INFORMAL GROUPS Groups and societies that are started either by accidents or unconsciously by the members of the group.
They are also started by purpose. At the beginning they don’t have guidelines to govern their behavior.

Functions / Advantages of informal groups

1. Assist to maintain and strengthen to work and values of their member.
2. Give members a feel of social status and security.
3. Help their members to some personal problems.
4. They act as reference points to the members.
5. Assist management in disciplining its workers.

Disadvantages of informal group

1. Difficult to manage because of mixed abilities and different background.
2. They may cause problem of conformity.
3. They may cause a problem to management through resistance.
4. They are time consuming and expensive to maintain.

By the end of the topic you should be able:

  • Identify the various types of groups
  • State reasons for group formation
  • Discuss the stages for group development
  • List the advantages of group cohesiveness

These are groups created by management and are sometimes contained in the mission statements e.g. training committee, disciplinary.

Advantages of formal groups

1. Help ease managements’ work.
2. Help to implement policies and decisions of an organization.
3. Help in formation of organizational objectives.
4. Help to alleviate conflicts between groups and departments.

Disadvantages of formal groups

1. They are expensive to maintain
2. They cause biasness if constituted unfairly.
3. Causes fighting and division among members who would wish to be elected.
4. It is time consuming – takes long to make decisions.
5. Competition for scarce resources.


Factors that influences Group Formation

  1. Physical proximity, people who are close to one another finds it easy to work together as opposed to those who are far apart
  2. Common values / interests. It’s easy for people with common values to work together for they have something in common for instance those who are smokers will easily work together.
  3. Institutional backgrounds e.g. colleges. Those who share the same institutions of learning easily trusts each other and are likely to be partners
  4. Age / peers. Members of the same age finds it appealing to work together as opposed to those who age brackets are far from one another
  5. Similar jobs and professionals. Members of the same profession organizes themselves in groups such as merry-go rounds, co-operative societies etc. This is because they understand each other and have almost similar ambitions
  6. Psychological reasons i.e. social, esteem, self actualization
  7. Common threats. Those who are facing a common threat will naturally come together to protect themselves and end up having a group formed


  1. Formation Stage
    It is known as an orientation and testing stage because members attempt to determine behavior to be gained by being a group member.
  2. Storming Stage
    It is a stage marked with conflicts and interpersonal differences as members vie for group leadership and task roles.
    It/s characterized by a lot of disagreement because some members want to dominate others.
  3. Norming stage
    It is a stage where values have been accepted and it’s marked with a lot of solidarity,  cohesiveness and team spirits.
  4. Performance stage
    A stage where group performance had increased and all objectives has been realized.
  5. Adjournment stage
    Tasks have completed and the group seizes to exist. It stops to exist and group members form new groups with new tasks and objectives.

This is a situation where members are willing and ready to stick together and support one another i.e. they have high solidarity level.

 Factors for group cohesiveness

  • Friendly group atmosphere
  • Similarity among the members.
  • Interdependence among members
  • Attractive goal
  • Small group size (size of the group).
  • A common threatening environment.

Advantages of Group Cohesiveness
1. It leads to better group interaction
2. There are less inter-member conflicts
3. Greater interpersonal coordination
4. Members can achieve what would have not been achieved as an individual.
5. Members are socially satisfied because of being able to identify themselves with the group.

Disadvantages of group cohesiveness
1. Likelihood of disagreement between members.
2. Poor image particularly if a group is involved in illegal activities (poor image).
3. Lead to unhealthy competition among the members.
4. Conflicts may lead to collapse of the group.
5. Increase resistance to change.

Advantages of Group Decision Making
1. There is easier coordination.
2. Communication levels are high.
3. Greater number of alternatives will be presented.
4. More information will be processed.
5. Help to distribute authority
6. It saves as a training ground because members learn from one another.
7. Boosts employee morale.

Disadvantages of group decision making
1. Takes long (time consuming)
2. Some members can dominate
3. It is expensive to manage a group.
4. Risky decision can be taken by members because nobody will be held responsible.
5. It may lead to premature decision being implemented.

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