Team Development

Tuckman’s classic work on how groups and teams form identifies five stages of group development.

  • Forming is characterized by uncertainty or confusion about the purpose, structure, and leadership of the group. There is a tendency to focus on group members’ efforts to understand and define their objectives, roles, and assignments within the group. This stage is complete when individuals begin to view themselves as part of a group.
  • Storming is marked by conflict and confrontation. It is emotionally intense and may involve competition among members for desired assignments and disagreement over appropriate task-related behaviors and responsibilities. It is essential that conflict is managed rather than suppressed. Suppression is likely to create negative effects that can seriously hinder group functioning in later stages.
  • Norming is characterized by cooperation, collaboration, and open exchange of information. Differences of opinion are accepted, and there is an active attempt to achieve mutually agreed-upon goals and objectives. Behavioral norms are established and accepted.
  • Performing is the stage when the group is fully functional. Group structure is set, and the role of each member is understood and accepted. The group focuses energies, efforts, and commitments on accomplishing the tasks it has accepted. For some groups, this level remains constant. For others, development is ongoing.
  • Adjourning is the stage of termination of group activities. Some groups are permanent and never reach the adjourning stage. Temporary groups (e.g., committees, project groups) are disbanded when their purposes are fulfilled. This stage can be marked by very positive emotions centering on successful task accomplishment and achievement. However, it may also engender feelings of loss, disappointment, or even anger.

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