Characteristics of Informal Organisation

In the informal organisation, authority-responsibility relationship, channels of communication, pattern of coordination, etc. are not predetermined. Such as, organisation operates without any structured set up. The informal organisation interacts with formal organisation quite frequently. It affects and is affected by the formal organisation. Following are the characteristics of the informal organisation :


1)     Authority: There is a network of relationships in an informal organisation which may cut across the formally prescribed pattern of relationships. An in form al organisation has its own code of conduct , system of communication, and system of reward and punishment. The authority in an informal organisation is personal rather than positional as in case of formal organisation. Power in informal organisation is earned or given by group members, rather than delegated; therefore, it does not follow the official chain of command. It is more likely to come from peers (equals) than from superiors in the formal hierarchy; and it may act across organisational lines into other departments. It is usually more unstable than formal authority, since it is subject to the sentiments of people. Because of its subjective nature, informal organisation cannot be controlled by management, in the way as formal organisation.


2)     Objectives: Groups evolve their own goals reflecting their own special interests. Group members are dedicated to group goals. Group cohesiveness results in the group acting in a unified manner. This cohesiveness is the result of the degree to which the group goals help the satisfaction of individual needs. Therefore, the group objectives should be related to the individual needs of the members of the group.


3)     Communication: Informal organisation comes into existence because of the deficiencies of the formal channels of communication. The formal channels of communication may be inadequate and they may be slow. The need for speedier communication may give birth to informal channels of communication. Informal communication is very fast but the greatest danger is that it may give rise to rumours. Rumours may prove to be detrimental to the interests of the organisation.


4)     Leadership: The informal group has its own leader. An informal leader may not be the superior under whom the group members are working. An informal group leader performs the following functions: (i) he facilitates consensus among the group members, (ii) he initiates action, and (iii) provides a link with the outside world. If the formal leader is able to perform these functions, he may be accepted as an informal leader also. Workers will go to him for their personal problems, counselling, etc. The important factors which determine informal leadership are age, seniority, work location, technical competence, etc. It may be noted that persons who emerge as informal leaders are perceived by other group members as being the best people who can satisfy the goals of the group. The group may have a number of leaders for different purposes. For instance, the group may have a task leader whose function is to drive the group towards its goals and a human relations leader who helps in promoting co-operation among the members.

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