Group Development Phases in Organizations

Concrete Experience and Reflective Observation

Tuckman elaborated the group development phases to explicate the development of group members’ behavior over time. It consists of five stages: the formation stage (Forming), the storming stage (Storming), the settlement stage (Norming), the performance stage (Performing), and the completion stage (Adjourning). Consistent with Tuckman, I consider that all phases are necessary and unavoidable for group growth, problem-solving, planning, and achieving results (Forsyth, 2018). In my leadership, I applied all of the specified phases. If I had to work with a new team, I started with the first phase, but when the group members were familiar with each other, I assessed their progress and used the second or third phase to begin.

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When a group is formed, its members carefully examine the limits of acceptable behavior in the group. This is the stage of an individual’s transition from the state of an independent person to the status of a group member (Forsyth, 2018). The next storming is, probably, the most difficult one for the team. Metaphorically, it can be compared with the situation when the group members made a leap into the water and, thinking that they are drowning, start to rush about. They understand that the task is more difficult than expected, and they become hot-tempered, touchy, accusing, or overly fanatical. The stage of normalization helped the group members to determine loyalty levels and assign responsibilities. They accepted a group, its basic rules, roles, and individual characteristics of other team members. As they began to consider their differences, they had more time and energy for a project, becoming capable of significant progress.

At the performing stage, the group started to accomplish the tasks effectively. The group members settled their relationships, formulated the expectations, identified and accepted each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and learned their roles. They diagnosed and solved problems to make the necessary changes. People understood the personal and group processes, constructive self-change importance, and satisfaction with the group’s progress (Forsyth, 2018). In my turn, I managed the work with problems based on my ability to anticipate and prevent them. I promoted the sense that the group is important to its members to closely recognize all the problems. Thus, my team became an effective unit and began to work productively. Since the adjourning stage is used only when the team finishes its existence, I did not use it.

Theories and Principles/Abstract Conceptualization

An interested yet inexperienced beginner needs instructions and strong leadership. Then he or she gradually masters the work, but enthusiasm begins to fade. Then, the leader encourages employees to be independent and finding solutions in specific situations. Further, professionalism grows, but motivation may decrease due to fatigue or difficulties with self-realization.

Theory 1

Empowering leadership theory claims that leaders should perceive the needs of the personnel as their own and act accordingly. Cheong, Spain, Yammarino, and Yun (2016) report that such people are usually optimistic and confidently work on solving problems. Empowering leadership can convince, encourage, and when expressing disapproval, do it without affecting the personal dignity of subordinates.

Theory 2

Situational leadership theory implies that for effective management, the leader must choose the style of interaction with employees, depending on the level of their ability to perform a task and motivation. This ability refers to the totality of knowledge, skills, and experience, while motivation means an employee’s desire to work and internal confidence. This theory includes four styles of leading people: coaching, support, delegation, and strict instructions.

Theory 3

Wu and Parker (2017) state that the attachment theory is beneficial in realizing the relations between employees and between them and the leader. Depending on the specific relations, the leader may apply empathy, resources, criticism, and other instruments. The attachment theory provides the opportunity to design dream teams and great leaders.

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The duration and intensity of the discussed phases vary from group to group. Sometimes the fourth stage is achieved in one or two meetings; otherwise, it may take several months. The main issue at this moment is to advance the skills and knowledge of employees and support their ideas.

Testing and Application/Active Experimentation

During the first stage of forming, the group members reported that they experienced excitement, suspicion, optimism, and anxiety about future work and ways to interact with other members. I used my leadership skills to lead them on making initial steps to adapt to the group, defining the tasks, and deciding how they will be carried out. During the second stage, my employees were characterized by resistance to the fulfillment of the task and new approaches to the improvement of quality, a lack of unity, and increased tension (Forsyth, 2018). Unrealistic goals, as well as continued discussion of problems among group members, occurred, even when they agreed on a specific outcome. Many team members felt a sense of tension, but gradually they begin to understand each other. I utilized the attachment theory as well as empowering and situational leadership during the phases of my group development.

As a result, the psychological and emotional tension was reduced, and initially, competitive relations were replaced by more cooperative ones. In other words, since the team members understand that they would not “sink,” they stopped rushing and start helping each other to “afloat.” I noticed the acceptance of group membership, mutual assistance and focus on the work, and a constructive expression of criticism. Furthermore, employees conducted attempts to achieve harmony and avoid conflicts, building more trusting relationships along with the feeling of belongingness to a group, common spirit, and common goals. The basic rules and group norms were established at this phase.


Cheong, M., Spain, S. M., Yammarino, F. J., & Yun, S. (2016). Two faces of empowering leadership: Enabling and burdening. The Leadership Quarterly, 27(4), 602-616.

Forsyth, D. R. (2018). Group dynamics (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Wu, C. H., & Parker, S. K. (2017). The role of leader support in facilitating proactive work behavior: A perspective from attachment theory. Journal of Management, 43(4), 1025-1049.

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