Understanding The Tuckman Model Of Team Development


As mentioned previously, material changes in the team structure or working environment may cause a team to return to an earlier stage of development. In 1965, the Psychological Bulletin published an article by Bruce W. Tuckman entitled “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups” . In this article, Tuckman described his research into fifty different studies of stages of group development over time. Towards the end of the article, Tuckman proposed a four-stage model of group development, to which he added a fifth stage twelve years later. The model is still used widely within organisations and has been the foundation of much subsequent research.

At the Storming stage, the team has settled, and individuals or sub-groups are beginning to rethink and challenge the answers given to the questions asked in the Forming stage and testing assumptions. There is likely some conflict and polarisation around interpersonal issues which must be resolved before the group can progress. This is the stage at which team leaders and managers are most likely to need to deal with some resistance to change. Tuckman’s research into team development led him to one of the most widely quoted models of team change. His premise that all teams during their development will experience the stages of forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning is regularly used in team building within organisations. At the Performing stage, any structural issues have been resolved, and team members may adopt a more cross-functional role.

Satir’s Change Model

All the group’s energy is channelled into the task at hand, and individual and team needs can be dealt with simultaneously. With the team issues resolved during the previous phase, groups within the Norming stage understand their roles and purpose and are working to develop and strengthen team cohesion. Any resistance has been overcome by this stage, 4 stages of role development individual anxiety levels will be lower, and team members will be engaged, committed and unafraid to express personal opinions. As the work continues, new standards will begin to evolve, and further roles will be identified and adopted. With these issues resolved, the team will have a common understanding of roles, purpose and ways of working.

Tuckman’s Four Stages of Group Development

The team also needs to be trained in how to resolve its inevitable conflicts during the storming phase of the Tuckman Model. The team will use its knowledge of conflict resolution to come up with agreements and rules for the norming phase of the model. Maybe it is possible to say that has never been a time of greater conflict between members of newly formed teams than during today’s world of huge corporate change, where relationships are made and changed so fast. Satir’s Change Model Family therapist Virginia Satir developed her model after observing families and individuals experience a wide range of changes. Her model identifies four states of change and two key events that act as catalysts within the process.

Raci Matrix

A RACI Matrix establishes who will be Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, or Informed for the tasks, milestones, and decisions anticipated during the project. The team by now requires minimal intervention and demonstrates high levels of collective decision-making and problem-solving. Managers should be sure to continue celebrating successes with the team and strive to prevent unnecessary disruptive environmental changes that may cause the team to return to an earlier stage, thereby reducing performance. Sometimes a team may move back and forth continuously between the Storming and Norming stages, which indicates that some issues within the group are not being surfaced and resolved. The manager of a team during the Forming stage should be highly visible and ready to take the lead. The manager’s role here is to facilitate introductions, provide context, set clear expectations and identify success metrics.

Tuckman’s Four Stages of Group Development

Either way, this is such a significant occurrence that it effectively https://globalcloudteam.com/ signals the end of the team in its current state.

Group Stages

There is usually a polite tone within the group, but the group must be ready to discuss more difficult and controversial topics and become comfortable with conflict if they are to move to the next stage. This stage may be relatively short and painless, particularly within smaller groups, but a lot depends on team members’ individual characteristics and motivations. Team agreements related to the questions listed above may be superficial and unobjectionable at this stage. The team growth framework suggests that unless the issues of processes and feelings have been satisfactorily addressed, it is unlikely that the team will reach the most productive final fifth stage. Theory of Constraints The Theory of Constraints is a set of tools designed to help managers enhance the performance of a system or process. At some point, perhaps at the completion of a task, the team may shrink significantly or break up entirely.

  • As mentioned previously, material changes in the team structure or working environment may cause a team to return to an earlier stage of development.
  • Any resistance has been overcome by this stage, individual anxiety levels will be lower, and team members will be engaged, committed and unafraid to express personal opinions.
  • At the Storming stage, the team has settled, and individuals or sub-groups are beginning to rethink and challenge the answers given to the questions asked in the Forming stage and testing assumptions.
  • With the team issues resolved during the previous phase, groups within the Norming stage understand their roles and purpose and are working to develop and strengthen team cohesion.
  • With these issues resolved, the team will have a common understanding of roles, purpose and ways of working.
  • At the Performing stage, any structural issues have been resolved, and team members may adopt a more cross-functional role.

As all stages have their own focus, they also correspond to a different set of feelings, behaviors and group tasks. The most common is that teams go through a series of different levels before effectiveness is achieved. This stage sees relationships end, and team members will experience a range of emotions, some of which may need management and support. Managers of Norming teams should adopt a coaching style and continue to provide opportunities for learning and feedback. Individual and team efforts should be recognised, and energy levels should be monitored to avoid burnout. At this point, team members are likely to be eager and motivated, although there may be some anxiety and questioning related to the change and their role within it.


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