Group Working: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing & Adjourning
by Chris van der Leer on May 4th, 2017

The various stages of group development can be explained by means of working example, as below:

Forming Stage

​During the Forming stage individuals are introduced to the other group participants and learn about the tasks they will need to perform. It is essential to ensure the team members feel welcomed at this stage because these first impression set the scene for what is to follow on.
In the project team the group was introduced informally doing a team-building exercise which was designed around the group objectives. This allowed individuals to meet their co-workers in an environment that was non-threatening, thus encouraging individuals to leave the comfort zone and engage in discussions with strangers.

Storming Stage

​As the project was planned out the group seemed to move into the Storming stage. The group members were starting to into conflict with one another as their opinions differed. It was also noticed that the experience levels and opinions of the individual members started to conform to suit the group and started to align to the goal of the group.
It is most likely that this will be the most challenging time of the development of the group; it helps to understand that competition and conflict in a group environment is normal. Balance needs to be found in order for the group to move forward.

Norming Stage

​As the personalities in the group balance themselves out it is likely that they will focus more effectively affectively on the tasks required to meet the group’s goal. When group members are willing to renegotiate their preconceived notion they are affectively moving into the Norming stage of group development.
Actively listening to the concerns of group members is an important characteristic of the Norming stage. Clear communication and constructive feedback enables the team to work together openly. This is particularly important when working in a project group to plan a project because the planning phase of the project requires the input from all individuals in order to plan the execution of the project.

Performing Stage

The project group had some conflict to deal with however they moved quickly into the Performing stage because the synergy between the group members was good and all members of the group were performing optimally. 

This was great because the project manager was comfortable enough with the performance of the group to start to allow the group members to work independently in order to achieve their specific objectives. The project group moved to the performing stage as the project moved to the execution phase.

Adjouring (or Closing) Stage

​As the project wound down the project group started to complete their tasks. When all tasks were complete the project manager arranged for a team dinner to celebrate the group attaining its goals.
This is an example of the Adjourning phase of group development as a group no longer has a purpose to collaborate however the team will have become very close and individuals may feel a sense of loss now that the group purpose is complete and the team are disbanding.
​​This article is taken from a paper written by Chris van der Leer on the development of group processes. It is licensed under CC BY 2.0. This means that you are free to license and adapt the contents of this article by giving credit to the original author.

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