UGC NET Study Notes on Types of Groups || Commerce || Management

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 14th, 2023

In a normal sense, groups can be defined as a number of people together at a given place at a given time. According to Marvin Shaw, ”A group is two or more persons who are interacting with one another in such a manner that each person influences and is influenced by each other person”.

Mainly groups are classified into Formal and Informal Groups.

Formal Groups: Formal groups are those groups that are defined by the structure of the organisation. They are deliberately and consciously created by the management for performing the assigned task and duties. They maybe permanent or temporary depending on the purpose for which it is formed.

Formal groups can be further classified into:

  • Command Groups: They are permanent and are specified in the organisation chart. They consist of superiors and subordinates who meet and discuss ideas to improve the product or service. A supervisor or a manager and their subordinates reporting to them form a command group.
  • Task Forces/Groups: They are also created by the organisation but are temporary in nature. It consists of a number of employees working together to accomplish a particular task or project.
  • Committees: Committees maybe setup for any particular function but they tend to be permanent in nature. For eg. Planning Committee, Budget Committee etc. They form an integral part of the organisation. A committee can also be temporary if they are formed for a specific purpose and can be disbanded once the purpose is done.

Informal Groups: Informal groups are neither organisationally determined nor formally structured. They are formed naturally in the work environment which appears in response to common interests of the members of the organisation.

They are spontaneously formed outside the formal sets of authority without any set of rigid rules. They have their own structure, their own leaders and followers, roles and working pattern. They also have their own unwritten code of conduct and is also highly flexible in nature. Types of Informal organisation are:

  • Interest and Friendship Groups: People with common interests or objective join together to form an interest group. Employees who group together to pressurise the management for increased transportation allowance is an example.

Friendship groups arise because the employees know each other very well before joining the organisation, and at the starting stages, they recognise each other only and not others in the organisation. This maybe due to similar age, cultural background or similar political views etc.

  • Cliques: This consist of people who commonly associate with each other and share certain social norms or standards. The number of people here tends to be smaller, normally around five to six. The aim of cliques is mutual recognition and also exchange information of mutual interest. M.Dalton identified 3 types of cliques:
    • Vertical Clique- Members here are people working in the same department regardless of their ranks. The superior maybe a member of a group consisting of his subordinates.
    • Horizontal Clique- Consists of people of more or less same ranks and in the same area. This is the most common type of informal group.
    • Random or Mixed Clique- This group draws members from different ranks, different departments or even different physical locations. Here also, people having some similarities come together for a common purpose.
  • Sub-Cliques: This consist of some members of a clique inside the organisation forming a group along with persons outside the organisation. These groups are considered as partially external to the organisation.
  • Sayles’ Classification of Groups–R. Sayles identified four kinds of groups based on pressure tactics adopted by the groups. They are:
    • Apathetic Groups – This group have very few grievances and very rarely uses pressure tactics. There is a lack of clearly defined leadership as no one ever emerged as an acceptable leader. These groups consist of low skilled and low paid assembly line workers.
    • Erratic Groups- These groups are characterised as having a lack of clarity in their behaviour. Sometimes they show opposition towards the organisation while on other occasions they maybe cooperative. It is highly difficult to predict their behaviour.
    • Strategic Groups- The members of this group are in a position to prepare a strategy to put pressure on other groups and on the management. The members of this group are in a better position than the members in the previous groups. They are highly united and actively participate in union activity.
    • Conservative Groups- This group consists of professionals and highly skilled employees of the plant. They are critical for the organisation and has the capacity to shut down the plant if so desire. They are cooperative to the organisation most of the time. They adopt an antagonistic attitude towards the management only when the group members together seek highly specific goals.

Thus, both formal and informal groups are necessary for the organisation. They are mutually dependant. If utilised properly, the informal groups can help in elevating the effectiveness of the formal groups.

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