A group plays a very important role in the development of an individual’s personality. A group is formed when two or more people come together as they may possess some common characteristics, for example, they may speak the same language or belong to the same community. While most groups come together out of a common purpose or goal, some groups get formed coincidentally.
Given that man is a social being who cannot do without interaction and communication with his fellow human beings, it is only natural that a person belongs to several groups at any given time. Thus formations of groups makes man realize not only his full potential but also achieve what is best for everyone and this leads to development of society.
While some groups work towards improvement and positive change for all, others engage in destructive activities. When there are many groups, they may have conflicting interests. It is when these groups attain extreme positions and are willing to sacrifice common and national good for fulfilling their own selfish interests that it culminates into social chaos. Such imbalances lead to violence and aggression for example, communal tension, linguistic riots, regional strife and even terrorist activities.
To mention a few causative factors for intergroup conflicts, there are the stereotypes where a person is slotted as belonging to a certain category about which there are fixed perceptions and mistaken ideas. For example, an urban dweller may look at a person coming from rural areas as lacking in education and sophistication. A religious person may be skeptical about ideas and practices of people belonging to other religions. Also one often distinguish between ‘in-groups’( ‘my friends’, ‘my family’, ‘my country’) and the ‘out-groups’( ‘his friends’, ‘their family’ ). It is when these feelings are motivated and encouraged aggressively that it affects the harmony of society.
Furthermore groups, as a whole, may suffer from superiority or inferiority complex and be made intensively aware of inequalities through discrimination. For example, certain positions in a business organization may be held by male candidates only. There may also be differences in political and philosophical leanings of an individual. Some or all of these become reasons for inter-group conflicts.