Teamwork: Group Development and Team

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Team Paper: Tuckman's Stages of Group Development
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...
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