Working in diverse teams
Working in diverse teams

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Working in diverse teams

1.1 Tuckman’s model of team formation

There are common points in the way that teams develop and this week you are going to be looking at one of the most widely known models of team formation and development – Tuckman’s model (BusinessBalls, 2017).

Tuckman’s model describes the different stages of team development as: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. This was the original model that Tuckman came up with in 1965 but by the 1970s, he had added in an extra stage, Adjourning, to this 4-point model, which described the ending of a group.

First watch this video [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] which describes the different stages a team passes through before functioning successfully. Note that the ‘Adjourning’ stage is not covered in this discussion.

Activity 1 Revisiting an earlier case study

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Re-read Case Study 2 from Week 2, where Mark described how his team completed their task of interviewing people in France. Now briefly review the feedback to this case study, with a view to completing the table below.

Can you identify the different stages of team development that Mark and his team went through, and when, in reaching their goal? Note your ideas in the table below.

Table 1 Mark’s team’s stages of team formation

StageWhat they were doingWhy you identify them to be at this stage
Forming
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Storming
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Norming
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Performing
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Answer

Table 1 (completed) Mark’s team’s stages of team formation

StageWhat they were doingWhy you identify them to be at this stage
FormingPut together in class and arranging to meet in the café later that dayMark describes feeling uncomfortable when they first met and not knowing each other.
StormingDeciding on the questions to ask and the people to ask when out interviewing people

Lots of disagreement as they were putting together the questions. Trying to decide who would do what role. Wasting a lot of time with disagreements and difficulty in keeping focus on the task.

Lively discussion about who to approach. Heated arguments and squabbling.

NormingCarrying out the interviewsAhmed calmed down the heated debates and a way forward was agreed. The different approaches used by Sam and Mark were used and seen to be effective. Recognition of the strengths in both perspectives.
PerformingPutting together the presentationAll able to contribute. Able to use natural strengths in the team. Everyone pulled their weight and the job got done.

You may have identified different points for these stages, as there is in reality a fluidity between each of them. You may have felt that the group actually started norming only when they got to the point of putting the presentations together, or agree with the feedback that the start of them norming was when they were carrying out the interviews and individuals strengths were recognised. You may have identified norming as happening at a much earlier point when it was decided which questions would be asked.

There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer here and all of the perspectives could be argued to be correct. The important point is to recognise that the team passed through a process of development which ran from when they were first put together and felt uncomfortable, to the point when they were celebrating the success of the team effort and the end of the task. You can see that their competence as a team grew as they developed and they were not performing at their best until the end of the task.

Next you will look at how these stages of team formation can be displayed as an S-curve.

WDT_1

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