Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development [Explained]

Stages of Group Development

Group development means making a group able to perform the given tasks. For the formation of the group, a series of stages is needed to follow. Most organizational experts prefer the five stages of group formation that are famous for group development stages.

It was Bruce Wayne Tuckman, who first introduced the five stages of group development in 1965. The five stages are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. This framework is also known as Tuckman’s stages of group development. This helps to formulate a good group that leads to the success of a team.

five stages of group development

Let’s look at these five stages of group formation,

Stage 1: Forming

Forming is the first stage of group development in which the group members introduce themselves. Individuals asked different questions as they begin to identify with group members.

The forming stage is characterized by a great deal of uncertainty and even confusion about the group’s purpose, structure, leadership, acceptable behavior, and group rules. Members experience a form of socialization as they try to find out what is expected of them and how they will fit into the team.

Forming stage of group development is complete when the members start to think of themselves as a member of a group.

Stage 2: Storming

As the name implies, this stage is characterized by a high degree of inter-group conflict, confrontation, and criticism. The group experiences many changes in the storming stage involving membership expectations, interpersonal styles, problems of group goals and individual goals, demands for performance results, etc.

Members accept the existence of a group, but conflict may develop over various issues such as leadership authority, control, and binding imposed on individual freedom. Group members negotiate roles that are needed for effective group functioning and members tend to adopt and maintain those roles for the duration of the group.

When the storming stage of group formation is completed, there will be a relatively clear hierarchy of relationships among the group. Managing expectations and status is a great challenge at this stage.

Stage 3: Norming

In norming stage group really begins to come together as a coordinated unit, developing close relationships, and demonstrating group cohesiveness.

Members strive to maintain harmony and keep a strong sense of identity. Members want to protect the group from disintegration. They have a “we” feeling with high cohesion and group identity. A keen interest in finding mutually agreeable solutions also develops.

This stage is complete when the members accept the common set of expectations like the fulfillment of roles and responsibilities consisting of an acceptable way of doing things.

Also Read: Paternalistic Leadership Style: Definition, Features, Examples, and Pros/Cons

Stage 4: Performing

As its name suggests, members perform their jobs. Here, a group emerges as a mature, organized, and well-functional unit. Having fully developed the group may now devote its energy to getting the jobs done.

Members are motivated by group goals and are generally satisfied. Job achievement and human resources management are the main challenges of this stage of group formation.

Stage 5: Adjourning

For permanent workgroups, performing is the last stage of group development. However, for temporary committees, teams, and task forces where there is a limited task to perform, there is an adjourning stage.

The group ceases to exist because they have met their goals. During this stage, the attention of the members is directed toward winding up activities.

Responses of group members vary at this stage according to their perceptions about the group’s goal accomplishment. Some may boast about good achievement while others may be subdued over only partial fulfillment of goals.

Some others may be depressed over the loss of family and friendship during the life of workgroups.

Identifying The 5 Stages of Group Development

Forming (Selection/Gathering)

  • Members of the group get acquainted with each other
  • Members have established initial rules and a tentative way of working with each other
  • Members of the group are testing each other to see how compatible they are

Storming (Conflict/Power Gathering)

  • Members are jockeying for positions, trying to determine how they will work together
  • Conflict is frequent
  • Members are making their personal goals
  • Members are becoming aware of their differences
  • There is a lack of unity

Norming (Rule Making/Cooperation)

  • The group has come to an agreement on its purpose
  • Members are clear about what their roles and responsibilities are and how they fit in the group
  • The group has a sense of identity
  • The group members strive to work together

Performing (Duty Accomplishment)

  • Group structure, norms, and behavior are understood and accepted
  • Members know how to work with each other
  • Members can effectively handle disagreements and misunderstanding
  • Differences have surfaced and members have dealt with them
  • The group is focused on accomplishing its purpose

After finishing the 4th of the stages of group development, the result is goal achievement.


As we discussed it is a temporary stage in group development. Groups are adjourned for two reasons. First, the group has completed its task. Second, the members decide to dismiss and close the group with sentimental feelings.

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