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The Key Theories of Tuckman’s Model

Analyse the Tuckman’s Model of Group Development.

The Tuckman’s model of group development is one of the most popular models that is used for the analysis of team development. It was proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965, and has explained the different phases of the team development. The theory of Tuckman’s model helps in the identification of the team motive, the problems that can arise and the different solutions to them. This procedure is highly helpful in work planning and delivering complete and quality services. This discussion will highlight the key theories of Tuckman’s model and critically analyse the theories. Moreover, this discussion will also relate the theories to the work experience of a group and also highlight the conflicts occurred in that period and the subsequent solutions. This will help to further analyse the framing of group decisions and how they affect the team. All these theories and analysis will help in the differentiation between work groups and work teams and decide which one is better for producing better results.

Figure 1: Tuckman’s Model (Source: Self- Developed)

The key concepts of Tuckman’s model of Group development consist of four parts. They are Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing (Tuckman, 1965). These four parts help in the step by step analysis of the group’s development and help in the understanding of the different requirements of different stages and how they can be fulfilled.

Firstly, Forming looks into the construction of the team where the team members meet or the first time. According to Tuckman (1965), it looks into their behaviour and how they start interacting with each other regarding the different topics they are to work upon.

Secondly, Storming looks into the second stage of team development. This stage analyses how the members co-operate with each other and voices their opinions (Tuckman, 1965). These stage analyses how the decisions are taken and the different factors that are involved in the process.

Thirdly, Norming discusses the third stage of development when the team is completely aware of their purpose and how they should work to achieve a good result (Tuckman, 1965). The team’s internal co-operation is more compact in this stage and is able to face challenges and problems more efficiently.

Lastly, Performing is the final stage of the team development which measures the performance of the team. The formation of the team is complete by this stage and the members are more responsible about their outlook towards the results (Tuckman, 1965). This allows them to be more critical about their approach to the challenges and issues.

The Four Stages of Group Development

Tuckman’s model has been one of the most popular models analysing the theories of the group development since its inception in 1965. On the other hand, Tuckman himself identified the limitations of his original model and described them to be more generalized and represented the psych-analytical theories instead of a more quantitative research (Tuckman & Jensen, 1977).

The observations of the model was based more on literature reviews and less on the actual analysis of real life group settings. The limitations include the model’s inability to discuss the changes that can happen in a group over a period of time. The co-ordination and performance hence might be affected by the changing attitudes of the team members (Raes, et al. 2015). However, the model does not provide an in-depth analysis of how the creativity of a team can contribute to the solution of challenges and issues faced by the team.

There might be several limitations in the model, but on the contrary, the model is still the essential tool that defines the different stages in the progressive manner (Betts & Healy, 2015). It is deeply rooted in the development of a group’s stages and closely frames the group’s development in a more compartmentalised manner.

A project in the class requires the involvement of different individuals. It is often difficult to understand how the different students would approach the problem and how the primary requirements of the projects would be solved in the due process. In accordance with the Tuckman’s model, the first development of forming was done when we identified the students who were capable of the project. All of them had an independent approach towards the project. The Storming part of the model can be seen when the different students voiced their opinions in favour of the task. Potential conflicts aroused as the part of these clash of ideas and in order to avoid the conflict we held a discussion so that each opinion could be judged with primary importance. The third part involves the Norming part, when we found the solution to the conflicts by selecting the best opinions and together took a sustainable approach towards the problem. Leadership played a very important part in this stage of development as the leader directed the different members to their roles. The final part involves the performance part, when the students took up different responsibilities and have a positive approach towards the task. This helps in the co-ordination among them and produce the desired results according to the requirements of the task.

Advantages and Limitations of Tuckman’s Model


Conflicts are common in group works. Firstly, they arise due to the clash of ideas of the different team members. Secondly, these conflicts are also based on the factors such as the position of power or leadership. The first type of conflict occurs due to misunderstanding or trying to establish one’s dominance in the team (Zhu, 2016). When the team meets for the first time, the individuals may or may not to be known to each other. However, each of the members have an independent approach towards the task. According to Zhu (2016), whenever any contrary beliefs arise the tendency of conflict is an inevitable probability. The second conflict arises due to the power position and leadership issues. Every member wants their voices to be heard and being the leader is the most convenient way to do that. Choosing a leader creates conflict in a working group. Our team for the class project experienced similar problems but we took a positive approach and discussed the problems and chose the best solution in order to solve the issue.

Group decisions are the most important factor of a teamwork. A proper positive approach is required for the sustainable development of the group. It is the ability of a proper leader to consult the other team members and accordingly take a proper decision for the team which can involve all the team members (Thürmer, Wieber & Gollwitzer, 2015). The pros of such decision making leads the team members to have a positive attitude towards each other. The cons of such decisions however, might supress the best decisions due to lack of popular support from the other team members.

The work group consists of individuals who work as interdependent on each other for the accomplishment of tasks. The work group is controlled by a leader who takes decisions along with the team members and works together accordingly for a common cause (Huczynski, Buchanan & Huczynski, 2013). Conflicts are rare in a work group as the decisions are taken in group discussions. The work team consists of individuals who work independently for a common project. The purpose of the leader is to motivate the team members and help them achieve the goal. However, conflicts arise in a team as everyone has an independent approach towards the task. According to this analysis the work team can be seen to be more efficient, as they can have a more creative approach to different challenges and there can be different ideas which can solve the issues. Moreover, it creates a positive environment which enhances productivity.

The above discussion significantly highlights the different theories involved in Tuckman’s model of group development. The different stages and the developments help to identify the efficiency of team and the different courses of it. Hence, it can be concluded that the study and proper development of a team is very important for the team to survive and produce quality results.

References:

Betts, S., & Healy, W. (2015). Having a ball catching on to teamwork: an experiential learning approach to teaching the phases of group development. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 19(2), 1.

Huczynski, A., Buchanan, D. A., & Huczynski, A. A. (2013). Organizational behaviour (p. 82). London: Pearson.

Raes, E., Kyndt, E., Decuyper, S., Van den Bossche, P., & Dochy, F. (2015). An exploratory study of group development and team learning. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 26(1), 5-30.

Thürmer, J. L., Wieber, F., & Gollwitzer, P. M. (2015). A Self?regulation Perspective on Hidden?profile Problems: If–Then Planning to Review Information Improves Group Decisions. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 28(2), 101-113.

Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological bulletin, 63(6), 384.

Tuckman, B. W., & Jensen, M. A. C. (1977). Stages of small-group development revisited. Group & Organization Studies, 2(4), 419-427.

Zhu, H. (2016). Avoiding conflicts by group role assignment. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Systems, 46(4), 535-547.

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