At my workplace, I am one of two "technical" staff for our department, but there is a central IT department as well which is well funded and heavily staffed. They're happy to manage the SharePoint servers, but not the security model or content (that's our job). The central systems are Linux based, and though there are Windows systems with AD groups, they were implemented as an afterthought - all primary group management is done in Linux.

I want to implement hierarchical multiple-axis role-based access in SharePoint, where new/existing staff are added to a "role" (read: group) which itself is a member of other groups. For instance, a role "Professor of Accounting" might be a member of "School of Accounting", and also "Professors", which would then roll up to "All School Staff" and "All Academic Staff" respectively, and ultimately to "All Staff".

We are running on SharePoint 2007, which allows declaring AD groups as members of SharePoint groups, which would be the ideal scenario here. Unfortunately, every single change to AD groups would have to go through central, which would be a bureaucratic and administrative nightmare. Turnarounds on simple change requests are as much as 2-3 weeks, meaning it could take years just to implement the baseline security profile. I would prefer a situation where we declared the roles as SharePoint groups, and manage it entirely ourselves.

I know in SP 2007 a SharePoint group cannot be a member of another SharePoint group. Are there any post-2007 versions of SharePoint that we could upgrade to that would allow this?

  • Thanks for the answers, up-votes are in for both, but I'm a newbie to this SE site so they won't kick in for a bit. I marked Waqas' answer as the correct one as it went into more detail and provided links to some resources that went into depth. Looks like I'm back to the drawing board, or rather the negotiating table, with our AD administrator!
    – e_i_pi
    Dec 12, 2016 at 1:52

2 Answers 2


You cant add a sharepoint group inside another SharePoint Group. This statement is valid for all versions of SharePoint. SharePoint groups are flat. Each site contains 1 level of groups and you cannot nest 1 SharePoint group inside of the other SharePoint Group.

Check this: http://sharepointmaven.com/active-directory-groups-sharepoint-groups/



No, You can't add 2 groups inside each other. You can however map SP Groups to AD Group.

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