Research shows that groups develop through five stages.3 As shown in Exhibit 9-2, these five stages are: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.
The forming stage has two phases. The first occurs as people join the group. In a formal group, people join because of some work assignment. Once they’ve joined, the second phase begins: defining the group’s purpose, structure, and leadership. This phase involves a great deal of uncer- tainty as members “test the waters” to determine what types of behavior are acceptable. This stage is complete when members begin to think of themselves as part of a group.
The storming stage is appropriately named because of the intragroup conflict. There’s conflict over who will control the group and what the group needs to be doing. When this stage is complete, there will be a relatively clear hierarchy of leadership and agreement on the group’s direction.
The norming stage is one in which close relation- ships develop and the group becomes cohesive. There’s now a strong sense of group identity and camaraderie. This stage is complete when the group structure solidifies and the group has assimilated a common set of expecta- tions (or norms) regarding member behavior.
group Two or more interacting and interdependent individuals who come together to achieve specific goals.
storming stage The second stage of group development, which is characterized by intragroup conflict.
forming stage The first stage of group development in which people join the group and then define the group’s purpose, structure, and leadership.
Sibyl Goldman, a Yahoo! entertainment group vice president, leads an “omg” Web site meeting at Yahoo!’s offices in Santa Monica, California. This meeting is an example of the performing stage of group development. With an established strong sense of group identity and camaraderie, the group focuses on its task of presenting celebrity news stories in a light and positive way along with galleries of photos and exclusive videos. For permanent work groups such as the “omg” staff, performing is the last stage in the group development process.