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Types Of Groups


Within many organisations different groups are formed at different levels, formal groups, informal groups, primary groups and secondary groups. Some groups maybe deliberately formed, some groups are formed through an informal setting. Below we discuss briefly four forms of groups which are found within a company.

Diagram showing different types of groups
This diagram shows four types of group; Formal Group, Informal Group, Primary Group and Secondary Group

Formal Group

A formal group is created within an organisation to complete a specific role or task. This may be a one off objective such as the launch of a particular product or service or a permanent/ongoing objective such as the provision of Information Technology (IT).

Informal Group

Informal groups are established by individuals who decide they want to interact with each other. Informal groups usually do not have a specific purpose; often the group forms because the group members regularly happen to be in the same location or because they enjoy each other's company. For example people may form a group because they sit close together in an office or live together in a house.

Primary Group

A Primary group is made up of a small group of people who interact regularly. A small team with a leader is an example of a primary group. A family can also be called a primary group. Within the primary group, values, beliefs and culture are all very important.

Secondary Group

When a large number of people get together (who do not normally get together) it is called a secondary group. Secondary group members do not get the opportunity to get to know each other as well as primary group members because the interaction with each other is less than in a primary group. When a secondary group is formed, individuals usually have their own agenda and goals. The relationship they form is not long term and social interaction within a secondary group is likely to be low.


In this article we have briefly discussed four types of group but there are many types of group. The group type will be determined by the setting, the relationship between the members of the group and their objectives. Regardless of the type of group it is important to establish what the group's objective is and how each member of the group will contribute towards that objective. A good starting point is Belbin's theory about team roles or our article about Tuckman's Group Formation Process.


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