In 1965, Bruce Wayne Tuckman introduced a group model that became influential in the theory of group development. He distinguished five stages in the development of groups and teams:
- Forming is the first stage.
The team gets to know each other. The individuals in the group try to avoid conflicts and are often routinely busy. The team members are also busy finding their place in the group. The trust also needs to be built. At this stage, a task or project can be initiated, but good initiates are often still lacking.
- Storming is also called the conflict stage.
At this stage, the team members got to know each other well enough to criticize each other’s work method and behavior and the relations between them are often much clearer. A lot of people tend to move back from conflicts, even if these are being properly discussed. Someone who guides a team or takes the lead should bear in mind that conflicts are part of the group process and that they are not threatening. Executives often remain directive at this stage.
- Norming, if a team has come through the previous stage well, it is now clear how a team will work on.Everyone has a task now and it is clear who takes the lead at what point. The risk is that people will be less likely to come up with divergent ideas because everyone has become loyal.
- Performing is the stage in which a good combination of collaboration and independently taking responsibilities is developed.A team that reaches this point is able to carry out difficult tasks with limited guidance in a flexible manner. The team members are perfectly attuned to each other and know what they can expect from each other. There are unwritten rules that everyone complies with.
- Adjourning (parting/the farewell stage)The target is reached and the team breaks up.(ed: Tuckman added this stage to his model in 1977)
- Source: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuckmans_stadia_van_groepsvorming
- Other descriptions of these stages can be found via:
According to Tuckman, going through these stages in a chronological order is indispensable for a team to become fully functioning. A team can never perform well if they have not had conflicts together and have not made arrangements (norming stage).
In reality, is seems that these stages do not always occur linearly. Stages 3 and 4 are gone through cyclically. In the initial stages, social and emotional tasks prevail, in the last stages the task-oriented assignments.