A Review on Group Based Projects
by Andrea Gallo
Poole and Bournemouth College 2012
FdA Business and Management â€“ Year 1
Introduction to Management
Lecturer: Peter Matthews
Table of Contents
Review on Group Based Projects 3
Theories on Group Development 3
Personal Reflection on Group Development 5
History of Group Dynamics as a Field of Research 7
Theories and Models of Group Development 7
Tuckman's Group Development Model 8
Further Developments 9
Fisherâ€™s Decision Emergence Theory 9
Kolbâ€™s Learning Cycle 11
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Group dynamics also focuses on individuals. Its vital element is trust among members so they can express feelings and reactions. (Thomson, 2002). Team dynamics effects are often complex and may affect members performance, satisfaction and group effectiveness.
Tuckman produced one of the most influential theories on group development. Extensive part of his published work was broadly related to educational research and psychology. Although theories showed differences concerning number and names of stages, many researchers adopted either Tuckman's (1965) four stage model - forming, storming, norming and performing or Tuckman and Jensenâ€™s (1977) that added a fifth stage â€“ adjourning (Smith, 2005).
Fisher (1970) also based his research on the conviction that all groups go through similar stages before reaching agreement, sharing a common life cycle. His research defined eight statements, verbal acts that occurred at various times during groupâ€™s life cycles. The interaction of these statements formed Fisherâ€™s four phase sequences of decision emergence: orientation, conflict, emergence and reinforcement (Griffin, 2009).
Tuckmanâ€™s and Fisherâ€™s four stages are linear and follow a pattern:
* Initial stage of getting acquainted and understanding objectives;
* Formation of grounds and start of divergences;
* Bonding phase, commitment towards a common goal;
* Final stage where group reaches a conclusion.
Though, unlike Tuckman, Fisher built his theory based on facts, rather than speculation, on how groups actually progress, not on how it ought to happen. Furthermore, for Fisher, verbal interaction defined how the group evolved, not the combination of personalities involved in the process (Griffin, 2009). Although Tuckmanâ€™s model is more widely used, Fisher seems to be more in touch with reality, hence the model recommended for group tasks.
In comparison to Fisherâ€™s theory is feasible to analyse the criticism on Tuckmanâ€™s theory for denoting a goal rather than a description of reality (Seeger, 1983) and not making clear delimitations, leaving an overlap between the stages (Smith, 2005).
Another question was raised on Tuckmanâ€™s research for being based on students, patients undergoing psychotherapy or trainees, bringing up reservation on whether the group behaviours of the subjects were truly reflective of normal group development (Herbert and Trist, 1953).
There is also criticism on the limitation on existing group development theories as they focus on foreseeable, despite perception of the unforeseeable aspects that may impact the task.Â Unexpected events can strongly influence how teams react, behave or perform (Buchanan and Huczynski, 2010).Â
Irrespective to criticisms, knowing what to expect in normal group development allows leaders to anticipate a teamâ€™s evolution, plan for conflicts and develop new strategies to keep focus on reaching targets. Moreover, by understanding adversity and...