Types of Groups – Formal and Informal Group | Group Behavior and Team Development

Types of Groups

A group is a collection of two or more people who work together to accomplish a specific goal. Groups are aggregations of people who interact with each other, are aware of each other, share a common objective, and perceive themselves as a group. A collection of individuals does not constitute a group. Groups are collections of individuals or things with something in common or gathered together for a specific purpose. Social, educational, professional, and recreational groups can be formed for a variety of reasons. It can be formal or informal, large or small, organized or unorganized. A group can be a club, a team, a committee, an organization, or a family.

It’s also possible to classify groups according to their structure, such as formal or informal. Corporations or government agencies are formal groups with defined structures and rules. A group of friends hanging out has no formal rules or regulations, whereas an informal group has a more relaxed structure.

Depending on their purpose, groups can also be classified. A book club or a knitting group, for example, is formed to socialize and build relationships. A study group or a language class is an educational group formed to learn and gain knowledge. The purpose of professional groups is to advance one’s career, such as networking groups or trade associations. The purpose of recreational groups is to engage in leisure activities, such as hiking clubs or gaming clubs.

By providing support, encouragement, and a sense of belonging, groups can benefit individuals. As well as teaching skills, gaining new perspectives, and making lasting connections, they can also help you learn new things. The negative effects of groups, such as groupthink, where members conform to the majority’s opinions instead of thinking for themselves, can also occur. The benefits of groups can be numerous and play an important role in our lives. A group can bring people together and accomplish great things, whether it is a small group of friends or a large organization.

Types of groups can mainly be classified in two ways: formal and informal.

Below is a list of various types of formal and informal groups:

A) Formal Groups

A) Formal Groups

Groups that are established by an organization for the purpose of achieving its goals are called formal groups. The behavior that a member should exhibit in formal groups is based on the organization’s objectives.

Formal Groups in Sociology

The term ‘formal groups’ refers to groups with specific roles, rules, and goals that are organized and structured. It is usually recognized by the larger society that these groups exist for a specific purpose. A formal group can be a corporation, a government agency, or a religious organization.

A formal group differs from an informal group, which is usually formed spontaneously and is not officially recognized by society. Families and friends are examples of informal groups. Social scientists often study formal groups to understand how people interact and how they are influenced by their rules and norms in a structured environment. As well as providing insight into the distribution of power and authority within the group, they also reveal how decisions are made.

Individuals and society as a whole can also be affected by formal groups. The economy and environment may be significantly impacted by a corporation, whereas public policy may be significantly impacted by a government agency. It is important for sociologists to study formal groups because they play an important role in shaping social interactions.

What is formal group in organisational Behaviour

Groups with a specific purpose, structure, and set of rules are formal groups, which are established by an organization’s management. A group like this is usually formed to accomplish a specific task or goal within the organization, such as to improve productivity, communication, or to address a specific issue. Teams, committees, and departments are examples of formal groups in an organization.

An organization’s hierarchy and chain of command are usually determined by a designated leader, such as a manager or supervisor. Managers closely monitor and evaluate the actions and decisions of the members of a formal group and assign them specific roles and responsibilities.

Examples of Formal Groups 

Examples of formal groups are:

  1. Command Group
  2. Task Group
  3. Project Group
  4. Committees

a) Command Group 

a) Command Group 

The command group is made up of a supervisor (manager) and subordinates who report directly to the supervisor. The organizational chart determines the command group. The Head of the Department of Business Administration of XYZ University, e.g., and other faculty members in the department would constitute a command group.

Command group in organizational Behavior

Command groups are types of organizations that follow rules and procedures closely and have a clear hierarchy of authority. In these groups, decision-making and order-giving are typically delegated to a designated leader. A command group can be found in a military unit, a police department, or a large corporation. Their efficiency and ability to respond quickly to changes in the environment are well known, but they can also be criticized for their lack of creativity and flexibility.

What are command groups also known as?

Command groups are also known as:
  • Formal groups: These groups are established by an organization for a specific purpose and have a defined structure and hierarchy of authority.
  • Top-down groups: This refers to the hierarchical structure of command groups, where decisions are made by the top-level leadership and communicated to lower-level members.
  • Bureaucratic groups: These groups are characterized by their strict adherence to rules and procedures, and often have a large number of formalized regulations and procedures.
  • Hierarchical groups: This refers to the hierarchical structure of command groups, where there are different levels of authority and decision-making power within the group.
  • Authoritarian groups: These groups have a strong central leader who makes most of the decisions and has a high degree of control over the group’s activities.

What is command group in group dynamics?

