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Managing the Informal Organization

The informal organization is an unintended complement to the organization. It emerges on its own, without conscious intent as a natural and human consequence of the task organization. It is an inevitable part of organization life. Like it or not managers must understand that the informal organization exists and can’t be worked away, banished or outlawed. Attempts to disperse with it without understanding its causes and processes can lead to harmful consequences. As such the manager must learn to accept it, deal with it and integrate it with the formal organization. In dealing with informal system resulting in reactive behavior that blocks formal goals. He must recognize and respect the values, beliefs, norms and loyalties of the group and operate accordingly.


More specifically a manager should:


  1. Let employees know that he accepts and understands informal organization
  2. Consider possible influences on formal system when taking action
  3. Integrate the interests of informal groups with those of the formal organization.
  4.  Keep formal activities from unnecessarily threatening informal organization in general.