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Formal and informal groups play a very important role in the setup of an organization. Each of these groups in the organization has distinct roles that help in the day to day activities of an organization. The formal and informal groups are however, associated with some pros and cons due to the issues found in organization. This paper examines the functions that are carried out by the formal and informal groups in an organization and the associated pros and cons. It also examines the understanding of group behavior and how it enables effective management in organization (Sims, 2002).
A formal group in an organization refers to a group of people that have been chosen by the management of that organization to carry out and implement specific objectives. The functions of the formal group can be divided into the functions of individuals and the functions of the collective group of individuals. The functions of the collective group will be analyzed first then individuals functions will be analyzed latter (Fro%u0308hlich, 2003).
The main function of the formal group in an organization is to achieve and accomplish the goals of an organization. The success of an organization depends on the effective input from all the individuals in the organization. As part of the formal group each individual plays an important role to achieve the success of the organization. These roles that are carried out by the individuals often need the input of other members from the organization for it to be successful. The members of the formal group come together and put their minds together to create the best ideas for implementation by the organization. Through this collective effort the organization is able to achieve its goals and targets.
The organizational functions of the formal group are also charged with creation of new and creative ideas and solutions. The formal group in an organization is composed of well trained and educated individuals who are experts in their roles. These individuals who are experts in their roles are charged with the task of creation of new ideas that can propel the organization forward. Each individual plays an active role in the generation of these ideas. The collective group of individuals then come together and gel this individual ideas into a working formula for the organization. The formal group then picks the best idea that is implemented by the organization for it to achieve its objectives. The formal group is also charged with its generation of creative ideas that are used to solve the problems that are faced by the organization. The organization is dependent on the individuals who are employed to come up with creative ways of solving problems that are facing the organization. It is therefore the role of the formal group to come up with the solutions for these problems to enable the organization to operate well and achieve the intended goals and targets (Sims, 2002).
In a big organization the formal group plays a very important role in the co-ordination of inter-departmental efforts and co-ordination of different activities. The various departments in an organization need to work closely and together for the success of the organization. The formal group is responsible for enabling the efficient operation of the various groups and department in the organization. It is also responsible for the enhancement of the efforts made by the different departments of the organizations. The formal group ensures the success of the organization by complementing the efforts of the different departments in the formal group. The various departments then come together and complement each other to produce the best possible solution to the challenges facing the organization and come up with the ways of moving forward hence ensuring the success of the organization in its endeavors.
The formal group in an organization also functions to implement the complex decisions that have been reached by the organization through the specialization of work and division of labor. These decisions that are implemented are not often divisive and may result in conflict hence the need to a competent team that can out the implementation of ideas with a minimum fuss. The duty of implementing the decisions of the organization can be carried out by the members of the formal group themselves or delegate the duty but ensure its implementation. The correct and full implementation of the decisions and policies of the organization are crucial to achievement of the objectives, therefore, the success of the organization will fully rest on the formal group and its ability to implement the decisions and policies of the organization.
The formal group in an organization is also charged with the function of incorporating newcomers into the organization. Many organizations have human resource departments that recruit the best individuals to their organizations, however, the successful training and incorporation of the newcomers into the organization lies squarely on the hands of the formal group. The formal group should make the new recruits feel at home by guiding them in the ways and practices of the organization. Successful incorporation will result in contention on the part of the newcomers and hence dedication to the cause of the organization, this will eventually lead to continuous success of the company (Sims, 2002).
The formal group functions to solve and mediate on problems that arise in the organization. In the normal running of various organizations many problems arise due to the complex situation of managing many people. The problems that arise in the organization can have detrimental effects on the organization if they are not handled in the correct way. The formal group in many organization has the responsibility of coming up with definitive ways of solving the problems. The problem solving mechanism has to be a collective effort to avoid discord among the members of the formal group. A chain of command should also be in the formal group so as to avoid subordination and role conflicts. The formal group assesses and solves the problems facing the organization to ensure the unity of the team and hence the success of the team (Fro%u0308hlich, 2003).
