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Principles of Management: Different Types of Group

Having different types of groups is fundamental for all organizations due to the fact that it determines the pattern of work within the organization. The concept of working groups is based on the framework of the formal group and the informal group. The formal group is a group of skilled people who are carefully selected based on their skill set, in the aim of reaching a certain goal. A formal group will have a leader, members underneath the leader, a certain location, and a specific task that needs to be completed. A prime example of a formal group would be a planning committee.

The formal group can be sub-divided into the technological group, the task group and the team group. A good example of a task group would be the quality management group. The aim in this case for the management group would be to monitor quality levels within the organisation, and develop a successful strategy for managing it.

The informal group is developed ‘off the record’ between employees to help with certain needs and requirements pertaining to the employees, which can be with the consent of the manager or not. The members of an informal group may extend their individual needs to the group. Certain informal groups may help with organisational and social aspects, such as clubs and social events. Sometimes the aims and objectives of an informal group may be a detriment to the goals of the organisation as a whole, and as such some members of the group may speak out, while certain informal group aims will help to assist the organization (Handy, 1993).

Natural work groups are different to project groups in that they last for a long time and have, according to Chaudron, a focus exclusively on a highly specific project. Groups such as project or matrix groups are not as rigid, and can be adapted to change their orientations and project goals. The matrix organisation usually mixes elements of traditional linear authority and decision making with team based activities over a range of expertises. Members of the matrix group will all agree to a project manager for the lifespan of the project. Within an agreed timeframe and budget, this group will use available resources and manpower to complete the desired tasks.

Strategic focus groups, in a similar vein to project groups, will work on a specific task, but they tend to be used more as a tool for evolution within an organisation (Chaudron, 2003). Autonomous groups are used in the manufacturing industries with automated assembly line production. For autonomous groups to be successful, members of the group should be able to see the big picture and understand how new methods and strategies will fit into the current framework.


Chaudron, D. (2003) Kinds of Groups and Their Needs. Retrieved from:

Handy, Ch. (1993). Understanding Organizations. Penguin Books Ltd