Defining, Classifying and Stages of Group Development

Defining, Classifying and Stages of Group Development

Defining a group in Group Development : Two or more people constitute a group if….

1. They have some common purpose or goal.
2. There exists a relatively stable structure — a hierarchy (perhaps a leader), an established set of roles, or a standardized pattern of interaction.
There are a number of general tendencies within us such as:
The similarity-attraction effect: We like people who are similar to us in some way-
Exposure: We like people whom we have been exposed to repeatedly
Reciprocity: We like people who like us
Basking in reflected glory: We seek to associate with successful, prestigious groups
Furthermore, we also tend to avoid individuals who possess objectionable characteristics. This collection of people see themselves as being part of that group.

Formation and Stages of Group development

The concept of Work Groups and Work Teams in Group Development :
Welcome students to the module of Group Behavior. Up till now we have restricted ourselves to check the behavior of individuals within the organization. But individuals may sometimes need to work in groups in the organization. So in this lesson we shall try to understand about group and the influence of behavior of individuals while working in a group . So students Consider a collection of people waiting at a bus stop for a series of buses. Do these people constitute a group?
No! These people are simply that; a collection of people. As a collection of people waiting for buses, they probably do not interact , they lack cohesion (as they may be heading off in different directions), and, unless they are somehow huddled together against the rain, they are unlikely to see any commonality of interest between them.


Humans are by nature gregarious. Groups provide a natural way for people to gather in order to satisfy their social needs.

Goal Achievement

Problems and tasks that require the utilization of knowledge tend to give groups an advantage over individuals. There is more information in a group than in any one of its members, and groups  tend  to  provide  a  greater  number  of  approaches  to solving any particular problem.


Individuals gain power in their relationship with their employers


Membership in a particular service clubs or a political body may be seen to confer status on members. So as to gain that status people join in such groups.


As suggested by Maslow, people have a basic desire for self- esteem. Group membership may nurture self-esteem. If one belongs to a successful group, the self-esteem of all members may be boosted.


Sometimes individuals need protection from other groups or more powerful individuals – ―there is safety in numbers‖. These individuals may seek security in group membership. Neighbors may form a ―Block Watch‖ group to ensure the security and protection of their neighborhood.

Classification/Types of Groups

There can be different types of groups that might exist, which have been depicted in Figure 1 below. The most common way of distinguishing between groups is to categorizing the groups into formal or informal groups. Formal groups are deliberately created by the organization in order to help the organizational members achieve some of the important the organizational goals. The informal groups, in contrast, develop rather spontaneously among an organization‘s members without any direction from the organizational authorities. There are various types of formal groups that are found in an organization. These are:

Command group

Command group which is determined by the organizational chart depicting the approved formal connections between individuals in an organization.Examples of command group are Director and the faculty members in a business school, school principal and teachers, production manager and supervisors, etc.

Task groups

Task groups, comprising some individuals with special interest or expertise, are created by the organizational authorities to work together in order to complete a specific task. Task groups are often not restricted to the organizational hierarchy and can be cross functional in nature. Examples of task group might be people working on a particular project.

Standing committee

Standing committee is a permanent committee in an organization to deal with some specific types of problems that may arise more or less on a regular basis. Examples of standing committees include the standing committee in a university to discuss various academic and administrative issues.

Task force / ad hoc committee

Task force / ad hoc committee, in contrast, is a temporary committee formed by organizational members from across various functional areas for a special purpose. Meetings can also come under this category.
Various types of  informal groups are:

Interest groups

Interest groups are formed when a group of employees band together to seek some common objectives, like protesting some organizational policy or joining the union to achieve a higher amount of bonus.

Friendship groups

Friendship groups develop among the organizational members when they share some common interest like participating in some sports activities or staging the office drama, etc.

Reference groups

Reference groups are the groups, with which individuals identify and compare themselves. These could be within the organization when a middle level executive compares himself with the higher level executive and longs for the perks and benefits enjoyed by the latter. The reference group might exist outside the organization as well when an individual compares himself with his batch mates working in other organizations or an ideal group of people he likes to become.

Five-Stage Model


Forming is the initial stage of group development when the group members first come in contact with others and get acquainted with each other. This stage is characterized predominantly by a feeling of uncertainty among the group members as they now try to establish ground rules and pattern of relationship among themselves.


Storming is the next stage that is characterized by a high degree of conflict among the members. Members often show hostility towards each other and resist the leader‘s control. If these conflicts are not adequately resolved, the group may even be disbanded. But, usually the group eventually comes in terms with each other and accepts the leadership role at the end of this stage.


Norming is the third stage of the group development process during which the group members become closer to each other and the group starts functioning as a cohesive unit. The group members now identify themselves with the group and share responsibility for achieving the desired level of performance of the group. Norming stage is complete when the group members can set a common target and agree on the way of achieving this.


Performing is the fourth stage when the group is finally ready to start working. As the group is now fully formed after resolving their internal conflicts of acceptance and sharing responsibility, they can now devote energy to  achieve its objectives.


Adjourning is the final stage when the group, after achieving the objectives for which it was created, starts to gradually dissolve itself .

Group Development


Online Professional Certification