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The function of Groups is to help categorize a users's working roles within your setup. While this sounds fairly similar to Departments, there is a distinct difference between the two, not only in semantics but in functional purposes as well.

The main differences between Groups and Departments are:

  • A group represents a functional purpose. Thus, a user can belong to many groups but can only belong to one department.
  • Groups are usually agnostic from an organizational structure viewpoint. Lets say, for instance, that an organization has 10 departments and each department has a secretary. In this case, Secretary would be a group in itself and the members of the Secretary group would all belong to different departments.

In short, use departments Departments when you are trying to represent a user's placement within an organizational chart, and use groups Groups to represent the various functions a user might carry out.