An authority group is one that follows rules and procedures and is characterized by a clear hierarchy of authority. Leaders make decisions and give orders to other members of a group. Group rules and procedures should be adhered to by other members in order to follow the leader’s commands.
Instead of building relationships or fostering group cohesion, the group focuses on achieving specific goals and completing tasks. Large corporations, military units, police departments, and police departments often employ command groups for their structure and control.

Command Group Example

Examples of Command Groups
Military Units
Police Departments
Corporate Departments (e.g. Sales, Marketing, Operations)
Hospitals
Manufacturing Plants
Construction Crews
Government Agencies
Emergency Response Teams
Airline Crews

Note: The examples above are just a few examples, there are many other types of organizations and groups that fall under the command group category.

b) Task Group 

b) Task Group 

A task group is a group of individuals working together to accomplish a common goal. Task groups can, however, cross command lines. As an example, if a student is accused of a campus crime, the responsible parties may include the Head of the Department, the Dean of the school, the Dean of the student’s welfare, and the Proctor and Registrar of the University. It is important to note here that all command groups are task groups, but task groups may cross organizational boundaries. This need not be the case in reverse.

Task group in Organizational Behavior

Groups of individuals working together to accomplish a specific task or goal are called task groups in organizational behavior. It is possible to form these groups within an organization for a short or long time period, and they can either be formal or informal. Often, task groups are formed to accomplish specific tasks or projects, such as developing new products, improving processes, or solving problems.

As a result of the diversity of skills, experiences, and perspectives in task groups, diverse perspectives and ideas can emerge. The diversity of task groups can improve creativity and decision-making by leading to better solutions. As individuals may have different goals and priorities, it can also create conflicts and challenges. It is common for task groups to have a clear leader or facilitator, who guides the group’s work and keeps it on track. It is also the leader’s responsibility to resolve conflicts and make sure the group’s goals are met.

In order to achieve specific goals and improve performance, task groups can be a powerful tool for organizations. When not managed properly, they can also cause stress and conflict. Task groups can achieve their goals more effectively if they communicate effectively, define their goals and roles, and receive regular feedback and evaluation.

What is a task group in group counseling?

Task groups in group counseling are small groups of individuals who come together for a particular purpose or goal related to personal growth and development. Mental health, addiction, or relationship issues are usually the topics of these groups, which are led by trained counselors or therapists.

The purpose of task groups in group counseling is to provide a safe and supportive environment where people can discuss their experiences, feelings, and thoughts. It is in a group setting where individuals can gain new perspectives and learn how to solve problems together that they can learn from one another. It is common for task groups in group counseling to meet on a regular basis, whether they are short-term or long-term. Group leaders or therapists will lead activities and discussions, providing support and guidance as necessary.

In group counseling, task groups can be a valuable therapy tool for many people. It can help individuals feel less isolated and alone since they provide a sense of belonging and community. In addition to empowering individuals, they can also help them heal by providing them with the knowledge and experience of others who have been through similar experiences. Group counseling task groups are a powerful tool for personal growth and development. Mental health and well-being can be improved by sharing struggles and learning from others in these environments.

c) Project Group

c) Project Group

In the same way, project groups are formed to complete a specific project. Project groups normally last for the duration of the project. An example of a project group is the University Grants Commission awarding a research project to a professor. Groups of individuals within an organization that work together on a specific task or project are called project groups. Individuals with different skills and expertise are typically included in these groups, which are formed to address a specific need or goal.

Group managers or designated leaders coordinate group efforts and ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget by leading the group. Individuals from different departments or parts of the organization may also be included in the group, as well as members from different levels of the organization, such as managers, supervisors, and front-line employees. By fostering collaboration and teamwork among employees, project groups assist organizations in reaching specific goals and objectives.

Project Group Example

Project Group NameProject ObjectiveGroup LeaderGroup Members
Product DevelopmentDevelop and launch new productProduct ManagerR&D team, Marketing team, Sales team
IT Infrastructure UpgradeUpgrade and modernize IT infrastructureIT ManagerIT Operations team, Networking team, Security team
Customer Service ImprovementImprove overall customer service experienceCustomer Service ManagerCustomer Service Representatives, Training team, Quality Assurance team
Cost ReductionIdentify and implement cost-saving measuresFinancial AnalystAccounting team, Procurement team, Operations team
Employee EngagementIncrease employee engagement and satisfactionHR ManagerEmployee Representatives, Management team, Training team
Green InitiativeImplement sustainable practices and reduce environmental impactSustainability CoordinatorOperations team, Procurement team, Marketing team

d) Committees 

d) Committees 

In order to solve recurring problems, committees are usually formed outside the typical command group structure. These committees may be relatively short-lived or quite long-lived. Committees help solve discipline problems related to examinations, for example, the Examination Discipline Committee at a university.

