Software development

Tuckman’s Stages of Team Development

Also, a combination of evolution and game theory has been[when? ] used to explain the development and maintenance of cooperative behavior between individuals in a group. So, to help you further understand each stage, we’re going to delve into the theory and background surrounding team development. In 1965, psychologist Bruce Tuckman published his theory of group dynamics. This theory describes the stages through which a team progresses enroute to optimal productivity. Tuckman’s theory consists of five important stages that really difficult to maintain one by one.

Firstly, the members should be positive and energetic so that other members build positive attitudes toward them. Secondly, smile and Laugh at others when interacting with them. Additionally, nodding in agreement and exhibiting enthusiasm is a useful non-verbal cues to hold effective interactions. Group members should also be patient and open-minded, knowing that the primary tension will decrease with time. Finally, Be prepared and informed before your first meeting to help the group focus on its task.


The Five Stages of Tuckman’s Theory of Communication are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. Although, in 1965, Tuckman proposed a four-stage group development theory but later added the fifth stage called adjourning. Tuckman’s theory assists group members in subduing the group barriers. Tuckman’s group development theory consists of five stages that facilitate group formation and development.

tuckman stages of team dynamics

The important thing is to identify which style suits your current situation. For example, do the team members say things like, “We were really good until…” or “…and then we started having trouble.” This type of information will help you gauge whether your team is still growing. Consider asking your manager or supervisor to evaluate your team based on specific criteria such as customer satisfaction scores, quality metrics, and productivity rates.

Stages of Group Development

Having the wrong person fill a specific role on the team can lead to poor team dynamics. Understanding team member roles are very important to great team dynamics. Team dynamics or group dynamics are the factors that contribute to how a team performs together. As a supervisor and leader, you want to know how to get the best team dynamics out of your group to get the highest production and performance. Understanding the stages will help you understand how to get your team from forming to performing faster.

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The group is now in an optimal state acting as one, clearly more positive cohesive and mature than when the group first started. As a supervisor and leader, understanding the stages of group development can help you progress your group through them faster and build strong team dynamics. It also helps you know what to expect when forming a new group. Too often supervisors think a team is a complete failure when they go through the storming stage.

  • Not all organisations will find this step relevant, as it’s not always the case that teams are broken up once their objectives have been met.
  • It also offers friendship, potential new interests, learning new skills, and enhancing self esteem.
  • For example, it is possible for the team to revert back to the ‘storming’ stage if a member starts working independently.
  • The team members are now competent, autonomous and able to handle the decision-making process without supervision.
  • There is general respect for the leader and leadership responsibilities are now shared amongst the team.
  • If you collect and focus on too many, they may be obstructing your field of view.

Status differentials are the relative differences in status among group members. When a group is first formed the members may all be on an equal level, but over time certain members may acquire status and authority within the group; cloud team this can create what is known as a pecking order within a group. It is important that other group members perceive an individual’s status to be warranted and deserved, as otherwise they may not have authority within the group.

Stage 2: Storming

Tuckman’s model explains that as the team develops maturity and ability, relationships establish, and the leader changes leadership style. Beginning with a directing style, moving through coaching, then participating and finishing with delegation, at which point they are almost detached. At this point, the team may produce a successor leader and the previous leader can move on to develop a new team. The ‘Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing’ theory is an elegant and helpful explanation of team development and behaviour. Similarities can be seen with other models, such as Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum and especially with Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership® model, developed about the same time. Both of these theories and how they overlap with Tuckman’s model will be briefly outlined below.

tuckman stages of team dynamics

The more stable the team is, the easier it will be for the team to build strong group dynamics. You may discover some underlying issues that could affect morale. Do the members embrace new ideas readily, or do they resist them? These answers will provide insight into how mature your team is. To advance from this stage to the next stage, each member must relinquish the comfort zone of non-threatening topics and risk the possibility of conflict. Team members who are afraid of changes, or who have become close friends with colleagues, may find this stage difficult because their future now looks uncertain.

