Case Study: Stages of Group Development

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According to the model presented by Schermerhorn, Osbordn, Ulh-Bien, and Hunt (2011), there are five stages of group development that characterize the two most important components of group work: interpersonal relationships and tasks. The model is similar to Maslow's hierarchy of needs in that one stage needs to be reached successfully before subsequent stages can also be successful. In Stage One, forming, individuals seek acceptance from one another. They tend to "play it safe" and look to their leader for guidance. The group is looking to orient itself to the task and to its members. It is a time for gathering information on which subsequent decisions will be made. Stage Two, storming, is characterized by competition and conflict as group members define and organize tasks and begin making decisions on leadership, structure, power, and authority. By Stage Three, interpersonal relationships are beginning to achieve cohesion. With tasks more clearly defined, the group members begin to trust one another and work together toward common goals. Stage Four, Performing, is characterized by true interdependence. It is not a stage that is necessarily reached by all groups, as members must be highly task oriented and highly people oriented, and form a strong group identity. In the final stage, Stage Five, adjourning, members disengage from the group, bringing about the ending of relationships. Part I: Group Development In the case study presented, Christine Spencer is the "Team
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