What Are the Stages of Group Development? 2023

Daisy is an experienced SEO specialist, Adam and Daniel work as longtime writers, and Stella brings to the table her editing skills. Similarly, she has established that teams should use warm-up activities — like physical exercise and mind games — to ensure a smooth transition from the Forming Stage to the Norming Stage. In other words, any team setting that requires high performance can benefit from using this model. Furthermore, Rebecca Stroud Stasel cites that people have natural, deeply seated tendencies for either leadership or following leaders. In other words, the energy levels reach their ultimate low in the Storming Stage because the struggle to find the leader and build some structure creates frustration and mood fluctuations.

The Multilevel Perspective is an integration of these analyses into one unified approach. It suggests that group development and success can be best understood by taking into account components found at all levels of analysis. Her results seem to indicate that there is a significant relationship between the length of time that a group had been meeting and the verbal behavior patterns of its members. Also, members of older groups tended to perceive their groups to have more of the characteristics of Stage-3 and Stage-4 groups and to be more productive. Based on these results, Wheelan’s position supports the traditional linear models of group development and casts doubt on the cyclic models and Gersick’s punctuated equilibrium model.

Tuckman’s 5 stages of group development

The overall objective of the group during the performing stage is to complete its mission. “Resolved disagreements and personality clashes result in greater intimacy, and a spirit of co-operation emerges.”[4] This happens when the team is aware of competition and they share a common goal. In this stage, all team members take responsibility and have the ambition to work for the success of the team’s goals. The danger here is that members may be so focused on preventing conflict that they are reluctant to share controversial ideas. During this earliest stage of cognitive development, infants and toddlers acquire knowledge through sensory experiences and manipulating objects.

four stages of group development

McGrath further suggested that all team projects begin with Mode I (goal choice) and end with Mode IV (goal attainment) but that Modes II and III may or may not be needed depending on the task and the history of the group’s activities. McGrath contended that for each identified function, groups can follow a variety of alternative “time-activity paths” in order to move from the initiation to the completion of a given function. Fisher outlines four phases through which task groups tend to proceed when engaged in decision making.

Further developments

In this stage, you and your team get to enjoy synergy — a state where work flows smoothly. On another occasion, Daniel invents the team’s anthem — which reflects everyone’s tendency to arrive to meetings 2 minutes after the agreed time and then apologize about it too much. Of course, you can only move on to this more pleasant stage if you’ve addressed and answered all the vital four stages of group development questions from the previous, Storming Stage. Once the first articles are finished, the review process brings a couple of more disagreements. Daisy has a couple of notes on the sources and anchors used — this time, Adam agrees, but Daniel gets defensive again. Everybody on the team is all ears, and they exchange opinions — but do their best to avoid direct confrontation.

The storming stage is where the more dominant of the group members emerge, while other, less confrontational members stay in the comfort and security of suppressing their feelings just as they did in the previous stage. The forming stage represents https://www.globalcloudteam.com/ a time when the group is just starting to come together and is characterized by anxiety and uncertainty. Another part of adaptation is the ability to change existing schemas in light of new information; this process is known as accommodation.

Chaos Theory of Nonlinear Dynamics

Later, during the norming and performing stages, norms focus on relationships and levels of performance. Performance norms are very important because they define the level of work effort and standards that determine the success of the team. As you might expect, leaders play an important part in establishing productive norms by acting as role models and by rewarding desired behaviors. In the adjourning stage, most of the team’s goals have been accomplished. The emphasis is on wrapping up final tasks and documenting the effort and results. As the work load is diminished, individual members may be reassigned to other teams, and the team disbands.

four stages of group development

It can be tempting to avoid conflict, but doing so doesn’t help team building. They can rely on each other to do the hard work they were hired to do, despite any differences that arise. This is also the time in which teams can celebrate everything they have achieved together.


Here, it’s typical for teammates to feel excited, anxious, and curious about what lies ahead. To properly and clearly identify these in group form, we use the 4 stages of team development. Whether you’re building a new team or working on a specific project with cross-functional partners, it’s important to establish your team’s mission early on.

  • Piaget was one of the first to identify that the way that children think is different from the way adults think.
  • Below are descriptions of the central elements of some of the most common models of group development (See Smith, 2001 [4] and Van de Ven & Poole, 1996 [2] for a more complete list of theories and models).
  • Morale is high as group members actively acknowledge the talents, skills, and experience that each member brings to the group.
  • To make the story more concrete, here’s a brief overview of the behaviors, feelings, group needs, and leadership needs in the Storming Stage.
  • Certain behaviors can indicate that a child has developed some of the key skills from this stage.

Last but not least, the Adjourning Stage — often called the Mourning Stage for obvious reasons — ends the whole project cycle. Depending on the leader of the group, the Adjourning Stage can either be a leeway into future endeavors or it could impact future collaboration. Since the Storming Stage can be infused with power struggles, I sat down with a leadership coach, Alexis Haselberger, to dive deeper. She told me that we must do our best to name the problems and address them properly — especially at this point, where we risk getting stuck in this stage. Speaking of ends, the Adjourning Stage is the bittersweet cherry on top of each team and project, and it will happen whether you want it or not. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on your accomplishments and think about what you learned.


Uncertainty is high during this stage, and people are looking for leadership and authority. A member who asserts authority or is knowledgeable may be looked to take control. When studying group development and dynamics, it is important that all levels of analysis are taken into consideration. While it may be tempting to focus mainly at the group level, important information may be present either one level up (the organizational level) or one level down (the individual level).

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Now, these 5 stages are vital to help you anticipate your team effectiveness. Simply put, that’s your ability to be efficient and productive with your work, both as individuals and as a group. Some teams do come to an end, when their work is completed or when the organization’s needs change. While not part of Tuckman’s original model, it is important for any team to pay attention to the end or termination process. Behaviors observed during the Forming stage may include lots of questions from team members, reflecting both their excitement about the new team and the uncertainty or anxiety they might be feeling about their place on the team. As you learn about their progress, you ask them questions about their processes and notice how they collaboratively provide constructive answers.

McGrath’s Time, Interaction, and Performance (TIP) theory

The 3-month content project is mostly done, and everyone’s focus dissolves. They recently published all 10 articles and received praise from upper management. For illustration, the person with the largest knowledge about the project’s subject takes unofficial charge. Interestingly, the 5 stages of group development model can even be useful in the theater.

four stages of group development