Tuckman Model

Posted on May 15 2009

Tuckman’s Forming Storming Norming Performing Model (Tuckman Model)

In 1965, Dr. Bruce Tuckman published his Forming Storming Norming Performing model . He added a fifth stage, Adjourning, to the Tuckman Model in the 1970’s. The Forming Storming Norming Performing theory is an method to describe team development and behaviour.

The model explains that as the team becomes mature and able, and the leader changes their style, relationships are formed. The team may produce a successful leader, or group members may move on to where they become more comfortable.

Within the model, relationship development progression is:

1. Forming

2. Storming

3. Norming

4. Performing

The storming and Norming stages of the Tuckman Model are relevant to decision making, and especially to group and consensus decisions.

At stage one, forming, there is high dependence on leader for guidance and direction. There is little agreement, other than what comes from the leader. Individual roles and responsibilities are unclear.

Leader must be prepared to answer lots of questions about the team’s purpose, objectives and relationships. Decisions may be made with input from individuals, and egos flare when their opinions are not selected. Processesare often ignored. Members test both the system system and leader. The Leader directs.

At stage two, storming, decisions don’t come easily within the group. Some of the traditional group decision pitfalls exists, and the leader must guide the team through them.

Team members jockey for position as they try to establish themselves in comparison to other members and the leader. Purpose begins to solidify, but this is the strongest and most viable phase for temper flare-ups and disagreements. Sub-teams may form, and members may perceive themselves on the inside or outside. Power Struggles are a daily fact.

Compromises begin to show promise and maturity. The Leader continues to coach and attempt to reach consensus. At stage three of the Tuckman Model, norming, agreement and consensus is used to form the team. The team begins to respond well with the leader. Roles and responsibilities become clear and accepted.

Big decisions are now made by the group decisions. Consensus is easier to reach. Smaller decisions come from individuals or small teams within the group. The team may engage in fun and social activities. There is general respect for the leader and some leadership is shared by the team.

At stage four, performing, the team has matured and can function both tactically and strategically. Each team member knows what is going on and who is doing what. The team shares vision and can function without assistance from the leader.

Decisions may be delegates to team members. Tuckman’s model indicates that the team may focus on exceeding goals, and can make decisions on their own with criteria set by the leader. Disagreements occur occasionally, but are resolved within the team positively. Changes to Processes and structure are basically are made by the team.

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