FIVE STAGES OF GROUP DEVELOPMENT
By Sherryl M. McGuire, Ph.D.
There are five stages of group development. However, not all groups reach all stages of development. The five stages of group development are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. The stage which many groups do not necessarily reach is the Performing stage. It is possible that a group never develops past Storming, but this will often be either a dysfunctional group or a group in extreme chaos and stress. During the Forming stage, members of the group are generally trying to get to know one another and feel accepted into the group. At this point, no one in the group makes big waves, everyone just tries to get along and find their place. This is often experienced for a month, up to 8 months, if the work group is in the same location. It is also experienced when a group undergoes major changes in staff. If the staff is mostly new, and a few “old-timers” are planning on leaving in a few months, then Forming starts again. In other words, the stages are cyclical, to some degree and under some circumstances. During Forming people relate to one another through sharing joint challenges and joining alliances. Each individual works to identify their particular contribution that is useful, and they begin to “fit” in somewhere. Frequently, a group will single out who is part of the “in” crowd and the “out” crowd within the first couple months of the group’s formation. Then should there be another major change right away, like a re-location, the group may go through the Forming stage again. A new environment, including physical space, culture and adjustments of major responsibilities, can create a need to re-set the group dynamics. It turns out that some members not originally a part of the “in” crowd may earn a place the second time around, while others who had originally achieved being a part of the “in” crowd may fall by the wayside because they are not...
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