Teams are formal groups within an organization that have been tasked with specific performance goals. The effectiveness of each team depends not only upon its size, composition, division of roles, and cohesive structure, but also on the communication style of each individual. Good leaders can support teams proactively by ensuring their individual communication skills are well developed. 

Researchers suggest that interactions within teams and groups change over time. Team or group behavior at the first meeting will be different at each meeting thereafter, as members become accustomed to each other’s personalities, leadership styles, and communication styles. Researchers suggest the team or group go through stages of development. These stages are as follows:

  • Forming.
  • Storming.
  • Norming.
  • Performing.
  • Adjourning.

These stages establish the belief of the group as a whole. Group norms are composed of those behaviors the group is expected to uphold as a unit as well as individual norms each member of the group is expected to uphold.

As groups become an increasingly common tool for accomplishing work, it is important to have the key skills required to be a successful group member. Oftentimes, opportunities arise to design organizational teams from scratch. Individuals with this task usually have solid skills in organizational communication, extensive experience within the specific context, and a sound knowledge of the way potential members of the sub-unit perform.

Read the following:

  • Backlund, G. (2001). Team effectiveness [PDF].
  • This article, written by a former Capella faculty member, digs into the stages of team development, often described by the terms normingstormingforming, and performing, in an easy-to-follow document.
  • Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63(6), 384–399. 
  • The initial ideas presented by Bruce Tuckman in 1965 regarding the stages of development that teams go through are so ingrained in the literature about teams that some authors forget to cite Tuckman. Reading Tuckman’s original ideas about team development will help you understand how later authors formulated their ideas on team development and listening.
  • Write Your Discussion Post


Make sure you have read Tuckman’s 1965 article, “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups.”

The Remarkable Thing About Group Development

For this discussion, your instructor will post a video example of group development. As demonstrated in the video, the creation of groups follows similar patterns in their creation and development. After viewing the video, respond to one of the following:

  • Discuss a situation that illustrates Tuckman’s stages of group development.
  • Discuss how a political demonstration or sports celebration riot is an example of Tuckman’s stages of group development.
  • Discuss how you could adapt Tuckman’s stages of group development to improve your current organization. 


Discuss what information you found surprising in this week’s course materials and why. 

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