Types of Groups
If you still have questions or prefer to get help directly from an agent, please submit a request.
We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
- Accounting, Taxation, and Reporting
Law, Transactions, & Risk Management
Government, Legal System, Administrative Law, & Constitutional Law Legal Disputes - Civil & Criminal Law Agency Law HR, Employment, Labor, & Discrimination Business Entities, Corporate Governance & Ownership Business Transactions, Antitrust, & Securities Law Real Estate, Personal, & Intellectual Property Commercial Law: Contract, Payments, Security Interests, & Bankruptcy Consumer Protection Insurance & Risk Management Immigration Law Environmental Protection Law Inheritance, Estates, and Trusts
- Marketing, Advertising, Sales & PR
- Business Management & Operations
- Economics, Finance, & Analytics
- Professionalism & Career Development
What are the Types of Groups?
Groups can be classified based on how they form, their size, function, composition, and authority. Some of the primary classifications are discussed below.
Back to: Business Management
Formal and Informal Groups
A formal workgroup is generally formed pursuant to the directive of superiors or part of an organizational hierarchy. A formal group has a defined purpose that is understood by the group. In an organization, the objectives of a group are to further the organizational objectives. Formal groups may have any of the following purposes:
- Accomplishing a predefined task
- Creating synergy among the activities of individuals.
- Facilitating the decision-making process - either by ideating, conducting research, providing input, or making the decision.
- Expanding knowledge or acquiring new information, skills, or ability.
- Creating social affiliation or acceptance.
Common types of formal group are:
- Boards of Directors - A group made up of senior leaders in the organization.
- Committees - There are generally formal groups designed to research and address on-going organizational needs.
- Task Forces - These are generally formal groups designed to address specific situational or organizational issues.
Primary and Secondary Groups
A Primary Group is a small group made up of closely-related individuals who share a strong personal relationship characterized by high levels of interaction and cooperation. These might include family members, friends, and certain social groups (such as a close-knit religious group).
A Secondary Group is a formal group whose relationship is related to the completion of a specific task. These types of groups generally are not emotionally connected. That is, they do not have a vested interest is the emotional stability of others. Business groups, political associations, community service groups are examples of secondary groups.
Membership and Reference Groups
A Membership Group is one that an individual joins or there is a formal process for belonging to the group - such as signing up or paying dues.
A Reference Group is a group where membership is a result of personal identification as a member of that group. For example, being a member of a religious or political group is often a result of nominal affiliation. There is no requirement for active involvement or a formal process for being a member.
Command and Task Groups
A Command Group is a group in which there is a formalized structure with superiors and subordinates. Superiors issue commands or orders that are to be followed by the subordinates.
A Task Group is not characterized by a hierarchical structure. It generally involves a group of mostly co-equals who come together for the purpose of addressing a situation or task. While there may be a leader or superior in the group, the primary function is not one of command and control.
In-groups and Out-groups
An In-group is a collection of individuals who hold a higher social status than those who are excluded from the group. For example, this can be the most populous demographic group in a society (the racial, ethnic, or religious majority).
An Out-Group refers to a collection of individuals who have common social characteristics or who are a common social status. They tend to be marginalized or less valued within the relevant society as compared to the in-group.