Formation of Groups
Formal groups, also known as self-managed teams, are groups where members are interdependent and have a say or authority in the regulation of the group’s activities (Werner & DeSimone, 2009). In most cases, formal groups are created with the aim of meeting the specific needs of any given organization. Other than the interdependent relationship of group members, members of this type of group have discretion over things such as work assignment, work schedules, training, work methods, and dealing with external suppliers and customers. Members of formal groups also have numerous skills that help in the performance of several tasks simultaneously and the fact that the group or team receives performance feedback is also important. The benefits of formal groups in organizations are that they help enhance the quality of products and services, boost employee morale, reduce management hierarchy, and more responsive organizational structures are created.
On the other hand, informal groups are those where members are guided and receive some training and coaching on what they are supposed to do. In this type of groups, there is a one-on-one instruction between the coach or leader and the other members of the group. In structured informal groups, organizations prefer having a coach or trainer who is recognized, rewarded, and trained to provide appropriate instructional techniques (Werner & DeSimone, 2009).
Managers should pay attention to informal groups because of its benefits and advantages over formal groups from the organizational perspective. First, informal groups allow on-the-job training which is seen as a way of dealing with the shortage of personnel with the skills needed to perform many current jobs. Second, managers should pay attention to informal groups because they facilitate the transfer of learning to the job because the trainee or ordinary group member has an immediate opportunity to practice the work tasks or what training is received on the job (Mullins, 2010).
Mullins, L. J. (2010). Management and organisational behaviour. Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall.
Werner, J. & DeSimone, R. (2009). Human resource development (5th ed.). Boston: Cengage Learning.