Teams and Organizations as Social Systems

In every human system (team or organization) there is a formal structure aimed at achieving desired results aligned with a specific purpose, and an informal structure that, if not known, can negatively affect the effectiveness of the previous one. The informal structure emerges from repeated cycles of interaction and influence through which people try to satisfy needs important to them (security, belonging, recognition, etc.). In this monograph we introduce the formal and informal processes that occur in teams and organizations and the main informal structures that arise from non-visible, non-conscious interactions between the people who form them. Among others, the affinity network, the role structure and the status hierarchy stand out.


  • Know human organizations as living social systems, the distinction between formal (designed) and informal (emerging) processes and how the latter affect the former.
  • Know the main informal structures and learn to work with them to improve the effectiveness of a team or organization.



  • Organizations as Living Systems.
  • Formal and informal processes in human systems.
  • Affinity, roles and status, three emerging structures.
  • Roles we play.