3.2 . Stages of Group Development 6
According to Tuchman’s theory, there are five stages of group development: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. During these stages group members must address several issues and the way in which these issues are resolved determines whether the group will succeed in accomplishing its tasks. 1. Forming. This stage is usually characterized by some confusion and uncertainty. The major goals of the group have not been established. The nature of the task or leadership of the group has not been determined. Thus, forming is an orientation period when members get to know one another and share expectations about the group. Members learn the purpose of the group as well as the rules to be followed. The forming stage should not be rushed because trust and openness must be developed. These feelings strengthen in later stages of development. Individuals are often confused during this stage because roles are not clear and there may not be a strong leader. In the forming stage of group development, a primary concern is the initial entry of members to a group. During this stage, individuals ask a number of questions as they begin to identify with other group members and with the group itself. Their concerns may include: “What can the group offer me?” “What will I be asked to contribute?” “Can my needs be met at the same time I contribute to the group?” Members are interested in getting to know each other and discovering what is considered acceptable behavior, in determining the real task of the group, and in defining group rules. 2. Storming . The storming stage of group development is a period of high emotionality and tension among the group members. During this stage, hostility and infighting may occur, and the group typically experiences many changes. Coalitions or cliques may form as individuals compete to impose their preferences on the group and to achieve a desired status position. Outside demands, including premature expectations for performance results may create uncomfortable pressures. In the process, membership expectations tend to be clarified, and attention shifts toward obstacles standing in the way of group goals. Individuals begin to understand one another’s interpersonal styles, and efforts are made to find ways to accomplish group goals while also satisfying individual needs. In this stage, the group is likely to see the highest level of disagreement and conflict. Members often challenge group goals and struggle for power. Individuals often vie for the leadership position during this stage of development. This can be a positive experience for all groups if members can achieve cohesiveness through resolution. Members often voice concern and criticism in this phase. If members are not able to resolve the conflict, then the group will often disband or continue in existence but will remain ineffective and never advance to the other stages.
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