Bruce W Tuckman is a respected educational psychologist who first described the four stages of group development in 1965. While looking at the behavior of small groups in a variety of environments, he recognized the distinct phases they go through. He also suggested that they need to experience all four stages before they achieve maximum effectiveness. He refined and developed the model in 1977 with the addition of a fifth stage. Since then, others have attempted to adapt and extend the model although sometimes with more of an eye on rhyme than reason (Chimera Consulting 2001).
His Five Stages of Group Development and Interaction provided us with what became a stable group of dynamics. During his research he determined that there are four phases of group development. These stages are forming, storming, norming, and performing. They are not sequential because groups can be messy and cycle through the phases. The leadership, relationships, and responsibilities also emerge as part of the group process. Forming is when the group first comes together. The interaction between members is typically polite and dull. During this forming stage conflict is rarely voiced directly. The individuals will be guarded in their own opinions and generally reserved because the group is new. This also may be in terms of the more subordinate and/or nervous members who may never recover. The group tends to adjourn to a large extent to those who appear as leaders.
The storming stage is usually when things go bad and the leaders are lynched. Leaders typically appear from this stage automatically. The most important thing is some are unwilling to talk and typically there is very little communication since no one is listening.
At the Norming stage the groups typically begins to recognize the advantages of working together and the group fighting subsides. Every member begins to feel comfortable in expressing their own ideas and they are discussed openly within the whole group. The most significant improvement is that people start to listen to each other. The member's method become established and recognized by the group as a whole.
The last stage of Tuckmans theory is performing. When the group settles on a system there is free exchange of views. There is a high degree of support by the group for each other and its own decisions. The group starts at a level below the individuals' levels and drops until it climbs during Norming. This elevated level of performance is the main justification for using the group process rather than a simple group of staff.
The dynamics of work groups have to be worked at like in relationships. In the workplace the group dynamics are an important unit of activity but one whose support needs is only recently becoming understood. The responsibility of these group dynamics becomes an accelerator for the group process. Thus, mainly due to the group is responsible for its own support. The groups own support is a vital necessity to the success of the group. The group process must be reviewed, monitored and planned. It is the group and management responsibility to allocated time and resources.
It is important that each person within the group is aware of their weaknesses and strengths so that the group can successfully complete the desire tasks. Being open about your strengths and weaknesses will allow each person in the group to help complete the task. While every one in the group may have different weaknesses, mostly another person's strength will out weight other person's weaknesses. It is often a good idea during the forming stage to determine each others weaknesses and strengths so that everyone is aware up front of the plan of action that needs to take place.
The main issue is the problems involved in getting the job done. The second issue is the process of the group work itself. For example, the behavior in which the group acts as a whole and not as a group that is...
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