Forming, Storming Norming and Performing in groups

forming_stormingBruce W. Tuckman produced one of the most quoted models of group development in the 1960s. The initial four-stage model emerged from his observations of group behavior in a variety of settings. For these stages he coined the terms: ‘forming,’ ‘storming,’ ‘norming,’ and ‘performing.’ The implication is that if people could develop a better appreciation of the processes surrounding group development then it would be possible to enhance the effectiveness of the group.

It is only after muddling through the first two stages that groups can reach the productive stage of ‘norming.’ Not all groups reach the performing stage of ultimate productivity.

A Fifth Stage – Adjourning

In 1977 Bruce W. Tuckman, in collaboration with Mary Ann Jensen, added a fifth stage to the model. We, at PDSA Consulting, were disappointed that he named it ‘adjourning.’ We prefer to call this stage ‘mourning’ given the loss that is sometimes felt by former participants, especially if the magical ‘performing’ stage had been reached. ‘Mourning’ is also fun to say as it more nearly rhymes!