Functions of formal and informal groups in organizations
In order for every company or corporation to achieve its set goals and objectives, one of the most essential things that each of these perspective corporations should consider include the organization of the employees, especially, in achieving the corporation’s set goals, mission and objectives. This is achieved through an effective social and corporate relations, that enhance cooperation and working together and as a team, in order to achieve the corporation’s goals. With regard to the same, organizations are, consequently, organized into formal and informal groups (Slocum, 2010). In order to understand their roles within the corporation and how they achieve their goals, it is necessary to start by understanding their organization and development.
These are groups established in corporations and organizations, and that follow a systematic and deliberate procedure based on protocol. These seek to assist the corporation to achieve its set goals and objectives. At the same time, it also seeks to ensure that there is an improved relationship between the corporations from a formal and corporate perspective, in order to ensure that there is a developed spirit of teamwork across the employees. This is one of the ways through which corporate leaders have identified as effective in ensuring that there is improved and developed relationship between all the employees, and this ensures that the corporation or organization achieves its set goals and objectives. This is the reason why formal groups within an organization are headed by the corporate senior members, such as the corporation managers and supervisors. In other cases, a select committee is made, which plays the role of guiding the formal groups within the corporation (Hunt, 2010). One essential thing to note concerning these formal groups is the fact that they are officially recognized by the corporation in which they are established. Consequently, the corporation or organization’s management is aware of their existence, and even works hand in hand with them to ensure that the corporation plays a role in assisting them achieve their set goals and objectives, for the general good and advantage of the corporation (Bruce, 2011).
- Informal groups
Informal groups, on the other hand, are the social and informal organizational setting of a corporation, and the established protocol of relationship that is established within the corporation. This, therefore, is the overall and aggregate establishment of the personal norms, attributes and professional relationships between employees within an organization, and how they work together in enhancing the achievement of the corporations’ set goals, mission and objectives. In order to understand their organization, function and establishment, it is necessary to note the fact that there are various basic tenets upon which these informal organizations are based. These include the social networking between the people in the organization, common interest and their diversity between the employees, sources of motivation within the workplace and the general relationship established between the employees at the subordinate, supervisory and management levels. Their creation and establishment is spontaneous, and their structure is loose (Bruce, 2011).
- Functions of formal groups
- Through the formal groups, the organization is in a good position to establish a formal protocol through which the employees can not only use to achieve the corporation’s goals and objectives, but also a way through which they will carry out their tasks, for example, through extra training, which might not be a part of the corporation’s program (Bruce, 2011).
- Every corporation requires a well-established flow of authority, from the highest to the lowest level in order for it to accomplish its set tasks, goals and objectives. At the same time, authority enhances discipline as opposed to action upon free-will, which affects a corporation’s productivity. The establishment of formal groups ensures that there is a well-developed flow of authority, upon a logical foundation. This ensures that the corporation has a well-established hierarchical structure between all the employees in the corporation, whereby, each of these employees not only know, but also understands and accepts his or her rank in the corporation. Consequently, there is easier and better operations within the corporation, based on respect and honor of authority (Rousseau, 2001).
- Functions of informal groups
- The informal groups in organizations enhance close relationships on a personal level between the employees. This is due to the fact that they are based on a personal understanding, acknowledgement and respect each other. At the same time, the groups create a platform through which the employees can know each other at a private level, without being confined in the walls and protocols of the corporation.
- Informal; groups enhance free and fast communication between employees. This is due to the fact that they provide an avenue through which the employees can communicate freely, without having to follow the organization’s code of protocol. For instance, through gossip and social networking, the employees are able to effectively relate and access each other for communication purposes (Shore, 2010).
- Informal groups perpetuate and maintain, as well as reserve the corporation or organization’s social and cultural values and traditions. Organizational values are some of the most essential tenets that a corporation should possess, since they do not only bring employees together, but also ensure that there is continuity of the practices that are established in the corporation for the good of the company.
- Informal groups provide social status to the employees and members of the organization. This is due to the fact that their interaction, especially on a personal level, assists them in understanding each other and their strengths, as well as weaknesses. Through the identification of each of the employees’ strengths, the employees are able to gain respect and acknowledgement based on the same. At the same time, it ensures that the members of the organization encourage each other through sharpening of each other’s’ areas of weaknesses, without the involvement of the human resource department (Slocum, 2010).
- Lastly, informal groups provide social control in the organizations, and encourage employees to conform to the organizational culture and lifestyle. At the same time, these informal groups ensure that the employees and organizational members achieve external control, whereby, they are in a better and organized position to express them to the organization’s various departments, such as the management department, human resource department, the finance department and union leaderships. Consequently, it enhances better treatment of the employees (Allen, 2012).
