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Teamwork: Group Development and Team

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    Teamwork is defined as the process of working collaboratively with a group of people, in order to achieve a goal (Teamwork, 2011). Before a team works collaboratively together, team development must take place. In 1965 an American psychologist named Bruce Tuckman published a theory called Tuckman’s Stages of Team Development.

    These stages include Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Tuckman believes that teams must go through these phases to grow and produce results. Years later Tuckman revisited the theory and added the “adjourning” phase.Once one has a clear understanding of each phase, he or she will know that working through the phases of team development will aid in team success The first phase of Tuckman’s Stages of Team Development is forming.

    “In this stage, the group becomes oriented to the task, creates ground rules, and tests the boundaries for interpersonal and task behaviors. This is also the stage in which group members establish relationships with leaders, organizational standards, and each other” (Bonebright, 2009). As the phase name suggests, this where the group “forms. ” It is during this first phase that the stage is set for the success of the team.

    It can be compared with one-on-one first impressions. The initial group forming sets the tone for future group interaction. Individuals come into a group with their own set of strengths and weaknesses and also their own biases. In order for a team to be successful, they must learn to work cooperatively together.

    Team cooperation is established in the forming stage. Team members may already be acquainted or they may use the forming stage to become acquainted. Interpersonal interaction is important for a good group rapport, which is integral to project success.It is important for team members to get along personally so that they can work successfully toward a common team goal.

    In the forming phase team members must also be informed and communicate openly about the project or task. Often during the forming stage group roles are assigned, formally or informally. Knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses can help to assist in appropriate role assignment; interpersonal interaction is an especially important factor in this. The role of the leader must also be assigned or established so that group work can be organized and properly guided.

    Much is accomplished in the forming stage of team development; members come together as a team, establish roles, and familiarize themselves with the task at hand. Concerning Tuckman’s team development model, the storming stage, is where Murphy’s Law applies. This is the stage where if anything is going to happen it does. That is because this is the stage where important issues start to be dealt with and after all, people cannot, and will not always get along (Chimaera Consulting Limited, 2001).

    It is during this stage that group members’ patience can be tested, causing minor conflicts to occur within the group or team.These conflicts will not always be related to the work the group is doing; they can be related to anything from a group member’s unhappiness with his or her job or role in the project, or a dispute between two team members not satisfied with each other’s performance or contribution to the team or group (Chimaera Consulting Limited, 2001). It is during the storming phase of group development that all conflicts should be addressed and resolved to move on as a group and produce successful results. Ground rules must be laid down that keep issue for recurring, no matter what the conflict or resolution.

    The team cannot progress until all conflicts and issues are dealt with (Chimaera Consulting Limited, 2001). Storming is the stage of Tuckman’s Model that can make or break the team. Relationships between team members may be irreparably damaged. In the worst case scenario, the team will be unable to advance from the storming stage and not become a cohesive unit or group again (The Teambuilding Company, 2011).

    So essentially, the storming stage is the ultimate challenge for the team because it can make or break the team depending on its conflict resolution tactics.The third step of Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development is norming. During this phase, agreements, rules, values, behavior, methods, and tools are established. Team members have a clear understanding of what is required of them at the task level in the norming stage.

    They are now competent, autonomous and able to handle the decision making process without supervision (The Executive Fast Track, 2011). In this stage, success is most likely to occur; the process is well described and the team gains commitment from all members on direction and goals. The team has one goal and comes to a mutual plan for team success at this stage.Some may have to give up their own ideas and agree with others to make the team function.

    In this stage, all team members take the responsibility and have the ambition to work for the team success (Wikipedia, 2011). Decisions are handled in the norming process by allowing big decisions to be discussed by all team members and small decisions can be left to a specific team member or a smaller group within the group. Interpersonal relations are characterized by cohesion in Tuckman’s norming stage. The major task of this stage is data flow between group members.

    Feelings and ideas are shared. Solicitation and offering of feedback, and exploration actions related to the task are surfacing. As the group attains this stage of data flow and solidity their interactions are characterized by openness and sharing of information on both personal and task level (Voelker-Morris, 2009). At this point team members come to respect the authority of the leader, and other members begin to show leadership in specific areas.

