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Models of Management: Tuckman's Forming-Storming Model

06._tuckman_200Tuckman's Forming-Storming model of group development was proposed by Bruce Tuckman, an American psychologist, in 1965. It was his way of explaining how one-off groups come together for a particular purpose, and move through stages of challenges, problems, and conflicts, to ultimately achieve their purpose. It is one of the most widely-known models of management and invaluable for anyone who is responsible for building teams.

The 5 stages of the Tuckman Forming-Storming model of group development are:
· forming
· storming
· norming
· performing
· adjourning.

1. The Forming Stage

In a one-off group, - such as a project, a week-long training course, a new functional team - the forming stage is when people come together for the first time. The atmosphere is wintry, cold and formal. Suspicion, distrust, caution and fear may exist. The main direction of interaction is between individuals and the team leader. Teams can get stuck at the forming stage if trust is low and there is no impetus for development.

2. The Storming Stage

At the storming stage of team development, the group starts to sort itself out. Members of the group start to wonder if they can gain something from being in the group. Instinctive reactions, for and against others, arise. There are differences about exactly how to proceed and whose ideas will dominate.

3. The Norming Stage

After the arguments of the storming stage of team development, growing teams start to emerge with a clear purpose. Agreement is reached on who does what and how. People start to see what they can personally gain from belonging to the team. There are the beginnings of putting others' needs ahead of one's own within the framework of mutual gain.

4. The Performing Stage

At the performing stage of team development, people start to see that the reason for the group's existence is to perform and that through performance, their customers can gain something and so can they. Members now put the team ahead of themselves. They are ready to accept a high level of uncertainty because they face challenges together. There is a high level of accepting others, listening to others, and helping others.

5. The Adjourning Stage

While some teams manage to prolong their success for some time, it is in the nature of organisational life for complacency and self-satisfaction to creep in once a team reaches a winning level. Then it becomes important to look to the future by disbanding and starting the growth cycle once more. Features of disbandment include: re-forming the team to meet new conditions from outside; setting new objectives for existing teams; facing up to changes in the environment; recognising the team's sense of loss when it disbands; letting the past go.

The Impact of Tuckman's Model

Tuckman's Forming-Storming Model of Group Development has become a blueprint for how teams develop. It is especially of value for helping group leaders identify stages that a group is at as a way of leading them forward. In 1998, the Boy Scouts of America adopted the model for their national Wood Badge syllabus for scout leaders.

Other Models of Management:
The Johari Window

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