In addition to the collective role of the formal group in organization, the individuals in the formal organization also have an important role to play in the success of the organization. The individuals in the organization have a role in: ensuring that all individuals have in the group feel that they are affiliated to the group by reducing all forms of discrimination and conflicts, encouraging the other members of the group to boost their identity and esteem, they also have the responsibility of giving the other members of the group the chance of expressing their views and ideas and providing an avenue for solving interpersonal problems among the members of the group. The functions of the group are automatically met if the individuals fulfill their roles in the formal group.
Informal groups in an organization refer the emergence of groups from the formal organization structure that meet and interact regularly. The interactions mean some of the members have to forsake their personal interests for the sake of the group. These groups are mainly based on wellbeing and bonding of the members of the formal structure of an organization. The functions of the informal groups in an organization are discussed below.
The informal group in an organization maintains and strengthens the values and norms of the organization that its members hold in common. The informal group comes up with activities that its members can engage in that help in bonding. Through this bonding processes the values and norms of the organization are discussed and put into practice. The bonding process brings together the people of the organization by fostering unity and wellbeing among the people of the formal structure of the organization. This bonding is useful in avoiding problems and conflicts at the organization since all the people at the organization feel together and hence have each other’s interests in their hearts. It is also very crucial on building team spirit among the members of the organization.
The informal grouping also gives the members a feeling of social satisfaction, security and status. Through the interactions of people who have the same goals and aspirations in life the informal grouping create a feeling of belonging to certain class of society, this provides social satisfaction to the members of the formal structure in an organization. It is also a chance for the interaction of the employers and employees in an organization. Through this interaction the employers and employees are able to interact and share their aspirations and hence creating a harmonious working environment. It is also a chance for the members of an organization to share jokes, laugh and appreciate life.
The informal groupings in an organization also help their members to communicate as unit. It provides an opportunity to for the members of to discuss matters affecting them and on ways of improving them. This also leads to formation of welfare programs that deal with the problems that face the individual members of the group. It enables the formation of communication channels that supplement the other formal channels that are used to express the issues facing them. The informal groups can also be an avenue for solving the problems among the members (Robbins, 2001).
The formal groups in organizations have various advantages. It enables the activities in the organization to be carried out in an organized manner. The chain of command that is developed in the formal groups in an organization reduces role conflicts among the members hence enhancing productivity. The defined roles set up in a formal group also enhance productivity in the organization. The formal groups also enhance the inter-departmental co-operation hence forging unity in the organization by giving a sense of direction to all the people.
Formal groups, however, can create some disadvantages in the organization. Discord among the members of an organization can occur due to the incidences such as subordination due to the various ranks in a formal organization. The big gap between the employers and employees may lead to disillusion among the employees as they will feel detached from the organization. The inflexible nature of the formal groups in the organization means that it cannot efficiently handle the individual problems that may face its members.
The informal group also has advantages that enhance the activities of an organization. It enables the blending with the formal system by creating a sense of belonging to the cause of the organization. It is also important in lightening the management workload as the informal groups can complement the formal management. This also enables the gaps in management to be filled since it allows input from all the members of the organization. It also acts as a safety measure for the employees as they have collective bargaining power instead of individuals dealing with their own issues. The interaction that occurs from employer and employee enables improved management from the employers and management.
However, informal groups can be detrimental to the organization if handled wrongly. The members may gang up to resist new measures that may be adopted by the organization. It can also be a forum for rumor mongering which may have negative effects on the organization. It can also lead to role conflict as the interaction of people with different ranks may lead to subordination. It can also lead to conflict among the members if not handled properly.
Understanding group behavior is important in effective management since it enables the manager to have an upper hand when implementing the policies of an organization. It enables the manager to preempt the needs of the group; this will motivate the group to perform well as they will feel cared for and part of the team. It is also important in solving the problems facing the group, understanding the behavior of the group helps in determining what will satisfying their needs hence help in problem solving. Understanding of the group behavior also enables effective dialogue on issues facing the management and the people being managed.
In conclusion the formal and informal and groups have very important roles in organization. The success of the organization will depend on how well the different functions of formal and informal groups are handled by the management. Institutions and regulations that guide the functionality of these groups are also significant in the organization. Due to the rigid nature of these groups in an organization they are associated with some disadvantages; however, they also have advantages; the pros and cons generally cancel out making the organization functional. It is also clear that effective management depends on good understanding of group behavior as it allows the management to anticipate the needs of the group and handle the effectively.
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