Informal groups exist in organisations to cater for interests and needs of workers. State and explain the merits and demerits of informal groups to a business organization?

Principles and Practice of Management notes and Revision questions and answers

An organization can be described as a group of people working towards a common goal. Within any organization there exists two groups – formal and informal.

The informal groups are those that arise spontaneously from the interaction of people and are not controlled or prescribed the formal structure.

• Characteristics of informal groups:
– Have their own goals.
– Members are often pressurized to conform to the group norms.
– They have an informal leader.
– They often depend on the grapevine for communication.
– The group provides a certain status to its members.

• Merits of informal groups.
– They provide a means of developing friendships and being accepted fellow workers providing social satisfaction to the employees. This means that the social needs of employees are met.
– The group can supplement the formal structure generating ideas that are flexible and spontaneous.
– They can point to the flaws in the formal communication system.
– Once accepted, a new staff member can be taught how to work and perform tasks this informal group.

• Demerits of informal groups
– Many have their own objectives that differ from those of the organization.
– They encourage conformity to group norms and discourage creativity.
– Social costs may be incurred.
– The grapevine can sometimes be misused to spread destructive and inaccurate information.
– They tend to resist change that threatens them.

Principles and Practice of Management notes and Revision



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