Definition of a Group
According to Marvin Shaw, “a group comprises, of two or more persons who interact with one another in such a manner that each person influences and is influenced by each other person’.
“Group behavior” refers to the ways people behave in large- or small-group situations.
Functions of groups in organizations
- Distribution and control of work: This is bringing together and controlling teams of peoples with certain talents and abilities.
- Delegation of work: Organization authority needs to be delegated to leaders of work groups.
- Spread of information Groups disseminate information better than individuals.
- Uniting the organization in pursuit of its goals Organization can use work groups as a means of gaining the support of workers for organizations goals.
- Analyzing and solving problems In order to solve problems and make policy, the organization can use high level work groups made up of people with a wide range of talents.
- Conflict and resolution The organization cannot resolve conflicts of its employees at an individual level, because in large organizations there may be too many conflicts hence its better done in groups.
Types of Groups
In an organization, there are three types of groups, which are as follows:
Functional or formal groups
Functional groups are the groups formed by the organization to accomplish different organizational purposes. According to A L Stencombe, “a formal group is said to be any social arrangement in which the activities of some persons are planned by others to achieve a common purpose”. These groups are permanent in nature. They have to follow rules, regulations and policy of the organization. A formal organizational group includes departments such as the personnel department, the advertising department, the quality control department and the public relations department.
Tasks groups are the groups formed by an organization to accomplish a narrow range of purposes within a specified time. These groups are temporary in nature. They also develop a solution to a problem or complete its purpose. Informal committees, task forces and work teams are included in task groups. The organization after specifying a group membership, assigns a narrow set of purposes such as developing a new product, evaluating a proposed grievance procedure, etc.
Informal groups are the groups formed for the purposes other than the organizational goals. Informal groups form when individuals are drawn together by friendship, by mutual interests or both. These groups are spontaneous. According to Keith David, “the network of persons and social relations which is not established or required form an informal organization”. These are the groups formed by the employees themselves at the workplace while working together. The organization does not take any active interest in their formation. Informal groups are of following types:
- Interest group: Interest groups are the groups formed to attain a common purpose. Employees coming together for payment of bonus, increase in salary, medical benefit and other facilities are the examples of interest groups
- Membership group: Membership groups are the groups of individuals’ belonging to the same profession and knowing each other. For example, teachers of the same faculty in a university.
- Friendship group: Friendship groups are the groups of individuals belonging to same age group, having similar views, tastes and opinions. These groups can also be formed outside the plant or office and can be in the form of clubs and associations.
- Reference group: Reference groups are the group where individuals shape their ideas, beliefs, values etc. They want support from the group.