Informal and formal group is Formal and informal social groups: entities, dynamics and features

Informal and formal group is Formal and informal social groups: entities, dynamics and features
Informal and formal group is Formal and informal social groups: entities, dynamics and features

Regularly communicating and constantly interacting with each other community is called a group. There is no place on earth where this phenomenon does not exist. People everywhere create a certain plan of community, which can be divided into formal and informal groups. Within each such community there should be two or more people, and the influence of all of them on each other should be mutual.


A formal group is a small separate team created by a purely management and purposefully in a general team, which is aimed at organizing the production process. That is, it is an organization with certain functions, specific tasks and clearly defined goals. Unlike formal groups, informal groups arise spontaneously and have no status.

The organization itself and each of its divisions are also groups whose members have common values, attitudes, rules,behavior standards. If employees value their organization, they behave appropriately. This means that a formal group is a community, held together by an understanding of a behavioral norm. The internal communications of each organization are also formed into groups - both formal, that is, created by the head and documented, and informal, which have developed spontaneously through interpersonal relations and are not officially indicated anywhere.

the formal group is

Main differences

According to the criteria of difference, the following analysis can be carried out. A formal group is one that was created by an organization purely for its needs, its behavioral traits can be influenced by a certain position in the job description, and the influence itself extends only from top to bottom. The characteristics of the group are clearly defined by the use of official channels, even interpersonal relationships are prescribed by the organization, and the leader is appointed by the will of the superiors.

Informal groups arise spontaneously, goals satisfy needs purely within the group, individuals influence each other, and not from top to bottom, but more often vice versa. Characteristics are unstable, variable, relationships arise spontaneously, the leader, if he appears, is only by the will of the group itself. That is, formal and informal groups differ from each other in almost all respects.

formal and informal groups


Before determining the type of group, it is necessary to find out on what foundation this community is built: friendly relations orproduction. In any case, the basis for the creation of any group is the organization. A formal group can belong to one of three types:

  • Steering group: the main leader and his closest subordinates, also leaders. For example, the president and vice presidents.
  • Working group (or production or target group): people who perform the same task, planning it independently rather than collectively.
  • Committee or public organization: an intra-organizational group that makes decisions by a general meeting, since it was created to coordinate the actions of various departments. There are committees that work on a permanent basis, and created to perform a specific task, that is, temporary


A formal organization created by the will of the authorities is also a social environment for all kinds of interaction between people, and not always according to the instructions of the leadership. Such social relationships sometimes give rise to numerous friendly groups within the general one, but on the whole they represent one organization. Formal and informal social groups also have their similarities and differences.

Every person in the community necessarily influences others and is influenced in the process of communication - both positive and negative. This is how the personality traits of each member of the group and the behavioral norms within this community are formed. An individual can influence the entire group as much as he likes, it depends on the authority, which is determined andthe unofficial part of the team, and the official one.

organization formal group

Purposes of Creation

Community formed within an organization is people interacting spontaneously for certain common goals, and created for production has a well-thought-out plan. However, formal and informal groups in an organization are similar in many ways. And there, and there can be tasks, leaders appear and a hierarchy is built.

The difference is that informal groups are an unintentional reaction to any individual needs unsatisfied by the organization, while formal ones are created according to a certain plan.

The purpose of a formal group is also clear and understandable: people join it for the sake of professional interest, prestige or income. The reason for the emergence of an informal group is usually more "spiritual": it is close communication and interest, common interests, mutual protection, mutual assistance, and so on.

formal group structure

Reasons for joining

First of all, the reason for joining formal and informal groups is the social need to belong to it. This is how self-knowledge, self-affirmation, self-determination is acquired, needs are activated, and an environment for their satisfaction is created. In second place is the reason for seeking trust and mutual assistance. In case of any difficulties, people turn to colleagues rather than to managers. With such relationships, a synergistic effect of group interaction appears. The purpose of the formal group is he althya workable team, and therefore the creation of informal groups is usually monitored by the leader, if necessary, relations in them are regulated.

To protect personal or group interests, such as harmful conditions, problems with wages, and so on, the group is also most often contacted. Informal relationships in a formal group usually contribute to the cohesion of the team. Often the basis of communication in groups is a common interest, the same hobbies, shared spiritual values, as well as obtaining information of various kinds, not necessarily only industrial. And, of course, a huge role in the creation of the group is played by friendly communication, mutual sympathy. In this way, people can avoid loneliness, feelings of uselessness, loss, and also receive moral help in cases of personal dramas.

formal and informal groups in an organization


In informal organizations there is always social control over all members of the group. First of all, it is the strengthening of behavioral norms. If changes in the team threaten a peaceful existence, that is, common interests, positive emotions or common communication experience suffer, then the informal group will actively resist all formal formations of the organization.

Any structure of a formal group and any unstructured informal one can have a leader. The formal leader will have official powers, while the informal leader will have authority in the team. In the case of a struggle of priorities, it is difficult to predict the winner, since the stake on people and the presence of good relationshipsalmost more expensive than any official status. Smart leaders understand this and direct the energy of the informal group in the right direction, usually production.

Informal group management

All group formations within the team necessarily interact, and dynamically. The general emotional mood greatly affects both the interaction and the fulfillment of the tasks facing the team. The effectiveness of a formal group depends entirely on the mood of informal groups. Therefore, their rapprochement is the main goal of any leader, so negative manifestations in the relations of team members to each other will disappear, "informals" will be positively oriented, they will easily fit into the public production space.

Team cohesion is the result of the coincidence of interests of formal and informal groups, it is in such conditions that labor productivity is the highest. On the contrary, if interests, rules and norms do not coincide, even an authoritative leader will find himself in a difficult position, the struggle between the structures of the team always hinders the growth of productivity. Informal relationships can help here, for this, personnel management techniques are created.

formal and informal social groups

Shaping mechanisms

If formal groups are created according to plan, informal ones always organize themselves. Sometimes it also happens that an informal group receives the status of an amateur collective or public organization. Every team has contacts.formal and informal groups, and interaction has both positive and negative aspects. A smart leader will always be able to manage informal groups competently so that they help achieve the company's goals.

Problems associated with the emergence of informal groups in the team most often relate to the spread of false rumors, resistance to change, and reduced labor efficiency. But the benefits are much more interesting: it is the emergence of devotion to this enterprise, the spirit of collectivism. Productivity increases significantly if group norms begin to exceed the officially established ones. Negative manifestations must certainly be fought by listening to the opinions of informal leaders, dispelling rumors with official full information, and positive beginnings must be supported by allowing members of informal groups to participate in decision-making.

formal small groups

Small formal group

This is too flexible a phenomenon to have a standard definition. But formal small groups, of course, have characteristic features. A separate association of people, which is a small group, is characterized by frequent interaction with each other, the mandatory definition of oneself as members of one group, the division of almost all interests as common. All members of a small group take part in the distribution of roles, they identify themselves in the same objects and ideals. A small group cooperates with all its members in interdependence in order to experience the most complete unity. Relativelyenvironment, the small group is coordinating.

In a small formal group, the number of members rarely reaches ten people, which helps to coordinate joint actions for quite a long time. These groups are incredibly resilient. They will not only do the work for which they have united, but they will also receive a result, coupled with a reward. In addition to performing a certain task, it is positive here that an environment for self-affirmation and self-knowledge arises, which is a completely objective need of any person.

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