Dr. Tuckman's Stages in a Work Related Group Setting

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Interpersonal communication refers to the interaction with others, which subdivide into one-on-one communication, public communication and small-group communication. There are four facets within every communication: sender, receiver, information, and behavior. The sender of the message is the person trying to convey information to the receiver, which is meant to change his or her behavior. Good interpersonal communication facilitates effective learning. Bachrach (2004) believes this communication and feedback model depicts how we give and receive information about others and ourselves.

Effectiveness within a team environment begins with communication; however, to flourish with success, each team must experience five stages of group development known as "Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning" (Tuckman 1965). Developed in 1965, Dr. Bruce Tuckman published the (then) four-stage model of group development. Approximately 10 years later, Dr. Tuckman refined the model and introduced the fifth and final stage.

The first stage of "Forming" is where individuals introduce themselves to group members.

Each individual has a desire for acceptance of others, yet remain cautious. Often referred as the comfort stage, each individual avoids conflict by only gathering information and impressions about each other. This stage is for understanding individual roles and purpose, within the group, and to learn task specifics.

The second stage of "Storming" refers to the competition and conflict within the teams setting. Control is usually the dominant issue here. This is the stage where personalities may clash on ideas and true personalities may be discovered; disagreements will cause angst. Once differences have been settled, they will be able to continue to the next step.

The third stage of "Norming" occurs when members begin to work tightly together; feeling a true part of the team. Ground rules are formally finalized and are now taken more seriously. Conflicts, which arise, are usually settled quickly during this stage.