Group Formation

Groups generally pass through a predictable sequence in their evolution. Although not all groups follow this five-stage model, it is a useful framework for understanding group development.

Group formation takes place in the following five stages:

1. Forming Stage:

This stage is marked by mutual suspicion. There is much uncertainty about group goals, structure and leadership. Members try to find out which type of behaviors are acceptable. Ground rules and tentative structure is established. Members think themselves as a part of group.

2. Storming Stage: 

This stage is marked by intergroup conflict and confrontation. There is hostility and resistance to constraints imposed by the group. Some members wish to dominate. Others want individuality. Members accept the existence of the group. A hierarchy of leadership emerges. Group tasks are defined. Tensions are handled. Team spirit begins.

3. Norming stage:

This stage is marked by cooperation and collaboration. Close relationships and cohesiveness develops. There is a strong sense of group identity. Members accept each other. Common goals and norms emerge. Conflicts are resolved. Standards of behavior evolve. The group structure solidifies. Group identity and cohesiveness is established. Group norms are accepted. There is consensus about leadership. Group tasks are agreed.

4. Performing Stage:

This stage is marked by fully functioning group. The emphasis is one cooperation, problem solving, and achieving group goals. Decision making is through consensus. The group structure is accepted. Members are concerned about job performance. Relationships mature. Group permanency develops.

5. Adjourning stage:

This stage is marked by the wrapping up of group activities. It is relevant only for temporary groups. The task is completed. The group is disbanded. Groups became more effective as they progress through the stages.

Group Composition

The production of a group to some extent depends on the composition of the group. The more homogeneous the group in terms of such features (as given below) in its members, the easier it is to promote group cohesiveness.

  • Shared backgrounds
  • Interests
  • Attitudes, and
  • Values

Group activities require a variety of knowledge, attitudes, skills and habit (KASH). Heterogeneous groups (different backgrounds) are often less effective in promoting their own interests than groups whose members are homogeneous.

Homogeneous groups whose members are alike (similar) on such factors as age, education, status, experience, background etc. are better when tasks or goal requires mutual cooperation and conflict free behavior.

Two important components about group composition are:

  • Group demography: It is the degree to which member of a group share common demographic attributes such as age, sex, race, education, experience etc. It is important to predict turnover.
  • Cohorts: Groups are made-up of cohorts. Cohorts are individuals who hold a common attribute. For example, employee born in 1970 is a cohort.