Difference Between Formal Groups vs. Informal Groups

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Main Difference

Communication is one of the pivotal processes in our lives, through which one can exchange thoughts, information, feelings and much more. The means of communication keeps on changing with the advancement in technology, for example in 90’s telephones were mostly used for the communication, nowadays smartphones are widely used for the communication purpose. Mainly the communication can be of two types; verbal communication and non-verbal communication. In organizations, the mode of verbal communication is used for sharing of information or transfer of the message. Furthermore, the verbal communication is divided into two forms of communication; formal communication and informal communication. Both these types of communication are done in the organizations, by the formal and informal groups respectively. The group in the organization, formed by the organization themselves to fulfill the certain tasks in the office is known as the formal group. The formal group does the formal communication, which means the communication takes place through the officially designated channel. On the other hand, the informal group is formed by the employees themselves, it is based on their personal likeness, attitude, relation, and other factors. Within the organization, the informal groups go up with the informal communication as there is no officially designated channel and the topic of discussion is even broader.

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Comparison Chart

Formal GroupsInformal Groups
AboutFormal groups in an organization are the official groups created by the authority or the management to unite talented and competent individuals to work as a team and achieve a common organizational goal or to accomplish any task.Informal groups in an organization are the unofficial groups created by the organization members on their own. Informal groups are for the members unite on some common agenda or interest. It has nothing to do with any specific organizations benefit.
SizeFormal groups can be large and even small totally depending on the task and purpose.Informal groups are usually small but can be large in large organizations.
DurationFormal groups are usually temporary in nature and are dissolved once the task is completed. In some cases, formal groups can be permanent also.Informal groups are permanent most of the times. They are only dissolved due to any external pressure or any individual leaving on its own.
Relationship of membersThe members in a formal group are colleagues mostly and are connected for work, no emotional attachment.The members in the informal groups are close to each other as they link with each other due to common agenda and similarities. Friendship and strong emotional bonding can develop easily as well.
CommunicationIn the formal groups, a systematic way and mode of communication are used and followed by all members.In the informal groups, the members communicate however they want to do on the basis of their own comfortably and convenience with other members.
Behavior of membersThe behavior of members in the formal groups is totally professional. Every one follows the code of conduct established by the organization.The behavior of members in the informal groups is totally based on the interest of the individuals and their own social personalities.
AuthorityFormal groups are authorized groups developed and run by the management of the organization itself.In the informal groups, the members choose their own leaders and the authority is completely among the members.
SupervisionFormal groups are supervised by the management officials or the heads appointment by the management. It is easy to manage members of the formal groups.In the informal groups, it is quite difficult to manage and supervise individuals. Normally a unanimously chosen person is responsible and that too up to a minor extent.
PurposeThe basic purpose of formal groups is to make commitment individuals work together as a team and achieve the desired common goal of an organization. It can be done for accomplishing a temporary task as well.Informal groups are usually formed by people with common interests. In various organizations, the purpose of informal groups could vary. One of the most widely seen purposes is of amusement and security of rights of members of the organization.
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What are Formal Groups?

The formal groups are assigned by the organizations to increase the work efficiency or fulfill specific tasks. The employees made part of this have strong communication between each other and also have prior experience of teamwork. The size of the formal group can even be large, depending upon the initiative of the organization. The sole purpose of the formal group is to make sure the certain work is done on time. It has nothing to do with the personal attachments and leisure. The employees made part of this have strong coordination between them, and have importance according to their defined positions in the company. The formal groups use formal communication to exchange the thought, information and ideas. It should be kept mentioned that formal communication takes place through the officially designated channel. The context of the conversation is already chosen in this form of communication and more work-oriented discussions are done. While doing this type of communication, a certain type of rules and regulations and conventions and styles are being followed.

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What are Informal Groups?

The employees form the informal groups within an organization. The main reason for forming such a groups is to have strong bonding and relation with the fellow colleagues, based on their likes, attitude and interests. The informal groups are never work-oriented so no one has the importance due to the designation in the company. The context of the conversations in the informal groups are wider as people joke, share, and have gossiping with each other during the free time in the office. The informal communication takes place in between the informal groups in the organizations as the officially designated channels are not used in this for communication. The informal communication is the mode of communication that take place when colleagues interact with each other, that can be at canteen during a coffee break or while sitting in the garden area of the office. No rules and regulations are followed in this types of communication and it can be in any convention or style. The conversation can also be purposeful regarding the office work, although mostly it revolves around the personal life, gossips about office staff or many more topics.

Key Differences

  1. The formal groups are assigned by the organizations, whereas the employees form the informal groups within an organization.
  2. The formal groups are made to increase the work efficiency or fulfill specific tasks. On the other hand, the informal groups aren’t work-oriented, mostly it revolves around the personal life, gossips about office staff or many more topics.
  3. The size of the formal group can even be large, depending upon the initiative of the organization, whereas the informal group is comparatively smaller in size.
  4. In formal groups certain type of rules and regulations and conventions and styles are being followed. Contrary to this, in informal groups no rules and regulations are followed or assigned.
  5. The one has more importance in the formal groups according to his/her designation in the organization, while no one has the importance due to the designation in the company.

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