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Difference between formal and informal groups

In an organization, the formation of groups is very natural, whether it is created by management for the purpose of achieving the objectives of the organization or by members of the organizations themselves to meet their social needs. There are two types of groups, namely formal groups and informal groups. The formal groups are those created by official authority, in order to achieve the desired goal. Otherwise, i informal groups they are trained by employees according to their tastes, interests and attitudes.

The most common reason behind the creation of a group is the impulse of people to speak and create their own circle, where they can interact freely, get to know each other, work together and perform the tasks assigned to them. In this article the difference between formal and informal groups is presented.

Comparative chart

Basis for comparison Formal group Informal group
Sense Groups created by the organization for the purpose of performing a specific activity are known as formal groups. Groups created by the same employees, for their own interest, are known as informal groups.
Training Deliberately Voluntarily
Cut it Great Relatively small
Life It depends on the type of group. It depends on the members.
Structure Well defined Ill defined
The importance given to Position Person
Report Professional staff
Communication It moves in a defined direction. It extends in all directions.

Definition of formal group

A formal group a collection of people who came together to achieve a specific goal. They are always created with the intent of meeting some official requirements. Group training done by management. It has a systematic structure, in a hierarchical form.

In general, the employees of the organization are divided into groups and a task is a transition to each group. In this way, the group's task is achieved together with the achievement of the organizational objectives. Data are the types of formal groups:

  • Command groups : groups composed of managers and their subordinates.
  • Committees : the group of people appointed by an organization, to resolve the issues, referred to known as the Committee. For example advisory board, standing board, etc.
  • Task Forces : the group module for carrying out a specific activity known as the Task Force.

Definition of informal groups

Groups that are created naturally within the organization due to social and psychological forces are known as informal groups. Under this group, the employees of the organization themselves join groups without the approval of management to meet their social needs in the workplace.

Nobody wants to live in isolation; Generally people create a circle around themselves so that they can interact and share their feelings, opinions, experiences, information, etc. These circles are known as informal workplace groups. These groups are formed on the basis of likes, dislikes, prejudices, contacts, language, interests, attitudes of common members. Includes interest groups and friendship groups. Faster communication in these groups while following the vine chain.

There are no defined rules; this applies to the informal group. In addition, the group has a loose structure. The bond between the members of the group is strong enough, which can be seen when one of the employees is expelled from work and all the members of the group strike him only to support him.

Key differences between formal and informal groups

The following are the differences between formal and informal groups:

  1. Groups formed by the management of the organization to accomplish a specific task are known as formal groups. Groups formed by the employees themselves according to their tastes and prejudices are known as informal groups.
  2. Formal groups are deliberately created by the organization, while informal groups are established voluntarily.
  3. Formal groups are large compared to an informal group. In addition, there may be subgroups in a single formal group.
  4. The structure of a formal group designed hierarchically while the informal group lacks structure or claims to have no structure.
  5. In a formal group, a member's position defines its importance in the group, but in an informal group, each member as important as any other member.
  6. In a formal group, the relationship between the professional members, they meet only to complete the task assigned to them. On the other hand, in an informal group, there is a personal relationship between the members, they share their opinions, experiences, problems, information with each other.
  7. In a formal group, the flow of communication is limited due to the unity of command. In contrast to an informal group, the flow of communication extends in all directions; there is no such restriction.


Usually we join a group, without knowing what kind of group? From the previous post, I hope you understand the differences between the two types of groups. Sometimes the members of formal groups and informal groups are the same. The basic characteristic between the two that formal groups are always formed with a goal, but when an informal group is created, there is no such type of intention at all.