Important points of difference between formal and informal groups are given below:
1. Formation of groups: Formal groups are created deliberately and consciously in the organization by the organizer, but informal groups are created on account of prevailing sociopsychological environment at place of work.
2. Objectives of groups: Formal groups are formed to achieve the legitimate objective of the organization, but informal groups are created by the members of the organization to fulfill their social and psychological requirements.
3. Size of groups: Formal groups may be quite large in size, whereas informal groups tend to be small in size.
4. Nature of groups: Formal groups are stable and may continue for a long period, whereas informal groups are quite unstable in its nature.
5. Number of groups: The number of both formal and informal groups may be quite large, but generally informal groups are more than the formal groups. There may also be overlapping of membership.
6. Flow of Authority in groups: In formal groups, the authority flows from higher to lower levels, whereas in the informal groups all members are equal. In informal organizations, some may command more authority by virtue of their personal qualities.
7. Behavior of Group Members: The behavior of members in the formal groups is governed by formal rules and regulations, while in informal groups, the behavior of the members is governed by norms, beliefs and values of the groups.
8. Media of Communication: In formal groups, the media of communication is prescribed, while in informal organizations, the communication pass through informal channels.
9. Abolition of Groups: Formal groups can be abolished at any time but it is very difficult to abolish informal groups. Since the informal groups are the resultant of natural desire of interaction between human and an organization cannot have control over such groups.
10. Nature of Leadership in groups: Formal organization has official leadership, while informal organization has its own leaders, own goals and own standards.