Informal groups perform a number of crucial functions that can hardly be delivered by formal groups. For example, informal groups have the potential of perpetuating cultural value systems that are cherished by a group. This noble role assists in safeguarding the integrity of the group. It is possible for common points of perceptions to be embraced by individuals who work as a team. In most cases, every member of the group is anticipated to share the adopted values. The processes of socialization and regular association among group members assist informal group members to wed and develop among themselves (Pershing & Austin, 2015).
Second, it is quite easy to derive social satisfaction in informal groups. In other words, such group members have a better chance to relate to each other, enhance recognition of members and also provide status among the individual members. Individual ingenuity also makes it possible for group members to enjoy tasks that are apparently dull or boring. Through informal groups, routine can be made more exciting and interesting compared to formal settings. It is common experience that rigid job requirements are provided by management while informal groups accelerate the pace and vigor at which tasks are accomplished in firms. Departmental growth can be swiftly spurred by an informal team. The latter is also in a position to modify various tasks at hand so that they are compatible with the ability and make-up of individuals comprising the team. Hence, tasks carried out by informal groups are highly likely to generate common interest and satisfaction.
Work-related challenges that emanate from informal group members may be readily solved by the group itself without necessarily referring the matter to the top management. Members assist each other to execute tasks effectively. By sharing their workplace skills, expertise and knowledge alongside group decisions, emerging challenges or difficulties can be addressed expeditiously. Some solutions adopted by informal groups may drift away from management’s approach and better still, be more rigorous. It is crucial to understand that informal groups’ approach to conflict resolution tend to eliminate a number of retrogressive red-tapes. Short cuts may be incorporated when seeking solutions to challenges. When it comes to communication, informal groups often use unofficial channels. This may potentially reduce time taken to resolve emerging conflicts since departmental boundaries are swiftly broken. In any case, extreme interdependence may be imposed by technology and strict management strategies. As a result, instant coordination may not be experienced. Nonetheless, informal groups help in eliminating such barriers. Consequently, organizations that embrace informal groups at workplace stand a higher chance of boosting workplace productivity.
While management teams in organizations may set and fast track rules and regulations governing workplace ethics and productivity, research studies have also established that informal groups have the potential of initiating and sustaining acceptable behavioral norms (Pershing & Austin, 2015). I have witnessed this trend at various workplace settings. The latter are basically informal rules and ethical standards that group members are supposed to adhere to. For instance, morality can be clearly defined in the behavioral norms. It is only through informal groups that abstract terminologies such as self-sacrifice and loyalty are intrinsically understood and applied at workplace. Formal groups largely pursue written operative and ethical standards.
On a final note, informal groups assist in safeguarding the interests and general well-being of members from unfavorable external forces. Real or imagined outside pressures against group members may be a source of worry every single day. However, informal groups create some form of assurance among members. The sense of belonging derived from informal groups is also instrumental in lowering the degree of uncertainty.
Pershing, S.P. & Austin, E.K. (2015). Organization Theory and Governance for the 21st century. London: CQ Press