Nadeem Yousaf

The article discuess differnt elements of Informal Structure, types and their process of development in organiztions.

  1. Informal Grouping

The concept of informal grouping has been brought in the field of the organization by the founders of Human Relations School. The Informal grouping means to act according to the norms which are settled or developed out of the realm of the formal structure. There are studies which showed that informal settled patterns dominate the organizational formalization to a great extent. The contemporary research shows that informal groups of the organization set standards of productivity informally that generally follow the doctrine of  “a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay”.  It is interesting to note that infor­mal grouping has its own culture and conventions. The informal group, in a way,  affects the organization as a pressure group. In every large group or an organization we can find more than one informal groups.

Types of Informal Grouping

a. Rational Informal Grouping:

This kind of grouping reflects that groups are not considerable disagree with each other. But they are accepting each other because there is no other way out. The  group will play on other’s interest if it finds the opportunity. It is the game of manipulation of formalization. So, we can say that the group will present their hidden differences in a rational way. It is said that administrative and managerial prob­lems are simultaneously personal & interpersonal problems expressed in organizational terms

b. Affiliative Informal Grouping:

It does not mean that groups have no conflict or they are having the same view. But the group appreciate others differences and find a middle point to meet each other. They are play game of “who wins, Who loses”. If there is real consensus democracy a group will go for zero-sum game. The differences are ideological in relation to develop the organiz­ation. Because winning of one is not related to the group but to the whole organization.

c. Free Informal Grouping:

The groups feel presence of each other is irrelevant. The groups have a tug of war where both wants to win. In order to have a winning, groups prefer   intervention of only those outside supporters who supports the respective group to whom they are representing. The members of informal group is not united because they are similar in ideology but they join a specific group because there are more advantage in a given time. The members will try to change the group whenever there is shift in the benefits.


 It means non-written rules of the organization. The certain patterns of execution become part of the system as a rule which usually remain unchallenged. When a convention has been established it is not easy to change. As it is observed during the The research shows that officials Generally take advantage of their authority.Selznick mentions that discretionary actions are usually taken on the name of the whole organization. Conventions are usually challenged when someone damaged by them or about to be damaged. Conventions are very important for the organization and its importance can be shown by Weber’s quota­tion: “the exist­ence of a convention may be far more determi­native of one’s conduct than the exist­ence of legal enforcement machinery”.  Conventions are brought in the system by deliberately manipulating the law. Conven­tions are established because of ambiguity in the law and remain in the system because they are sup­ported , or at least not criticized, by other participants. The major source of convention is informal grouping

Types of Conventions

a. Conventions by Rational Informal Groups.:

The group has not internalized the formalization and feel alienated so the conventions which are developed in this group will see that it should not be entirely conflicting with the formal­ization. They will work within those limitation that they should not be accused of breaking the law. If someone cross the formalization it will not be bothered till the time it effects negatively to the personal interests.

b. Conventions by Affiliative Informal Groups

The paradigm of democracy is moral involvement. The group internalized the formalization and respect it. They will develop such kind of conven­tions which correspond with the organizational formalization. The group will support each other if their conventions are criticized from the outside. The consider­ation behind the con­vention is positive good will of the whole organization.

c. Convention by Free Informal Groups.

The group foster those actions which benefit to them. The members will see their relationship with organization very distant. If some things go wrong the blame would be transferred to the other group.

3. Organizational Culture

What is culture?  Culture means socially transmitted patterns for behavior of a particular social group. Schein defines culture in the context of organizations as “taken-for-granted assumptions”. The culture is a deep rooted phenomenon of the system. An initial difficulty in the study of culture is that we are not in the habit of analyzing cultural patterns; we seldom are even aware of them.

The assumption “taken-for-granted” does not develop in vacuum rather it has some back­ground. And it is possible that we have forgotten those back­grounds. There are many patterns in the society which are followed without being questioned. It requires a detailed study to find out how & why those patterns have been existing in the society, so the same goes with the organ­izations. The older the organization, the stronger the culture. Formalization, individual interpretation, the developed informal grouping, and the developed conventions are the main ingredients of organizational culture.

It is the individual interpretation of formalization day-to-day interaction and communication leads to informal grouping. These factors are the one on which a culture is based on. The alien­ated, Positive, and negative feeling of participation leads to different type of culture, which are mentioned below.

Three Types of Cultures

a. Alienated Culture:

It indicates that conflicts are present but  participants follow principles of the organization. The basic assumption of such kind of culture is that the formal rules & regulations are more important then showing & resolving underlying conflicts. It does not matter if conflicts are solved or not, but it is expected that participants must fulfil their  formal & basic duties. There are more probabilities  that the alienated culture we find in the rational structure. The reason is that this structure supports single-loop learning. And it restricts voice action by the participants. The rational structure is more interested to foster non-accommodative behavior which means there would be rational informal grouping. The cognitive disconsonance is settled by being alienated in the organization.

b. Democratic Culture:

The basic assumption behind democratic culture is that conflicts should be brought into the picture so that they can be analyzed and solved amicably. As I discussed earlier that democratic structure is based on reasonableness and it supports double-loop learning. It gives provision to positive voice action which means that participants can be  disagreed without developing a hard feelings for  each other. It relies on accommodative behavior which leads to compromise. The compromising attitude prefer to have a democratic informal grouping It gives chance for voice action so that energies should not be misused.

Antagonistic Culture:

It is based on “what I am saying is correct and   should be accepted”. The choice of “should be”    brings the antagonistic culture in the organization. Partici­pants are not open in their dealing and they develop a collaborating assumption in the long run which says “you do what you like, I shall do what I like”. Threats of participants to each other is a common feature of the game.

The Article is based on my thesis.

Nadeem Yousaf