Some of the downsides of informal structures in an unstructured group are:
- Decision making: people will listen to other because they like them, not because it is a good idea or significant
- Accountability and responsibility: the informal group has no formal responsibility to the wider group. Their influence is not based on what they do and so they can not be compelled to act in the best interest of the entire group.
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When rules are implicit, only those who know how decisions are made can participate. The only way one can know how decisions are made are to spend enough time cultivating friendships with the elites that establish the informal structures of the group. Therefore, informal structures are exclusionary (one must be a member of the elite) and have other negative consequences.
One issue with decentralized systems is that, from the onset, such systems are most appealing to outcasts of other systems. These outcast groups are more extreme (political views, illicit activity) than those using mainstream systems. This can be an impediment to development and growth of a network.
An inverse relationship exists between group size and productivity which shows that group effort does not necessarily lead to increased effort from the group members.