Study Notes: Formal and Informal Work Teams
||A team consists of a group of
individuals who work together with the aim of achieving specific
tasks or reaching common objectives. There are many different
types of team groupings and these are not only restricted to
the workplace. For example, there may be a Neighbourhood Watch
Committee in your local area or you may be a member of a sporting
||Throughout history it has been recognised that
a group approach in the accomplishment of certain tasks can
be a very effective way of getting things done. The team approach
has also been formally recognised as a legitimate method of
achieving set objectives in the modern workplace.
||The type of team formed and the way in which it
functions depends upon its' particular purpose or goal. In the
workplace, teams may consist of a group of people working in
the same department who have come together to focus on a specific
project. This type of grouping may be referred to as an 'informal
team' and it will form and disband as required.
||On the other hand, most workplaces also contain
more 'formal' work teams where the structure and functioning
of the team is determined by pre-established norms and codes.
For example, the Occupational Health and Safety Committee is
likely to have designated roles for members (such as Chairperson,
minute taker) and contain representatives across different areas
of the organisation. Formal work teams also get together at
regular and pre-determined meeting times to deal with business
arising, compared to a less formal 'as needs' basis. Other examples
might include the department Purchasing Committee or an Animal
While it can be useful to define work teams as having a formal
or informal basis it is also important to recognise that a combination
of these team operating styles is evident across teams in most workplaces.