Tuckerman's Theory of Group
In 1965, Bruce
Tuckerman originally only had four stages in his model of group development --
Norming, and Performing. He later
added a fifth -- Adjourning and Transforming.
This fifth stge is important to understanding groups in organizations as the
dynamic world environment requires organizations to adopt more organic forms of
organizational structure such as task forces and teams and rely on hierarchical
(a.k.a. bureaucratic) structures.
The 5 Stages
of Group Development
The coming together & preliminary socialization phase
Individuals develop & vie for roles within the group
& consensus of roles and decisions
-- Group members focus on achieving commonly agreed upon goals.
Transforming -- After goal accomplishment, the group breaks up & its
members join new teams with new goals & the process begins again.
It should be noted that not all groups, even long-term formal
groups, successfully master each step in the development process. For example,
it could be argued that the United Nations is still in the storming stage, and
most certainly is not in the performing stage.
groups will revert to earlier stages under
certain circumstances. For example, a change in leadership or
addition of new members may cause the team to revert to storming
as the new people vie for roles within the group..
On the other hand, others argue that members who successfully
go through this process gain ability to quickly move through the early
Getting through Each Stage of Group Development
The group initiator should
be prepared to answer lots of
questions about the team's purpose, objectives and external relationships.
The group must be
focused on its goals and avoid distractions.
Conflict resolution and negotiation skills are effective for moving a
group through this stage.
The leader facilitates the
making of large decisions and leaves small decisions to individuals.
-- The leader delegates tasks and projects to the group, and serves as a
boundary spanner by representing the group to others.
Transforming -- The leaders shares credit for goal accomplishment with
team members and assists them in finding new groups. Some organizations
will seed new groups with a core group of high-performers from a prior