2 Important Types of Groups Found in an Organisation

Family groups:

A family group has a dominant impact on organizational behaviour. The composition and quality of family members decides the behavioural pattern.

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Educated family members are more responsible and respectful to the organization. On the contrary, illiterate members have no behavioural culture to practise in the organization.

A family group is natural and informal and has a long lasting impact on organizational behaviour.

Friendship groups:

A friendship group has an informal impact. Friends of like mind gather together, enjoy themselves and communicate with each other.

If they are motivated with their attitudes and sentiments, they perform better in an organization.

Understanding of friendship groups becomes essential for effective motivation. Many problems are solved at the friendship level.

Functional groups:

Functional groups exist as per the nature of operation and function of the organization. This type of group is the outcome of specialties of structure and its functions.

The relationship between the supervisor and his subordinates is strengthened under this group. Functional groups consisting of superiors and their subordinates have become common in industrial organizations.

Their mutual understanding and relationship are deciding factors of behaviour. Interaction and interdependence of members is literally observed in functional groups.

Task groups:

Task groups or project groups represent those members of a group who work together to complete a task.

A task group, unlike a functional group, is not confined only to a superior and his subordinates, but extends beyond this to include the higher command authorities.

The group is formed not between two cadres, but includes all the cadres, which are associated with the task performance.

It is known as a project group because all the employees concerned the accomplishment and completion of the project are brought together.

In a factory the production manager, maintenance manager, safety engineer, supervisor and workers are brought closer to complete the construction of the plant.

A task or project group is a formal organization to achieve a particular objective. When the objects are achieved, the task group is dissolved.

Interest groups:

People with common interests form a group to serve their interests. Trade unions, labour groups and clubs are examples of interest groups.

If the interests of any member of the group are affected, all the members resort to pressure tactics to serve his interests.

For example, if any employee is punished, other employees go on strike to revoke the punishment of the employee.

They may also pressurize the management towards a common interest to be served. Many employees in organizations resort to strikes to have higher pay scales, healthy working conditions and other benefits.

These groups adopt ethical or non-ethical, legal or illegal practices to pressurize the management.

As a result, many organizations face problems of labour- interest. Interest groups may be formal or informal, depending upon the nature of interest.

Multiple unions are observed in Indian industries which have created obstacles to development on many occasions.

The management has to be very cautious about the interests of such groups in order to avoid any rifts, confusion and conflicts. In society too, interest groups are founded for political, social, cultural and religious purposes.

2. Groups based on formation and development:
People form groups on the basis of affiliation and attraction between them. The groups may be small or large, depending upon the reasons for formation and development. They may be primary and secondary groups, membership and reference groups, in and out groups and formal and informal groups.

Primary and secondary groups:

Primary groups are formed on the basis of social characteristics and individual perceptions.

Each person is able to communicate with others. A primary group is natural and has a spirit of comradeship, friendship and loyalty.

The best example of a primary group is the family. Initially, primary groupism was confined to social groups, but later on it was extended to business and industrial organizations.

Employees join together to arrive at a common platform for mutually achieving the objectives of an organization. Functional and task groups have been developed on the principles of primary groups.

Secondary groups are formed and developed with a formal structure, wherein one member is the leader and the others are followers.

Committees, trade unions and other such groups come under secondary groups. A secondary group develops on the basis of the exchange theory.

It assumes certain benefits to members, unlike a primary group where benefits are not primary objectives. Members of a secondary group join together to satisfy their socio-economic needs.

Membership and reference groups:

Membership groups actually assume membership of the group to which the members belong.

This type of group is a formal group. It necessitates the following of certain rules and regulations of registration, collecting fees from members and formulating a charter of demands.

It has a formal structure outlining specific roles and expected behaviour. The functions of the leader and followers are well defined.

A reference group is non-existent and informal. Employees try to be associated with this group, even though they are not attached directly to the group.

For example, non-member employees of a trade union identity themselves as part of the trade union.

In and out groups:

In groups are associations of similar-minded employees. They have a dominant place in society. In groups perform many social functions.

They are highly cohesive groups and can contribute greatly to development. They can go against the organization too, when they take a negative stand.

Out groups are associations of dissimilar employees. They are looked upon as subordinates or lower cadre employees having lower values in society. They are low cohesive groups.

Formal groups:

Formal groups have a formal structure and designated work assignment. The behaviour of employees is stipulated and directed towards goals.

Formal groups have designated formal organizational structure, expected roles and behaviour. The roles of superiors and subordinates are well defined.

Formal groups have formal functions and objectives. The activities of the group are guided by the leader and members.

Educated members have constructive roles to play in achievement of the group goals. Trade unions, committee managements and other recognized associations of employees are real examples of formal groups.

Trade unions in India have not played a very constructive role in socio-economic development. Recently, the unions have begun to realize their responsibilities and are attempting to develop their organizations.

A committee is a more useful formal group. The role of committees is increasing in organizations.

It is considered to be one of the more important forms of organizational set up, as discussed in the first chapter. It is used for discussing focal points, different viewpoints and information.

The number of committees depends on the nature and size of the organization. Significant viewpoints are exchanged to arrive at more useful decisions.

On the contrary, no officer or authority is blamed for unpleasant and strong decisions, because a committee’s decisions are not personal decisions.

They reflect the overall views of the committee. Committees are given specified duties and authority. Task forces and functional groups are operational in management.

Specialized jobs are assigned to expert committees for suggestions. Many organizations have formed permanent committees for separate functions, known as plural executive committees.

In this case, decisions are taken by more than a single executive. The committee may either consist of employees from the same or different cadre of the organization, as the need may be.

Informal groups:

Informal groups are associations of people who are neither formally structured nor organizationally determined.

These groups are natural formations. They have a formal recognition and designated work. Informal groups are not formal groups which have a formal structure and organization.

Formal groups prescribe goals and relationships, whereas informal groups do not have such prescriptions. Formal and informal groups coexist in any organization.

Informal groups are of different status, such as groups with leaders, primary group member status, and fringe status and out status.

They have their specific roles to play in an organization. Informal groups have some norms which are followed by members.

These norms become traditions of the group over a period of time. They have a specific role in the socio-economic development of people.

Informal groups have been developed in Indian organizations for achieving social benefits. For example, informal groups of members of the same district, state, caste and creed have been formed to meet their mutual, social and cultural problems.

They have been formed to celebrate social, religious and cultural functions. Informal groups have considerable functional and dysfunctional aspects of organization.

Many organizations find informal groups highly constructive and useful. Informal groups are therefore encouraged in all types of organizations.


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