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The following article
was written by Coleman Patterson and
appeared in the Business section of the Abilene Reporter-News.
development important, August 4, 2006, 2D.
many couples learn that they are expecting a baby, they
purchase books on pre-birth human development. The books
describe the milestones and stages of growth in the unborn
baby throughout the pregnancy. Once the baby is born, many
couples also buy books that describe newborn and infant
development through the first year of life or even up
through kindergarten. These types of books are helpful
because the stages of human development are very regular and
Researchers Tuckman and Jensen identified that groups also
follow regular and predictable stages of development. A
group is typically defined as two or more people who work
together interdependently to accomplish a common goal or set
of goals. Groups can come into being through formal decree
(as defined in an organization’s bylaws) or informally
around friendships or common interests.
group of individuals realize that they are dependent upon
coworkers to accomplish the objective that they have in
common, they enter the first stage of group development—the
forming stage. In the forming stage, individuals
get to know each other, define their purpose, and begin
stage, storming, is characterized by interpersonal
conflict, uncertainty, questioning, and posturing among
group members. It is in this stage that the group defines
and learns the roles and responsibilities of the members.
Once roles are defined, the group then establishes work
processes and defines how it will work together. This stage
of development is known as the norming stage—it is in
this stage that group identity develops.
group has defined its work and how the work will be
accomplished, it then moves into the fourth stage of
development—the performing stage. In this stage,
the group works to accomplish its goals. Performance
continues until the group reaches its goals or decides to
disband. At times, groups may have to “reinvent” themselves
by taking on new goals, formulating new strategies, or
including new members. Changes like these could cause
groups to “redevelop” themselves.
later added another stage to describe a possible final group
development stage. Just as people eventually die, so too
might groups. Although groups do not have to die (i.e.,
they can remain vital and relevant long after the people who
give them life disappear), many do. The final stage is
important for people to understand the development processes
of groups. We are all members of many groups—in work,
church, social, and community organizations. Understanding
how individuals and groups work together and how they
develop gives members and organizational leaders insight
into ways to foster and encourage teamwork and performance.
The expectations and ways that managers work with and guide
young groups should be different than when they work with
older and seasoned groups. Part of the manager’s job is to
help grow new groups into healthy and properly-functioning,
mature groups—just like parents help grow babies into mature
and responsible adults.
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