This group has developed recently Hyman used it in 1942 in his book "Psychology of status". Man a social being, belongs to many groups and wants to belong to some other groups for which he tries to follow the rules and norms of that particular group so that he too may be identified as a member of that group – this group is reference group. R.K.Murton, Newcomb, Turner, Johnson, Sherieff & Sherieff also used the term 'ref group'. Thinking broadly we find only two kinds of groups (1) Membership group and (2) Reference group.
Sherieff & Sheriff – "Reference group is the group to which an individual relates himself or aspires to relate himself psychologically".
H.M. Johnson – "A reference group is based on the psychological association of a person or group to other group".
R.K. Murton – "Man act in social frame of reference provided by which they are member, they may or may not belong to that group but psychologically attached towards that group". He pays focus to structure function to the social environment in which they are located. People takes the standard of signifying others as self appraisal. He uses the term 'Marginal Man'. While discussing reference group i.e. the person who belongs to the reference group and he wants to relate to the reference group. He imitates the reference group in every manner but he is a member of the reference group but since he is so much like the reference group that he is considered out of the reference group and therefore he is left nowhere and has to go through a lot of tension. He wants to be a member of the reference group to raise his status a position in his group i.e. he aspires to that group – 'Relative deprivation' is another term he uses. When a man feels deprived within his group and so he wants to refer to another group to get emotional satisfaction. (he feels his views and wants are not paid attention to – he thinks the other group may be sympathetic and thus gives his emotional support). Norms too is important for reference group. Every group has its own rules, norms, regulations and procedures. This man follows the rules and regulations of his own group as well as that of the other group. The terms 'Westernization', Sanskritization are used by Srinivas A Kshatriya – if he wants to become a Brahmin – he imitates the Brahmin group and wants to be considered are – this is sanskritization (all this is as an example for reference group). Ionization - Indians try to imitate the English and thus the English become the reference group.
Turner describes reference group as role taking process i.e. our changes one's role according to the group from which he wants to identify himself psychologically (Turner is in reference to ionization).
Newcomb – Explains 2 types of reference group (1) +ve & (2) –ve. 1. Positive – the group with which we want to identify myself to raise my status, position and to have my emotional satisfaction. I am positively related to that group. 2. Negative – the group I belong to the –ve group for the +ve group.
H.Hymen – "There are some particular individuals in society whose standards or values become the ideal for the other people and are imitated by them". (He stresses on reference group behavior). In general a reference group is one which an individual perceives as holding interests, attitudes and valves in common. He takes that group as a basis for self evaluation. A attitude formation.
Murton – There are 3 criteria for the formation of reference group.