Small group development theory


Small group development theory:

Reference:  Tuckman B, Jensen M. Stages of Small-Group Development Revisited. Group and Organization Studies 1977:2,(4);19-26. 


Bruce Tuckman described the following stages of group development.  The adjourning stage was added later, but acknowledged that groups inevitably change.

Learning points:

  • When a group adjourns there may be insecurity and or individuals feel threated from a change – especially if they were close to a team member who leaves.
  • During team formation leadership may need to be more autocratic as there will be little agreement and many peoples’ roles will be unclear.  There may be cliques factions and uncertainty.
  • In the storming phase people jostle for position and to set their place in the group alongside others.
  • During the norming phase commitment and unity will be strong and there will be more social and “fun” activities.
  • In the performing stage there is a clear vision, disagreements are resolved positively, there is very little need for leadership or external direction.

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