Committees in an Organization

  • Human Resources Committee: Managing and developing the organization’s human resources is the responsibility of this committee. Employee recruitment, hiring, training, and compensation are all handled by this department.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Committee: Diverse and inclusive practices are promoted within the organization by this committee. A diverse and inclusive workplace culture is supported by policies and programs created and implemented by this department.
  • Safety and Health Committee: In this committee, employees are responsible for ensuring a safe and healthy work environment. To prevent accidents and illnesses, it develops policies and procedures and promotes a safety culture.
  • Performance Management Committee: The purpose of this committee is to manage the performance of employees within the organization. As part of its responsibilities, it provides employees with feedback and coaching, as well as evaluating their performance.
  • Employee Engagement Committee: An employee engagement committee is responsible for increasing employee engagement in the organization. Programs and activities are developed and implemented to promote employee involvement, participation, and commitment.
  • Ethics and Compliance Committee: To ensure ethical compliance and legal compliance, this committee oversees the organization’s policies, procedures, and practices. An ethical culture is promoted within the organization through the creation and implementation of policies and procedures.

B) Informal Groups

B) Informal Groups

Informal groups are those that are not formal. These are the groups that are neither formalized nor formally controlled by the organization. As a response to the need for social contact, these groups form naturally in the work environment. An informal group consists of four employees from four different departments taking lunch together. Informal groups can be divided into the following categories:

  1. Friendship Group
  2. Interest Group
  3. Reference Group

a) Friendship Groups 

a) Friendship Groups 

An association of people who like each other and enjoy spending time together is a friendship group. A group is formed when its members share one or more characteristics, such as a common ethnic heritage, political beliefs, religious values, or other shared characteristics. Friendship groups within informal groups are formed by individuals who have bonded as a result of their personal or professional connections. It is common for this type of group to form organically through sharing common interests, values, or experiences rather than being officially recognized by the organization. It is possible to find friendship groups in businesses, schools, and non-profit organizations.

The dynamics and culture of an organization can be influenced by friendship groups within informal groups. As well as providing support and a sense of belonging, they can also create cliques and exclude others. Depending on group membership, they can also influence communication and decision-making within the group.

Friendship group in Organisational Behaviour

An informal social network formed within an organization is referred to as a friendship group in organizational behavior. Employees who form these groups often share a common interest, value, or experience, as well as a professional connection. Organizations can be impacted by their culture and dynamics in a significant way.

An organization can benefit from friendship groups in the following ways:

  • Motivation and morale of employees have been improved
  • Collaboration and productivity increased
  • Employees who feel a sense of belonging
  • Providing employees with support and a sense of belonging

The negative effects of friendship groups, however, include:

  • Exclusion and cliques
  • Organizational communication and decision-making
  • Lack of diversity and favoritism
  • Organizational culture may be negatively affected

In order to foster an inclusive culture that values diversity and encourages open communication, managers and leaders need to be aware of how friendship groups form within their organizations. Employees should be encouraged to interact with others outside their friendship groups through team-building activities, clear communication channels, and team-building exercises. In order to maintain a positive and inclusive organizational culture, they are also responsible for addressing any issues arising from friendship groups.

b) Interest Groups 

b) Interest Groups 

A group of individuals may belong to the same organization (command group or task group), but their interest in a particular issue binds them together. An example of an interest group would be a group of university professors who organize a seminar on socio-economic problems in the North-Eastern region of India.

c) Reference Group

c) Reference Group

Referencing is a special type of informal group that people use to evaluate themselves. A reference group need not be a real group that meets regularly; it can be an imaginary group. Those scholars in the same discipline at other universities may be the reference group for a new lecturer at a university.

Group FAQs

Identify the informal group from below

a)Friendship Groups
b) Task Group
c) Project Group
d) Committees

The Correct Answer for the given question is Option a)Friendship Groups.

Which best describes what social interest groups generally promote?

A) state religion
B) financial support for charities
C) international development
D) causes and values

The Correct Answer for the given question is Option D) causes and values 

Which best describes what economic interest groups generally support?  

a) tax reform
b) government subsidies
c) business interests
d) international trade

The Correct Answer for the given question is Option c) business interests

Why is it important for interest groups to offer selective benefits?

a) It is necessary to limit the extent of the free-rider problem.
b) It is not necessary to limit the extent of the free-rider problem.
c) Both
d) None of the Above

The Correct Answer for the given question is Option a) It is necessary to limit the extent of the free-rider problem. 

