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There are two types of group at work : informal and formal groups.

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There are two types of group at work : informal and formal groups.

Informal groups emerge through the initiative of individuals who are trying to satisfy  their social needs (sense of belonging, support, friendship, and developpent). Informal groups often form naturally, among employees without the involvement of management. Menbership for informal groups is voluntary . A group of employees having tea together After lunch for employees that form a  book club are examples of informal groups .

Informal groups are essentiel un organizational life as people often feel happier and involved at work if they have common interest with their colleages. Forming or informal groups should be actively encouraged  by HR managers. The mores have a shared understanding ,interests, and values the more pleasant the working environnement Will be .

Formal groups are the ones that are established by the management to carry out certain organizational tasks. Membership to formal groups is not voluntaty. It is the management that decides to put employees in formal groups or to end their membership. Employees have very little choice on the matter. Once the desires organizational tasks is achieved , formal groups are often disperses, until the next time , they are needed.

Work committees, are a good example of formal groups. They are formed to command, supervise, create or acomplish projects or outcomes of tasks. Work committees have membres that are often put together according to their seniority or expertise. Although some commitees are permanent. Examples : standing commitees. They can be formed temporarily. Examples : adhoc commitees or task forces.

Whether in formal or informal groups, individuals are expected to ave certains roles. A role in an expected or attached behavior. In informal groups this expectation can steam from social or psychological forces. For examples, when the groups agrees to go to a pub often a member of the groups who has a senior role in the organization is expected to buy the drinks.

In formal groups, managements has expectations from employees to have certain responsabilities over the duties of the groups. For examples : Some employees to tackle the budgeting issues while others are reponsible for time-tabling of the project.

Group roles can also be problematic. They lead to role ambiguity or role conflict. Role ambiguity exists when the aims of one’s tasks or the method of perfoming it are not very clear. The individual gets confused and does not  know what is expected from him/her. This often occurs when borders of one’s reponsablities are blurred. Employees often find themselves in situation where they are aware of certain problem but cannot take actions to slove it ; and often end up ignoring it or passing the bucket to someone else. Foe example :  during the snowstorms ; london buses and train cease to operate because of the snow of the road and tracks. Londoners are caught unprepared because it was not clear whether the responsability to start cleaning the snow belonged to the emergency services local ; authorities or transport for london.

Role conflict occurs when an employee is given more than one role to fulfil. Firstly the individual needs to prioritize and plan how much time and effort to invest in each role. Secondly the individual needs to ddecide which role to perform at work. For example an employee who is involved in two different projects are the same time might struggle to achieve a healthy balance.


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