Types of Groups

Definition: The Group refers to two or more persons who shares a common interest and come together to achieve common goals and objectives. The groups can be formal and informal; formal groups are created by the organization with the intent to accomplish its objective, while the informal groups get created spontaneously as soon as the individuals interact with each other.

Types of Groups

The groups can be classified on the basis of the structure of the organization. These are:

  1. Formal Groups
  2. Informal Groups

The analytical classification of the groups can be done as follows:

Primary and Secondary Groups: The primary group refers to the small social group whose members are closely related to each other and share an enduring relationship. Examples of these groups could be family members, friendship groups and highly influential social groups. Here the group members have an intimate relationship with each other and is characterized by face to face association and cooperation.

The Secondary Groups are more formal groups whose members come together to perform certain tasks. Here the group members are not emotionally associated with each other and do not get affected by the pain and the pleasure of others. Examples of these groups could be corporate groups, military, political group, factories, etc. Thus, a secondary group is more institutionalized in nature.

Membership and Reference Groups: The membership group is the one to which an individual actually belongs to. Sometimes the membership fee is to be given to become a member of certain groups. The club membership is the best example of membership groups.

The reference groups are the types of groups with which an individual identify himself and want to become a member of that group. An individual could be a member of several groups, but may not participate in all simultaneously and would like to participate in those groups whose norms are more attractive and gratifying.

Command and Task Groups: A command group is comprised of superiors and subordinates who carry out orders on the basis of their authority within the group. This type of group is determined through the hierarchical chart of the organization. An example could be a marketing manager having the group of sales personnel under his department.

Task Group is a group of individuals who come together to accomplish a certain task or a job assigned to them. Generally, these groups are created to capitalize the expertise of different individuals towards the accomplishment of a particular project. Thus, the task groups can be formed beyond the lines of a hierarchical chart of the organization.

In-groups and Out-groups: The in-group are the types of groups composed of the individuals who holds a dominant position in the social functioning. These members could be in the majority and carry prevailing values in the society.

The out-group refers to those individuals who are in the certain instances considered to be less in numbers and often looked upon as marginal or subordinate in the society.


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