Difference Between Formal and Informal Group

Difference between Formal group and informal group:

Difference between formal group


Formal Group

Informal Group

Formation  Legally constituted, rationally designed and consciously planned Emerges naturally and spontaneously
Existence Normally formal group does not arise because of informal group Informal group emerges while working in a formal group
Purpose  Well defined and centres around survival, growth, profit, service to society Well defined and centres around friendship, goodwill, unity and so on
Relationship Superior-subordinate relationship Personal and social relationship
Influenced by Rationally and leaves no scope for personal, social, and emotional factors. Personal, social, and emotional factors.
Leadership  Based on formal authority and position. Based on individual competence and group acceptance.
Communication Unity of command and line of authority followed. Pattern is grapevine, which is natural, haphazard and intricate.
Boundaries Operates within set boundaries. No bounds, operates in different directions.
Nature&Emphasis Normative and idealistic, emphasis no efficiency, discipline, conformity, consistency and control bring in rigidity and bureaucracy in process and practices. Reflects actual functioning, characterised by relative freedom, spontaneity, homeliness and warmth.

Characteristics of Informal Groups

1. Creation: It is not created by the organization but springs up spontaneously.

2. Leadership: Every informal group has a leader, selected by the group, and who is capable of helping to realize their goals. The moment it is realized that the leader is incapable, he replaced with a new leader.

3. System and Process: Members of such groups follow their own norms,leadership,communication, etc. to remain cohesive. The communication channels are referred to as ‘Grapevine’. Grapevine i.e., informal channel runs very fast to spread the information across the organization.

4. Voluntary membership: Nobody is compelled to join an informal organization.

5. Multi-group membership: A member of an informal group can be a member of more than one informal group to pursue different interests.

6. Satisfaction of needs: The needs which cannot be satisfied within the framework of formal organization,like social and psychological needs of people, such people create informal groups.