The Five-Stage Team Development Model

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Introduction

Team development refers to the procedures that are put in place in order to improve the effectiveness of the work groups by helping the group members to be well conversant with the objectives of the organization and their job description. It also helps in promoting good interpersonal relations between the team members. Team development has an indirect impact on the success of the company since it encourages communication among the members of the organization and this promotes a favorable working atmosphere (Bussinessballs, 2009). It also promotes cooperation among the workers by clearly stating to them, the objectives of the organization. Moreover, team development promotes interdependence among the various departments and members of the organization (Bussinessballs, 2009).

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The aim of team development is to enable the members to practice personality assessment and to gain awareness of those factors that are the source of its potency and those that are likely to cause its downfall (Lee, 2008). Team development enables the members of a group to make decisions and engage in those activities that will promote the competency of the organization. In order to develop an effective team, the team leader should have in mind that the team developing process is a slow process and can only be successful if the course is well defined. Nevertheless, the team development process occurs through a number of stages and the speed of progression will depend on the change of the teams’ objectives, the number of people in the team and external influences on the team (Lee, 2008). This paper will discuss the different perspectives of the five-stage team development model.

The five stages of team development as identified by Bruce Tuckman

The stages of team development were first identified by Bruce Tuckman in 1965 as “forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning” (12 Manage. 2010). This model explains that as the team stabilizes and increases in capacity, interaction between the members improve and the head of the organization changes his management strategies. In addition, this model allows for a continuous change in the conduct of the workers and the authority exercised by the management over the members mainly because it allows more authority to be granted to the members of the team. The speed at which the team develops will be determined by the personal attributes of the team members, the kind of duties the team is involved in and the relationship between the group members and the leaders of the group (12 Manage. 2010).

The first stage of the team development process is when the group is created and the group members get together in order to discuss the possible benefits and shortcomings that they may encounter in the group (12 Manage. 2010). The members will formulate the goals and objectives that will govern the activities in the group; they will also assign the duties to the group members though each one of them will be expected to work on his/her role autonomously. This stage will also involve coming up with rules and regulations that will govern the members to conduct while in the group (12 Manage. 2010). The leader of the team will therefore have a role of directing the team building process whereby he or she will be required to develop a clear comprehension of the team’s obligations in order to assist the group in progressing through the various stages successfully.

The second stage, storming, is characterized by free expression of views by each of the group members; this at times results into disagreements between the members who are competing for influence in the group (12 Manage. 2010). The team members at this stage are likely to develop distrust towards each other, and it will be crucial therefore that the group members clearly outline the decision making procedure in the team. In order to prevent the possible conflicts, it may also be important that the group members select the approach of management to be employed in the group (12 Manage. 2010). The group leaders’ role will be to reduce conflicts between the members by encouraging them to develop forbearance and fortitude among themselves. The team leader should clearly define to the group members the goals of the organization and their roles in order to prevent conflicts arising from role duplication. The team leader should also be in a position to come up with the suitable manner of conduct expected from the team members and a feedback mechanism in order to enhance communication in the group (Bussinessballs, 2009). This stage therefore aims at coming up with solutions for the differences between the group members.

The third stage, norming, involves coming up with work ethics that will help in reinforcing the team rules and the acceptable mode of behavior in the school. The group will therefore come up with the procedures that will be used in initiating the desired code of conduct in the group (Bussinessballs, 2009). They will also come up with the right techniques that will ensure the enhancement and sustenance of trust among the group members, At this stage, the team also works at improving the members’ interest in the group by coming up with initiatives that will improve the members continued interest and participation in the team’s activities. This stage also involves the development and enhancement of open communication strategy. Lastly, the team members will also endeavor to encourage healthy competition among its members as well as helping the members to stay focused on achieving the goals of the organization (Bussinessballs, 2009). The role of the team leader in this case is to enhance the involvement of the members in the group’s activities.

In the fourth stage, performing, the group normally has acquired a level of stability and it is characterized by high level of loyalty between the members (Lee, 2008), more so because the members feel united by the investments they have made in the group’s activities. These become the unifying factors for the members and as a result a level of loyalty to the group is observed. Another notable characteristic of this stage is the improved participation and interest of the members in the groups’ activities. At this stage, the members will tend to make decisions as a team and not as individuals (Lee, 2008), mainly because the members feel that they have made a joint commitment to the group and as a result are bound to share both its failures and the successes alike; this encourages cooperation between the members. At this stage, the team is normally able to set up a course of action for achieving the team’s goals by coming up with plans of achieving its objectives and how it is going to conduct its activities. The members are likely to engage in information sharing and are also likely to depend on one another in decision making (Lee, 2008). The role of the team leader in this case is to promote communication among the team members, encourage sharing of knowledge and to promote individual development for each of the members, The leader may also have to play the role of an assistor in this case, for instance, if the group members regress to a former stage, he will act by redefining the course of the team (Lee, 2008).

