The model is developmental in that the issues and concerns in each stage must be resolved in order for the group to move to the next stage. If the group is not able to resolve such issues and concerns, members experience either conflict or apathy, which becomes the dominant group behaviour. If continued attempts to resolve the impasse fail, group disintegration occurs. Successful groups meet and resolve the challenges presented, so growth occurs.
The model is thematic in that each stage is characterised by two dominant themes, one reflecting the task dimension and one reflecting the relationship dimension, as noted in the following table. These themes provide realistic expectations of group behaviour. This is particularly to those in leadership positions, because they can base their behaviour and interventions on these expectations. Appropriate leader interventions then can facilitate the group development process.
The initial stage of small-group development is characterised by a movement toward awareness. In the process of forming, the groups task behaviour is an attempt to become oriented to the goals and procedures of the group. The amount of information available and the manner in which it is presented is critical to group development. Resolving dependency issues and testing are the major relationship behaviours. Understanding leadership roles and getting acquainted with other group members, facilitates group development at this stage.
When orientation and dependency issues are resolved, conflict begins to emerge, signalling the second stage of group development. The storming process involves resistance or emotional responses to task demands and interpersonal hostility in relationships. Group...