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By understanding the phases of a group's development, you not only recognize the phase your group is engaged in, but you can also ensure that each of the stages is dealt with in a healthy and productive manner.

adapted from Tuckman's Model of Group Formation



Characteristic Behaviors:

How to succeed:


  • break the ice
  • let members get acquainted and feel comfortable with each other
  • test social climate of group
  • shyness
  • politeness
  • social unease
  • agreement/lack of conflict
  • lack of confidence
  • spend time getting acquainted
  • develop a positive, inclusive atmosphere
  • discuss needs & expectations for group
  • develop a climate of trust


  • engage in substantive conflict
  • validate each group members' importance as both individuals and group members
  • arguing
  • strong assertion of opinions
  • excitement & exaggeration
  • sometimes a group member temporarily withdraws from group
  • embrace conflict as necessary & helpful
  • encourage each member to fully express his/her opinions
  • apply Universal Intellectual Standards to ideas while critically thinking
  • appreciate group member differences
  • give positive feedback to all members of the group


  • establish predictable patterns of behavior for group members
  • form roles
  • individual group members take on various roles
  • group "personality" develops
  • openly discuss group procedures
  • be willing to examine & change non-productive behaviors
  • assess group goals & need.
  • figure out how to best fulfill goals & needs


  • complete tasks
  • fulfill goals
  • create output
  • evaluate output
  • work - group members are doing things
  • a "flow" is established
  • members seem relaxed & positive
  • complete tasks
  • assess output
  • reevaluate goals
  • reevaluate output in relation to goals & if necessary, go back through other phases as groups needs change



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Copyright Alisa M. Shubb, 1999

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