Types of Groups:Formal and Informal

Types of Groups

One way to classify the groups is by way of formality- Formal and Informal. While formal groups are established by an organization to achieve its goals, Informal groups merge spontaneously. Formal groups may take the formal of command groups, task groups, friendship groups, reference groups.

Formal Groups

1. Command Group:

Command group are specified by the organizational chart and often consist of a supervisor and the subordinates that report to that supervisor. An example of a command group is a market research firm CEO and the research associates under him.

2. Task Group:

Task group consist of people who work together to achieve a common task. Members are brought together to accomplish a narrow range of goals within a specified time period. Task group are also commonly referred to as task forces. The organization appoints members and assigns the goals and tasks to be accomplished.Examples of assigned tasks are the development of a new product, the improvement of a production process, or designing the syllabus under semester system. Other common task group are ad hoc committees, project group, and standing committees. Ad hoc committees are temporary group created to resolve a specific complaint or develop a process are normally disbanded after the group completes the assigned task.

3. Functional Group:

A functional group is created by the organization to accomplish specific goals within an unspecified time frame. Functional group remain in existence after achievement of current goals and objectives. Examples of functional group would be a marketing department, a customer service department, or an accounting department.

In contrast to formal group, informal group are formed naturally and in response to the common interests and shared values of individuals. They are created for purposes other than the accomplishment of organizational goals and do not have a specified time frame. Informal group are not appointed by the organization and members can invite others to join from time to time.

Informal group can have a strong influence in organizations that can either be positive or negative. For example, employees who form an informal group can either discuss how to improve a production process or how to create shortcuts that jeopardize quality. Informal group can take the form of interest group, friendship group, or reference group.

Informal Group

1. Interest Group:

Interest group usually continue over time and may last longer than general informal groups. Members of interest group may not be part of the same organizational department but they are bound together by some other common interest. The goals and objectives of group interests are specific to each group and may not be related to organizational goals and objectives. An example of an interest group would be students who come together to form a study group for a specific class.

2. Friendship Group:

Friendship groups are formed by members who enjoy similar social activities, political beliefs, religious values, or other common bonds. Members enjoy each other’s company and often meet after work to participate in these activities. For example, a group of employees who form a friendship group may have a yoga group, a Rajasthani association in Delhi, or a kitty party lunch once a month.

3. Reference Group:

A reference group is a type of group that people use to evaluate themselves. The main objectives of reference groups are to seek social validation and social comparison. Social validation allows individuals to justify their attitudes and values while social comparison helps individuals evaluate their own actions by comparing themselves to others. Reference group have a strong influence on members’ behavior. Such groups are formed voluntarily. Family, friends, and religious affiliations are strong reference groups for most individuals.