Which one of the following political interest groups falls into the organized labor category?  

A. National Education Association
B. National Audubon Society
C. National Broadcasting Corporation
D. National Rifle Association

The Correct Answer for the given question is Option A. National Education Association

People Also Ask

How do formal groups control the behaviour of members?

How do formal groups control the behaviour of members?

Formal group can control the behaviour of their members through a number of mechanisms. First, formal groups often have rules and regulations that members must abide by. This can include rules about how members dress, what they can say publicly, and how they must vote. Second, informal networks often rely on social norms to regulate behaviour. In other words, members know what is considered acceptable or unacceptable behaviour and adhere to it out of fear of social disapproval.

Third, formal groups often have Leaders who can enforce rules and punish disobedient members. Finally, formal groups often use rewards and punishments to influence the behaviour of their members. For example, leaders may give members rewards for following the group’s rules and punishments for breaking them.

What are formal groups on business communication?

What are formal groups on business communication?

Formal groups on business communication are typically composed of managers and employees who have a mutual interest in improving communication within their organization. The members of the group typically meet regularly to discuss issues and brainstorm solutions. The goal is to create a culture of cooperation and communication within the organization.

Some common types of formal groups include cross-functional teams, strategic planning teams, performance review committees, and team development councils. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, but all aim to improve communication within an organization. It’s important to choose the right type of group for the situation and make sure everyone is on board with the goals, lest the effort be fruitless.

Why are both formal and informal groups important to organization?

Why are both formal and informal groups important to organization?

Formal and informal groups are important to organizations for a number of reasons. Formal groups allow for the sharing of ideas and the exchange of information, which can help improve the organization’s performance. Informal groups, on the other hand, allow for the sharing of emotions and feelings, which can lead to better cooperation among members. Both types of groups have their advantages and disadvantages, but each has its own role to play in an organization.

Is family a formal or informal group?

Is family a formal or informal group?

Family is often considered to be either a formal or informal group. Formal family structures involve marriage, children and extended family members. Informal family structures are less formal and may include friends, relatives and roommates. There are pros and cons to both types of families. Formal families have advantages such as stability, which can be beneficial for children.

However, they can also be difficult for children to break away from if they wish to explore their own interests. Informal families can provide more flexibility for children in terms of their social life and opportunities, but may not offer the same level of support or security as a formal family structure. It is important to consider the individual needs of each child when making decisions about how best to structure their family.

Why is church a formal group?

Why is church a formal group?

Church is a formal group due to its origins in the Middle Ages. At the time, people felt that it was necessary to have a structure and organization in order to follow Christ. Churches were originally built as places of worship for the wealthy, and as such, they tended to be very formal. Today, churches remain formal groups, but they have evolved into much more than just places of worship. Churches offer socialization opportunities, support systems and a place to connect with others who share similar beliefs.

Is a sports team a formal or informal group?

Is a sports team a formal or informal group?

Most people think of sports teams as informal groups that are made up of friends. While this is partially true, sports teams are formally organized groups with clear roles and responsibilities. This structure helps the team to be successful and achieve its goals. When first forming a team, the most important thing to do is create a core group of players who can work well together and be supportive of one another. This group should consist of people who have similar interests, personality traits, and skills. Once this core group is established, it is important to create a league or competition in which the team can compete.

League play is important because it helps to develop teamwork and communication skills. It also allows the team to test how well they are performing against other teams. After league play has been completed, the team can focus on tournaments where they can show their best performance.

Why informal groups are formed?

Informal groups are formed for a variety of reasons. Sometimes people are just looking for a casual conversation, while other times they want to share ideas and collaborate. Regardless of the reason, these groups can be valuable resources for individuals. Here are four reasons why informal groups are so important:

  • They offer opportunities for socializing and networking.
  • They can provide insights and perspectives that would be difficult to obtain from more formal sources.
  • They allow people to work on projects together that they might not be able to pursue on their own.

What are the benefits of informal group?

Informal groups provide a number of benefits that can be useful in both personal and professional life. They offer an opportunity to share thoughts and experiences, build relationships, and learn from others. Additionally, informal groups can provide support when it is needed most. For example, they can be helpful during times of stress or when coping with a difficult situation. Finally, informal groups can also be a source of inspiration and motivation.

How do informal groups affect organizations?

Informal groups can have a great impact on organizations. They can help to create a sense of community, which can encourage employees to work harder and be more productive. Additionally, informal groups can provide employees with an opportunity to voice their concerns and ideas. However, informal groups can also have negative effects on organizations. For example, they can lead to conflicts and disagreements, which can lead to dysfunction within the organization.

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