Further to Triplett’s observation, in 1920, Floyd Allport found that although people in groups were more productive than individuals, the quality of their product/effort was inferior. In more recent studies, Marques and colleagues have shown that this occurs more strongly with regard to ingroup full members than other members. Whereas new members of a group must prove themselves to the full members to become accepted, full members have undergone socialization and are already accepted within the group. They have more privilege than newcomers but more responsibility to help the group achieve its goals. Marginal members were once full members but lost membership because they failed to live up to the group’s expectations.

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Decentralized communications make it easy to share information directly between group members. When decentralized, communications tend to flow more freely, but the delivery of information may not be as fast or accurate as with centralized communications. Another potential downside of decentralized communications is the sheer volume of information that can be generated, particularly with electronic media. Furthermore, it appears the four stages of team development that group processes do not evolve as linearly as Tuckman describes because they tend to evolve more cyclically. One of the benefits of working with many different sporting teams each year is the insight we gain in what really makes the difference for sustained success. Dr LaTisha Bader, Certified Mental Performance Consultant on using Athlete Assessments’ DISC Profiling to develop self-awareness and team chemistry.

All athletes will perform at a level under their best at some point. How Coaches manage this impacts the athlete’s future performances. Studies into coaching effectiveness continually suggest everything we say and do as a Coach impacts our athlete’s performance. This article provides two simple athlete feedback mechanisms to use with your athletes to ensure their performance improves with your coaching feedback.

tuckman stages of team dynamics

It is a three step model for giving constructive encouragement and athlete feedback. It’s important to note that even once at this stage, there is a possibility that a team may revert back to another stage. For example, it is possible for the team to revert back to the ‘storming’ stage if a member starts working independently. Or, the team could revert back to the ‘forming’ stage if a new member joins the team.

Tuckman Theory- Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development

Members must learn to set aside their differences and assume a brotherly role from a place of care and concern. Firstly, frustrations and personality conflicts are experienced by group members as they compete for acceptance and achievement within a group. Members have gained enough confidence to become assertive and even aggressive as they pursue positions of power and influence. The group becomes noisier, more dynamic, and physically active in this stage of group development. Usually, members start to speak in louder voices, interrupting and overlapping one another so that two or three people may be speaking simultaneously. Members sit up straight, lean forward, or squirm in their seats.

At this stage, they might prefer to move on to another team where they can be involved in the earlier stages once more. In 1965, Dr Bruce Tuckman was doing ground-breaking work on group dynamics in Ohio. A couple of years later, Dr Meredith Belbin began his seminal research into team behaviours at Henley.

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Mature team members begin to model appropriate behavior even at this early phase. The meeting environment also plays an important role to model the initial behavior of each individual. Members attempt to become oriented to the tasks as well as to one another.

The Robbers Cave Experiment was later used to support realistic conflict theory. Other prominent theories relating to intergroup conflict include social dominance theory, and social-/self-categorization theory. Zajonc hypothesized that compresence elevates an individual’s drive level which in turn triggers social facilitation when tasks are simple and easy to execute, but impedes performance when tasks are challenging.

Social orientation theory considers the way a person approaches social situations. In The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life , Erving Goffman assumes that individuals can control how they are perceived by others. Zajonc observed two categories of behaviours—dominant responses to tasks that are easier to learn and which dominate other potential responses and nondominant responses to tasks that are less likely to be performed.

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A key role in a group is the leader, but there are other important roles as well, including task roles, relationship roles, and individual roles. Functional roles are generally defined in relation to the tasks the team is expected to perform. Individuals engaged in task roles focus on the goals of the group and on enabling the work that members do; examples of task roles include coordinator, recorder, critic, or technician. A group member engaged in a relationship role is focused on maintaining the interpersonal and emotional needs of the groups’ members; examples of relationship role include encourager, harmonizer, or compromiser. Group dynamics is a system of behaviors and psychological processes occurring within a social group , or between social groups . Tuckman studied teams from formation to completion of a task and identified characteristics of each stage of team development – forming, storming, norming and performing.