    Finally, the group attains the fourth and final stage in which interpersonal structure becomes the tool of task activities.Roles become flexible and functional, and group energy is channeled into the task. Structural issues have been resolved, and structure can now become supportive of task performance. This is the performing stage (Tuckman, 1965).

    Some believe that within every person, there is a leader. The fourth stage of Tuckman’s model demonstrates this. In this stage a team should now be well established, know the final goal and each member to know his or her role. The leader’s role diminishes; each member is independent enough, powered by shared vision and his or her own discovered potential.

    Based on previously set criteria the team is aware of its role and each member’s expectations. The team itself is independent as a unit. Conflicts can occur, but there are tools set in place to resolve the problems in a constructive manner. Team is focused on reaching the goal while maintaining positive interpersonal communications in its own distinguished manner.

    Tuckman’s model exemplifies the fit of the leadership style and follower maturity (Hersey & Blanchard, 1988). Personal attachment becomes strongest among and between members, they show care, support.The team is ready to process new projects looking toward leader’s directives and guidance, however minimal. Members do not need detailed instructions or help.

    Leader’s role becomes that of personal counselor, helping in an individual’s growth and improvement as well as interpersonal relations. The leader’s role is to delegate and oversee. All good things must come to an end. In 1975 Bruce Tuckman added a fifth stage to the model called adjourning.

    Adjourning is the breakup of the group. Some people often refer to this stage as the mourning stage because some feel a loss for the team members.The adjourning stage is basically the conclusion; however, teams can sometimes adjourn before all work is complete. After all work has been done, it is hoped that the team can walk away from the experience with a sense of accomplishment, and know that the team’s work was successful.

    A team is the coming together of individuals for a common goal. Team development is the key to a successful team. Each of Tuckman’s stages is an important part of team development. Teams will experience conflicts and must utilize resolution strategies to succeed.

    A team can be successful and reach a common goal by following Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development.

    ReferencesBonebright, D. A. (2010).

    40 years of storming: a historical review of Tuckman’s model of small group development. Human Resource Development International, 13(1), 111-120.Chimaera Consulting Limited. (2001).

     Famous Models. Retrieved from

    htm.Hersey, P., Blanchard, K. H.

    1988. Management and Organizational Behavior. Englewood Cliffs: NJ. Prentice-Hall.

    Smith, M. K. (2005). Bruce W.

    Tuckman – forming, storming, norming and performing in groups. The Encyclopedia of Informal Education. Retrieved from www.infed.

    org/thinkers/tuckman.htm.Teamwork. (2011).

    Retrieved from The Executive Fast Track.

    (2011). Tuckman Method. Retrieved from http:www.12manage.

    com/methods_tuckman_stages_team_development.htmlThe Teambuilding Company. (2011). Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing.

     Retrieved from


    Tuckman’s stages of group development, (2011). Retrieved from www.Wikipedia.

    comVolkeir-Morris, R. (2009). Managing Groups. Retrieved from

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    Frequently Asked Questions

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    What are 5 stages of team development?
    To ensure the team runs as smoothly as possible, and goals are hit, it's in everyone's best interest to implement the five stages of team development: forming, storming, norming, performingforming, storming, norming, performingStorming. This is the second stage of team development, where the group starts to sort itself out and gain each others' trust. This stage often starts when they voice their opinions; conflict may arise between team members as power and status are assigned. › wiki › Tuckman's_stages_of_group...Tuckman's stages of group development - Wikipedia, and adjourning.
    What is the meaning of team development?
    This process of learning to work together effectively is known as team development. Research has shown that teams go through definitive stages during development. Bruce Tuckman, an educational psychologist, identified a five-stage development process that most teams follow to become high performing.
    What is the role of team development?
    Through correct team development, your team members will have plenty of opportunities to build rapport with a foundation of acceptance. When people trust one another, they're more likely to share ideas, collaborate effectively and make the right decisions for everyone and the project.

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