Benefits and disadvantages of using the formal and informal groups in organizations
- Advantages of the groups
- The groups blend effectively with the formal protocols and systems of the corporations and organizations. As a result, they have a developmental role to play in the organization, whereby they coexist with the corporations’ goals, without interfering with its goals and objectives.
- They have a major role to play in the organizations’ management, since they ease the work of the managers and other leaders within the organization. This is due to the fact that the employees can work together to achieve the organization’s goals and objectives, with minimal or even in some cases, no input from the managerial department. This does not only save time, but also resources (Shore, 2010).
- The groups improve management practices in the corporation, since they develop strategies through which the corporation can achieve its goals and objectives especially in bringing in cohesion between the employees, without necessarily having to involve the day to day corporation protocols.
- Addressing of emergency- One of the most essential things to note concerning the groups, both formal and informal, is the fact that they are spontaneous, and this is one of the aspects that makes them applicable and necessary, especially, during cases of emergency. They are effective and necessary, especially, in ensuring that the corporation effectively addresses an environmental crisis (Rousseau, 2001).
- The formal and informal groups fill in management abilities’ gaps, especially, in cases where the managerial team cannot address some of the tasks that are necessary to carry out, for effective achievement of a task. These include the mobilization of employees at a personal level.
- Disadvantages of the groups
- The groups have in most cases, had the tendency to discourage the employees against change. This, as a result, leads to poor relations between the employees and the organization, which might consequently, lead to poor achievement of the organizational goals and objectives.
- Role conflict- In many cases, especially with the establishment of formal groups, there are cases of conflict of roles. This is due to the fact that the establishment of these groups might lead to the interference of the corporation’s managerial tasks and roles for each of the corporation’s positions and departments (Shore, 2010).
- Rumor- Rumors are normally spread through the informal means of communication, particularly, with the informal groups and their establishment. As a result, this might interfere with not only the corporation or organizations’ task, but also ruined relationships between employees in different departments or working positions.
- Conformity- In order to work together, one of the goals that the groups (both formal and informal) seek to achieve is conformity for all the employees. Conformity will in most cases, affect some of the employees, since they will not be efficiently productive. At the same time, the groups lead to the ‘organizational herd mentality’ phenomenon, whereby, the employees or staff members are led to think and act as a block and not independently. This is contrary to the desired outcome of teamwork, since a herd mentality leads to low level production, as well as lack of understanding of the corporation’s set goals, as opposed to teamwork, which is characterized by an understanding of the corporation’s set goals and objectives, and the effective strategies to follow in achieving the same (Allen, 2012).
How understanding group behavior enables effective management
One of the most essential things to note concerning effective management, especially from an employees’ perspective include the fact that the managers and supervisors as well as other managerial level staff should understand the employees’ behavior, both on a personal as well as a group level (Rousseau, 2001). By understanding the employees, it will be easier to understand the approaches to use in addressing the challenges that they experience in the achievement of their goals. At the same time, this plays a major role in ensuring that the employees are directed into working as a team, and acknowledging the fact that working together will lead to achievement of the corporate goals and objectives in an easier and more effective manner, as opposed to working independently (Allen, 2012).
In conclusion, with this understanding, therefore, it should be noted that understanding group behavior assist the managers and the employees at the management level in differentiating the difference between teamwork and an organizational herd mentality. By identifying the group behavior, the management staff will be in a clear position to not only guide the employees into making a decision in developing and improving their perception towards the corporation’s goals and objectives, as well as identify ways through which they will achieve the same (Steen, 2011).
Allen, T. (2012). Personal Relationships: The Effect on Employee Attitudes, Behavior, and Well-being. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, pp. 133-57.
Bruce, A. (2011). Solving Employee Performance Problems: How to Spot Problems Early, Take Appropriate Action. New Jersey: Wiley, pp. 100-120.
Hunt, J. (2010). Organizational Behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 203.
Rousseau, D. (2001). Trends in Organizational Behavior, Employee Versus Owner Issues in Organizations. London: Rutledge, pp. 134-45.
Shore, L. (2010). The Employee-Organization Relationship: Applications for the 21st Century. New Jersey: Wiley, pp. 89-96.
Slocum, J. (2010). Organizational Behavior. New York: Harvard University Press, p. 113.
Steen, S. (2011). Canadian Organizational Behavior with Connect Access Card. New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 116.