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The fifth and last stage, adjourning, normally involves the recognition of the successful achievement of the group’s goals (Cameron and Green, 2004). This stage at times may involve the termination of the team especially if the objectives of the team have been achieved and everyone is therefore freed in order to focus on other issues. According to Tuckman, it is important to recognize the individual efforts invested by each of the group members in the organization (Cameron and Green, 2004). It will also be important that the team leaders inform the team members about how grateful the organization is for the efforts each one of them invested in the organization. It may also be important that the leaders of the team take into consideration the susceptibility of the group members who are likely to feel anxious after the dissolution of the organization; this is normally evident if the individual had developed strong attachment to the other team members (Cameron and Green, 2004). The feelings of insecurity are often experienced by individuals with characteristics of high stability or those that have a strong habitual tendency. In the case of a continuing activity, the team members may be elevated to higher ranks of duty thereby altering them as individuals and as a result allowing them to join new group. For an ongoing activity, the groups may relapse into their former groups when fresh members are added to them (Cameron and Green, 2004).

Every team always goes through the five stages discussed above but the speed will differ from a given group to the other depending on the amount of knowledge that the members of the team have, the kind of task that the group aspires to accomplish and the style of leadership employed in the team. In order to enhance the success of the team and a successful achievement of its goals and objectives, cooperation and tolerance among the members is very crucial. The team leader will therefore also play a role of defining the goals of the team, the roles of each of the group members and directing the activities of the team (Hellriegel and Slocum, 2007).

The perspectives on the five stage team development model

This model has been appreciated for its ability to provide guidelines to team leaders on how to manage and run teams and team activities. Through this model, the team leaders are able to handle the conflicts that arise between the team members by clearly informing them about the objectives of the team and the roles that each of the members should play. It also helps leadership in promoting team participation and interest in the team’s actives (Hellriegel and Slocum, 2007)

Another perspective of the model does not paint a good picture about it. The opponents of this model assert that the activities that the groups get involved in do not always follow a linear progression as Tuckman suggested (Hellriegel and Slocum, 2007). This model assumes that despite the high number of external influences on the group, that the group’s activities are never affected by them and that the team’s progress will flow in a clear predefined sequence. It has been found that the model is quite ineffective if applied to bigger groups; this is because the model was mainly designed for smaller groups. This model does not provide clear guidelines on the amount of time required to move from one stage to the next. This makes it rather ineffective in cases where a short period of time is taken in a given stage and as a result some of the objectives of the stage are left unachieved. This model may also be time inefficient like in a case where too much time is spent in a given stage thereby limiting the amount of time that will be spent in the other stages. This model focuses on collective decision making and participation in the group’s activities, individual efforts normally go unnoticed and this at times results in members losing interest in the teams’ activities. The features of each of the stages are never clearly outlined, and this may result in an overlap of two stages thereby causing confusion to a team leader trying to follow the model in developing his team (Hellriegel and Slocum, 2007).

Conclusion

The five-stage team development model is an essential component in the organization that will not only ensure there is cohesion of the workforce but also ensure the objectives and goals of the organization are pursued smoothly. The aim of team development is to enable the members to practice personality assessment and to gain awareness of those factors that are the source of its strength and those that are likely to cause its downfall. Team development enables the members of a group to make decisions and engage in those activities that will promote the competency of the organization. The stages of team development first identified by Bruce Tuckman explain that as the team stabilizes and increases in capacity, interaction between the members improve and the head of the organization changes his management strategies. This model allows for a continuous change in the manner of conduct by the workers and the authority exercised by the management over the members of the team reduces. This is because more authority is normally granted to the members of the team when this model is employed.

References

Bussinessballs. (2009). Bruce Tuckman’s 1965 Forming Storming Norming Performing team-development model. Web.

Cameron, E. and Green, M. (2004). Making sense of change management: a complete guide to the models, tools & techniques of organizational change. London, Kogan Page Publishers.

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Hellriegel, D. and Slocum, J. (2007). Organizational behavior. London, Cengage learning.

Lee, S. (2008). The five Stages of Team Development. Web.

12 Manage. (2010). Stages of team development (Tuckman). Web.

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