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Stages Of Group Development

The members may already know each other or they may be total strangers. In either case, there is a level of formality, some anxiety, and a degree of guardedness as group members are not sure what is going to happen next. ” These are some of the questions participants think about during this stage of group formation. Because of the large amount of uncertainty, members tend to be polite, conflict avoidant, and observant. They are trying to figure out the “rules of the game” without being too vulnerable.

At this point, they may also be quite excited and optimistic about the task at hand, perhaps experiencing a level of pride at being chosen to join a particular group. Group members are trying to achieve several goals at this stage, although this may not necessarily be done consciously. Often this can be accomplished by finding some common ground. Members also begin to explore group boundaries to determine what will be considered acceptable behavior.

Final Words On Stages Of Group Development

Prior to students viewing the film Glory Road¸ the instructor for the agricultural leadership course taught a lesson about Tuckman and Jensen’s Stages of Group Development. The lesson was lecture based and included a group activity in which students were asked to correctly define and place in order the stages of the model. According to Levi , “There are many stage theories of group development” (p. 38). Many of these theories have similar elements, which seek to explain why groups take time to develop before they can become productive, and why groups go through series of conflicts . One of the best-known group development stage theories was developed by Tuckman and Jensen , and “focuses on the development of internal relations among team members” (Levi, 2007, p. 38). This is one of the most stressful periods in the development of the team. Members know each other better and are starting to defend their place in the team and their point of view.

Principles Of Management

What is the first stage of group formation?

The first stage of group development is the forming stage. This stage presents a time where the group is just starting to come together and is described with anxiety and uncertainty. Members are discreet with their behavior, which is driven by their desire to be accepted by all members of the group.

” This trial phase may also involve testing the appointed leader or seeing if a leader emerges from the group. At this point, group members are also discovering how the group will work in terms of what needs to be done and who will be responsible for each task. This stage is often characterized by abstract discussions about issues to be addressed stages of group development by the group; those who like to get moving can become impatient with this part of the process. This phase is usually short in duration, perhaps a meeting or two. During stage 1, teams are meeting, learning about each member, and beginning to discuss project goals. This activity was conducted in the Team Leadership class at Texas Tech University.

stages of group development

Proper Team Support

When collective efficacy is high, groups tend to perform better. For example, many groups or teams formed in a business context are project oriented and therefore are temporary in nature. Alternatively, a working group may dissolve due to an organizational restructuring. Just as when we graduate from school or leave home for the first time, these endings stages of group development can be bittersweet, with group members feeling a combination of victory, grief, and insecurity about what is coming next. For those who like routine and bond closely with fellow group members, this transition can be particularly challenging. Group leaders and members alike should be sensitive to handling these endings respectfully and compassionately.

Team members encounter difficulties associated with the transition from individual work to teamwork. As at any other stage, the most important thing is to set clear goals, deadlines, and standards, prioritize, provide resources, discuss all decisions with the team, and praise for small successes. Well-developed teaching skills for training and encouraging team to work autonomously, at the latter stages of group development. Now you know more about the forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning activities, you’re almost ready to get your team together. However, before you start, let us share some useful tips, so that the process will go smoothly. The role of the leader takes a bit of a backseat at this stage 👀. Their participation shifts from strong directing force, to gentle guide.

Let Other Members Act As Leaders Or Facilitators

They may even take sides or begin to form cliques within the group. Questioning and resisting direction from the leader is also quite common. ” Although little seems to get accomplished at this stage, group members are becoming more authentic as they express their deeper thoughts and feelings. What they are really exploring is “Can I truly be me, have power, and be accepted? ” During this chaotic stage, a great deal of creative energy that was previously buried is released and available for use, but it takes skill to move the group from storming to norming. In many cases, the group gets stuck in the storming phase.

Stages Of Group Development: Create Your Dream Team

At the same time, they may also feel some anxiety, wondering how they will fit in to the team and if their performance will measure up. Having a way to identify and understand causes for changes in the team behaviors can help the team maximize its process and its productivity. Each stage of team development has its own recognizable feelings and behaviors; understanding why things are happening in certain ways on your team can be an important part of the self-evaluation process. In order for teams to fulfill their intended role of improving organizational effectiveness, it is critical they develop into working units focused on their goal, mission, or reason for existing.

Effective Team Development With Project Management Software & Tools

They do this by effectively progressing through the stages of development. Identify the stage of team development that your team is at. Groups go through developmental stages much like individuals do. The forming-storming-norming-performing-adjourning model is useful in prescribing stages that groups should pay attention to as they develop. The punctuated-equilibrium model of group development argues that groups often move forward during bursts of change after long periods without change. Groups that are similar, stable, small, supportive, and satisfied tend to be more cohesive than groups that are not. Cohesion can help support group performance if the group values task completion.

Group members begin to explore their power and influence, and they often stake out their territory by differentiating themselves from the other group members rather than seeking common ground. Discussions can become heated as participants raise contending points of view and values, or argue over how tasks should be done and who is assigned to them. It is not unusual for group members to become defensive, competitive, or jealous.

stages of group development


An ideal way to close a group is to set aside time to debrief (“How did it all go? What did we learn?”), acknowledge each other, and celebrate a job well done. Participants focus less on keeping their guard up as they shed social facades, becoming more authentic and more argumentative.

Cooperation And Integration (norming Stage)

  • Performance norms are very important because they define the level of work effort and standards that determine the success of the team.
  • As you might expect, leaders play an important part in establishing productive norms by acting as role models and by rewarding desired behaviors.
  • Later, during the norming and performing stages, norms focus on relationships and levels of performance.
  • Interestingly enough, just as an individual moves through developmental stages such as childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, so does a group, although in a much shorter period of time.

They keep the team in line with the goals, but don’t overly interfere in the process. For a big and successful business, the idea “If you want to do it well do it yourself” doesn’t work. A group of united and skilled professionals is usually behind a high-quality service or a product.

Ob Toolbox: Avoid Getting Stuck In The Storming Phase!

In the second stage, many team members can lose their initial positive attitude and drive. The leader has to set clear goals and explain the reason behind them, monitor the team regularly, but not too much, as well as prioritize and encourage an open resolution of the conflict in a team. At this stage, the roles are distributed, and the schedule of meetings is agreed upon.

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Über den Autor

Benjamin Kratsch
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