People

Difference between Formal and Informal Groups

Main Difference

Groups are an essential part of the social lives of people. In the organizations especially, we see different kinds of people linked together in order to form a group. Every organization has its own social system in which all the members are linked in a variety of different kinds of groups. Specifically discussing the organizations, there are two main types of groups, that are usually formed and can be seen in any of the organization all around the globe. No matter the organization is a large or small, usually these two basic kinds of groups can be seen in every kind of organization. One type of group is the formal group and the other is an informal group. But most of us are often confused about the actual difference between these two groups. Formal groups are the groups formed by the management or authority of the organization in order to achieve a common goal or accomplish any task. Formal groups can be both temporary and permanent in nature. Whereas Informal groups are formed among the people of common interest and agenda and do not involve the decision of management or authority.

Comparison Chart

Formal GroupsInformal Groups
About

Formal groups in an organization are the official groups created by the authority or the management to unite talented and competent individuals to work as a team and achieve a common organizational goal or to accomplish any task.

Informal groups in an organization are the unofficial groups created by the organization members on their own. Informal groups are for the members unite on some common agenda or interest. It has nothing to do with any specific organizations benefit.

Size

Formal groups can be large and even small totally depending on the task and purpose.

Informal groups are usually small but can be large in large organizations.

Duration

Formal groups are usually temporary in nature and are dissolved once the task is completed. In some cases, formal groups can be permanent also.

Informal groups are permanent most of the times. They are only dissolved due to any external pressure or any individual leaving on its own.

Relationship of members

The members in a formal group are colleagues mostly and are connected for work, no emotional attachment.

The members in the informal groups are close to each other as they link with each other due to common agenda and similarities. Friendship and strong emotional bonding can develop easily as well.

Communication

In the formal groups, a systematic way and mode of communication are used and followed by all members.

In the informal groups, the members communicate however they want to do on the basis of their own comfortability and convenience with other members.

Behavior of members

The behavior of members in the formal groups is totally professional. Every one follows the code of conduct established by the organization.

The behavior of members in the informal groups is totally based on the interest of the individuals and their own social personalities.

Authority

Formal groups are authorized groups developed and run by the management of the organization itself.

In the informal groups, the members choose their own leaders and the authority is completely among the members.

Supervision

Formal groups are supervised by the management officials or the heads appointment by the management. It is easy to manage members of the formal groups.

In the informal groups, it is quite difficult to manage and supervise individuals. Normally a unanimously chosen person is responsible and that too up to a minor extent.

Purpose

The basic purpose of formal groups is to make commitment individuals work together as a team and achieve the desired common goal of an organization. It can be done for accomplishing a temporary task as well.

Informal groups are usually formed by people with common interests. In various organizations, the purpose of informal groups could vary. One of the most widely seen purposes is of amusement and security of rights of members of the organization.

 

 Formal Groups

In an organization, formal groups are the official groups formed by the management and authority in order to accomplish a specific task or to achieve a common goal of the organization. In the formal groups, talented and competent individuals are made to work together as a team to accomplish the task assigned by the top officials or management. Formal groups are easy to supervise and control as compared to the informal groups. The member of the formal groups interacts and communicate via the directional hierarchy communication system established by the organization. All the members are bound to follow the rules and work according to the code of conduct determined by the authority of the organization.  Members in the formal groups are totally professional with each other whenever it comes to any sort of meetings and discussions.

Informal Groups

Informal groups in an organization are the unofficial groups created by the organization members on their own. Informal groups are for the members unite on some common agenda or interest. It has nothing to do with any specific organizations benefit. Informal groups are permanent most of the times. They are only dissolved due to any external pressure or any individual leaving on its own. Informal groups are usually small but can be large in large organizations. Informal groups are usually formed by people with common interests. In various organizations, the purpose of informal groups could vary. One of the most widely seen purposes is of amusement and security of rights of members of the organization.

Key Differences

  • Formal groups are created by the authority or management of the organization.
  • Informal groups are created by the members of the organization on their own.
  • Formal groups are created to achieve a common organizational target or goal.
  • Informal groups are created in order to facilitate the common interest of the members
  • Formal groups are supervised by the top level management officials.
  • Informal groups are supervised by any member by unanimous decision of members.
  • Formal group members communicate according to the defined rules and code of conduct.
  • Informal group members are emotionally linked with each other unlike professional linking in the formal groups.

 Video Explanation

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