Define groups and state the types of groups. Also outline the functions of informal groups.

What is a group?

Two or more interacting and interdependent individuals who come together to achieve particular goals. Groups can either be formal or informal.

Formal groups

Are work groups established by the organization that have designated work assignments and specific tasks. Appropriate behaviours are established by and directed towards organizational goals.

Informal Groups

These are social groups that occur naturally in the workplace in response to the need for social contact. They tend to form around friendships and common interest.

Types of Formal Groups

Command Group – these are the basic, traditional work groups determined by formal authority relationships and depicted on the organisational chart. They typically include a manager and those employees who report directly to him or her.

Cross Functional Teams – these bring together the knowledge and skills of individuals from various work areas, in order to come up with solutions to operational problems. They also include groups whose members have been trained to do each other’s jobs.

Self Managed Teams – these are essentially independent groups that, in addition to doing their operating jobs take on traditional management responsibilities such as hiring, planning and scheduling and performance evaluations.

Task Forces – these are temporary groups created to accomplish a specific task. Once the task is complete the group is absorbed.

Functions of Informal Groups

They maintain and strengthen the norms (expected behaviour) and values their members hold in common. They give members feelings of social satisfaction, status and security

They help their members communicate through developing informal channels of communication – grapevine. They help solve problems at shop floor level.


Susmita Sah
Jan 13, 2022
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