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Overview of Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development

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You can’t expect a new team to perform well when it first comes together.

Forming a team takes time, and members often go through recognizable stages as they change from being a collection of strangers to a united group with common goals. Bruce Tuckman’s Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing model describes these stages. When you understand it, you can help your new team become effective more quickly.

Psychologist Bruce Tuckman first came up with the memorable phrase “forming, storming, norming, and performing” in his 1965 article, “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups. ” He used it to describe the path that most teams follow on their way to high performance. Later, he added a final fifth stage, “adjourning” (which is sometimes known as “mourning”).

A Team Building session was conducted by Kathy Kirwan on the 21st of September 2018 at the Connolly Building. Kathy began with a presentation of the Tuckman stages of group development – Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjoining.

  • Forming – Initial stage where team members get to know each other and are polite and cautious. Some may be excited, others nervous, while most are uncertain about their role and responsibility.
  • Storming – The most difficult phase of team building. This is where members begin to push against some of the established norms. There can be a conflict of working styles, dissatisfaction with the designated role, lack of clear-cut responsibility, or just inability to cope with the allotted task. This is where the team is the most likely to fall apart and reassurance of team members is essential as experiencing stress at this stage is commonplace.
  • Norming – After storming, the team resolves their differences and is able to work more cohesively. Team members feel committed towards a common goal and progress towards achieving it is rapidly sped up. There can occasionally be an overlap between the storming and norming phase when there is a change in a team member or designated role, leading to a return to the storming phase.
  • Performing – At this stage, the team effort finally leads to achieving the desired objectives. This is considered the easiest phase as the team performance remains relatively constant, irrespective of old members leaving or new ones joining.
  • Adjourning – The final stage where the team disbands, particularly if it was set up to achieve a goal or for a fixed period. It can even be possible to disband permanent teams through corporate restructuring.

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Overview Of Tuckman’s Stages Of Group Development. (2020, July 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 17, 2021, from
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