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Bruce Tuckmans Theory of Group Development

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This essay will look at Bruce Tuckman's theory of group development and how it was applied to group work which I have completed. Bruce Tuckman first proposed the forming-storming-norming-performing model of group development in 1965. He maintained that all four stages were necessary for a team to grow. The fifth stage, adjourning or mourning, of Tuckman's theory came in 1977 jointly with Mary Ann Jenson. (Wikipedia ) For the purpose of this essay I will be using the example of setting up a small business as part of the leaving certificate. The aim was to set up the business, make the product and sell the product on 'Market Day'.

Tuckman's theory is one of the best known team/group development theories and has formed the basis for many further developments including Belbins team inventory, Fishers theory and Tubbs small group development. Tuckman's theory focuses on the way in which a group tackles a task from the initial formation of the group through to the completion of the task. Tuckman's has said "All the phases are necessary and inevitable in order for the team to grow, to face challenges, to tackle problems, to find solutions, to plan work and to deliver results" (Tuckman ). I will now look at each of the five stages of Tuckman's theory and go into them in more detail.

The first stage is the forming stage. This is where the group comes together for the first time and the task is set. This is usually done informally on the first day. Initially everyone is working independently and can appear anxious. Some time is spent planning and bonding. The group leader played a big part in this stage as the guide the group. The group leader must bring the group together and ensuring that the group has the ability to develop a good relationship.

The next phase of Tuckman's theory is storming. The group start to address the task that was set out for them. Different ideas come up and many compete for acceptance. The groups own personalities grow throughout this stage. The group start to show assertiveness, maturity and patience in order for the group to grow and members feel valued. If this stage is managed badly this phase can be very destructive for the group. Conflict can arise and many groups don't move on from this stage.

The third stage of Tuckmans theory is norming. During this stage effectiveness increases and the group starts to develop an identity. Each member of the group adjusts their behaviour towards each other. A conscious effort is made to resolve any problems and with maturity. Motivation levels are greatly increased. The group leader can take a step back from the group at this stage as individual members take greater responsibility. The risk here is that the group would lose their inicitive and become complacent and lose their drive that got them to this stage. However individuals may feel anxious again. Groups may revert back to the storming stage



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