Group Development

Working in a group can be fascinating and challenging. A group, just like human beings, passes through many stages of growth until it matures. Each of these stages shows different characteristics. Group leaders face many challenges as groups pass through these stages of growth as was explained by (Smith, 2005).

Several models show how the stages of growth determine the behavior of group members. One of these models is Tuchman’s model of group development. This model shows five stages through which a group passes in its growth. They include forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning (Atherton, 2009).

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Forming stage is where team members come together to build a group. At this stage, members are shy, they do not know one another, show some fear, are very uncertain, and concerns of maintenance are rooted in the newly created group (Smith, 2005). Issues that may cause conflict and hinder the coming together of group members are avoided as much as possible.

Leadership is not well defined. The main focus here is defining group roles where each member is assigned a role to play. However, not much is done by the team members because issues such as conflicts and criticism do not take place.

Unity of purpose is the main point to be stressed here. At this stage, team leaders take much control and give directions to team members on what to do and how. Members of the team are much involved in exchanging with one another and get to know each other by creating new friends. These characteristics exist until the group moves on to the next stage (Atherton, 2009).

The second stage of growth is the storming stage. Characteristics of the group at this stage are that team members come up with new ideas that at times conflict. There is competition on more important ideas and whose ideas gets attention and are valued. Here confrontations in presenting ideas may occur and the team searches for the best ideas and how to put them into practical use.

Moving from this stage to the next depends on how quickly team members become mature (Atherton, 2009). It is a very important stage in team development. The strength of the team and its future growth depends on this stage as it is where team members learn to tolerate one another.

Conflicts sometimes may cause some team members to leave the group as they may find it painful if others’ ideas and perspectives are regarded as more important than theirs. Leadership at this stage is very important as members may need mentorship to stay on. Once members at this stage have solved their differences, the team becomes more cohesive and members now work as a team to fulfill the team’s goals. Atherton (2009) says that the team emerges stronger and moves on to the next stage, norming.

At this stage, team members have resolved their differences, set rules, guidelines, and values to be followed. Team members have learned to trust one another and work as a team. Team members are responsible for their conduct and can make decisions independently. A sense of achievement prevails within the team, as each team member learns to appreciate views of other members. This stage gives rise to the next stage (Smith, 2005).

Performing stage is where team members show the characteristics of working smoothly to achieve the team’s goals. Atherton (2009) says that effectiveness of the team members is now a determining factor. Team members can make independent decisions, are more competent, and work for the benefit of the team they regard the team as their own and try to make it as beneficial to them as possible.

Many teams go through this stage again and again. Roles and responsibilities can change according to needs that may arise and experience of the team members. Members tend to identify themselves with the group and morale is very high. The group starts moving on to the next stage, adjourning (Neill, 2004).

Adjourning as the final stage group members disengage. Members are proud of what they have achieved and recount on their experiences. The task for which the group was set has been accomplished.

From the above discussion, the case indicates that the group was at stage two of its growth, the storming stage with the characteristics of conflict as is illustrated in the above case. Here, mentorship is very important for group members since conflicts are quite frequent.

References

Atherton, J. S. (2009). Learning and Teaching: Group Development. Retrieved March 14, 2010, from
http://www.learningandteaching.info/teaching/group_development.htm

Neill, J. (2004). What are the Stages of Group Development? Retrieved March 14, 2010, from
http://wilderdom.com/group/StagesGroupDevelopment.html

Smith, M. K. (2005). Bruce w. tuckman – forming, storming norming and performing in groups. Retrieved March 14, 2010, from
http://www.infed.org/thinkers/tuckman.htm

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