manipulative power. People sometimes join (or form) groups in order to exert manipulative power over the group. Unless group membership is compulsive, though, you can't really blame the other members all that much for allowing themselves to be manipulated.