Group development


In Human Resources and psychology research it is already an established theory that group decisions and behavior is different from individual decision making and reactions. An example of this is one of our well to do friends engaged a group of medical specialists to treat a family member for not so serious ailment which otherwise could have been treated by a single specialist. The result was tragic because the patient died. Wanting to know the causes our friends engaged an independent super specialist immediately after the patient’s death and it was horrible to hear the conclusion that the patient died by over dose of antibiotics. Instead of a group of doctors if one specialist was engaged in treating the patient, he would have had the sole responsibility and the medication might have been cautious. Likewise a very studious and sober student staying in a college hostel joined his colleagues in an agitation against authority without knowing what they were planning to do. They went to a railroad station to burn down the same. The student who was never aggressive caught fire in the station and died. Result of a group behavior and action.

Groups generally pass through standardized sequence in their evolution. We call this sequence five-stage model of group development. Recent studies, however, indicate that temporary groups with task-specific deadlines follow a very different pattern. In this article, we describe the five-stage general model and an alternative model for temporary groups with deadlines.

The Five-Stage Model

The five-stage group development model characterizes groups as proceeding through five distinct stages:
Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjouring.

The first stage, forming is characterized by a great deal of uncertainly about the group’s purpose, structure, and leadership. Members are “testing the waters� to determine what type of behavior acceptable. This stage is complete when members have begun to think of themselves as part of a group.

The storming stage is one of intra-group conflict. Members accept the existence of the group, but there is resistance to the constraints that the group imposes on individuality. Further more, there is conflict over who will control the group. When this stage is complete there will be a relative clear hierarchy of leadership within the group.

The third stage is one in which close relationship develop and the group demonstrate cohesiveness. There is now a strong sense of group identification and camaraderie. This norming stage is complete when the group structure solidifies and the group had assimilated a common set of expectations of what defines correct member behavior.

The fourth stage is performing. The structure at this point is fully functional and accepted Groups energy has moved from getting to know and understand each other to performing the task at hand.

For permanent work, performing is the last stage in their development. However, for temporary committees, teams, tasks forces, and similar groups that have a limited task to perform, there is an adjourning stage. In this stage, the group prepares for its disbandment. High task performance is no longer the groups’ top priority. Instead, attention is directed towards wrapping up activities. Responses of group members vary in this stage. Some are up-beat, basking in the group accomplishment. Others may be depressed over the loss of camaraderie and friendships gained during the work group life.

Many interpreters of the five-stage models have assumed that a group becomes more effective as it progresses through the first four stages. Although this assumption may be generally true, what make a group effective is more complex than this model acknowledges. Under some conditions, high levels of conflict are conducive to high group performance. So we might expect to find situations in which groups in stage II outperform those in Stage III or IV. Similarly, groups do not always proceed clearly from one stage to the next. Sometimes, in fact, several stages go on simultaneously, as when groups are storming and performing at the same time. Groups even occasionally regress to previous stages. Therefore, even the strongest proponents of this model do not assume that all groups follow its five stage process precisely or that Stage IV is always the most preferable.

It may always be not a case where group behavior and actions yield negative or delayed results. There are needs where a group has to perform all actions as a team. It can be right from Army actions, Dance ballet, Games, Erection & Commissioning of Machinery etc., The application or engaging a group, must be need based and not always. Training must always be imparted to the group to perform as a team for the intended task.