Stages of Group Development

Groups generally pass through a standardized sequence in their evolution. We call this sequence the five stage model of group’s development. Although research indicates that not all groups follow this pattern, it is a useful framework for understanding group development.

The Five-Stage Model: The five stage model pass through five distinct stages: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing & Adjourning.

Stage 1: Forming The “forming” stage takes place when the team first meets each other. In this first meeting, team members are introduced to each. They share information about their backgrounds, interests and experience and form first impressions of each other. Stage 2: Storming

As the team begins to work together, they move into the “storming” stage. This stage is not avoidable; every team – most especially a new team who has never worked together before – goes through this part of developing as a team. In this stage, the team members compete with each other for status and for acceptance of their ideas. They have different opinions on what should be done and how it should be done – which causes conflict within the team. Stage 3: Norming

Norming is complete when the group structure solidifies and the group has assimilated a common set of expectations. Stage 4: Performing The structure at this point is fully functional and accepted. Group energy has moved from getting to know and understand each other to perform the task to reach the goal.

Stage 5: Adjourning stage In this stage the group prepares for its disbandment. High task performance is no longer the group’s top priority. Instead attention is directed towards wrapping up activities .Responses of group members vary in this stage, some are upbeat, others may be depressed because of the loss of the friendship they have gained during the work life.

An Alternative Model for Temporary Groups with Deadlines: Temporary groups with deadlines don’t seem to follow the usual Five-Stage model. Studies indicate that they have their own unique sequencing of actions. * Their first meeting sets up the group’s direction.

* This first phase of group activity is one of inertia. * The transition takes place at the end of this first phase (it happens when the group has used most of its allotted time). * A second phase of inertia follows the transition. * Group’s last meeting will be basically for wrapping up the work.

This pattern is called the Punctuated Equilibrium Model:

Group Properties: Roles, Norms, Status, Size, and cohesiveness Work groups have properties that shape the behavior of members and make it possible to explain and predict a large portion of individual behavior within the group as well as the performance of the group itself. Group Property 1: Roles

A set of expected behavior patterns attributed to someone occupying a given position in a social unit. Role Identity Certain attitudes and behaviors consistent with a role. Role Perception An individual’s view of how he or she is supposed to act in a given situation. Role Expectations How others believe a person should act in a given situation. Role Conflict A situation in which an individual is confronted by divergent role expectations. Zimbardo’s - Stanford Prison Experiment

Aim: To investigate how readily people would conform to the roles of guard and prisoner in a role-playing exercise that simulated prison life. Findings: Within a very short time both guards and prisoners were settling into their new roles, the guards adopting theirs quickly and easily. Within hours of beginning the experiment some guards began to harass prisoners. They behaved in a brutal and sadistic manner, apparently enjoying it.

Conclusion: People will readily conform to the social roles they are expected to play, especially if the roles are as strongly stereotyped as those of the prison guards. The “prison” environment was an important factor in creating the guards’ brutal behavior (none of the participants who acted as guards showed sadistic tendencies before the study). Therefore, the roles that people play can shape their behavior and attitudes. Group Property