What is Group Structure?

Cite this article as:"What is Group Structure?," in The Business Professor, updated April 13, 2020, last accessed October 23, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/what-is-group-structure/.

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What is Group Structure?

Groups are individuals banded together by a formal or informal process. The structure of the group, whether dictated by an authority or organic from member interactions, will have the following structural elements:

  • Rules – Groups are restricted by rules. These rules originate through a common understanding of all members or through imposition by an authority.
  • Norms – Groups are influenced by informal behavior, called “norms”. Norms stand for what the group sees as normal behavior. These are generally not formally expressed. They are simply understood or intuitive by all members.
  • Conformity – Members of a group are unique individuals. As members of the group, they are required to conform to rules, common understanding (norms), and the expressed values or interests of the group.
  • Status systems – Formal and informal groups have internal status systems. This means that individual members assume or achieve levels of authority, respect, and influence within the group. This creates an informal status system that may be completely separate and unique from any formal hierarchical levels.
  • Group Size – Groups vary in size from two to millions of individuals. When groups are part of an organization, the size of the group is dictated by the demands of the task or situation to be addressed by the group.
  • Group Cohesiveness – Group members naturally form personal bonds with other members. Cohesiveness relates to the extent to which members are collectively bound by loyalty and duty to other members of the group.

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