Group Dynamics – 2. Phases of Group Development

On their way to becoming a cohesive team and reaching their objectives groups generally go through a number of stages such as orientation, conflict, brainstorming, emergence and reinforcement.

The first stage in becoming a cohesive team is the orientation (formation) stage. During this stage team members socialize, get to know each other, establish their roles and responsibilities and develop a sense of common purpose. Unfortunately, as the workers from a Portuguese translation service comment, teams cannot start working smoothly from the very beginning, so after this fairly short stage, they begin to discuss their positions, their roles and the function of leadership. This is known as the conflict (storming) stage. As team members share their ideas, disagreement and tension natural arise among members. In fact during this stage conflict has not been identified yet, it is rather a stage so it can be characterized as a phase of chaos and disorganization. The Chinese translators mentioned above underline that it is important to encourage open communication during this stage so that team members can speak up and fully discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the various options to resolve conflict issues during the next, the brainstorming (norming) stage. It is at the end of this stage when team members establish their roles, take responsibility and formulate standards. Yan Linski, a German to English transation professional, adds that although group brainstorming is a highly popular activity, in some cases it may be more productive to have people brainstorm individually and then to discuss them at a group meeting.

Some teams never reach the emergence (performing) phase because they have not resolved their internal problems. However, if they do, they find a solution supported by all members (even if not all of them fully agree that it is the best one).

During the reinforcement stage, members receive their assignments and they take steps to perform them.

By Margarita Mihaylova

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