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Development Approaches for Teamwork

Development approaches

in 1965, Tuckman proposed a model of group development, which includes the following five typical phases:

  • Forming: This is the initial orientation period. The team is unsure about what it is supposed to do. Team members do not know each other well or are not yet familiar with the way the team leader and the other members work. This stage is complete when the members begin to see themselves as part of the group.
  • Storming: This is a sorting out period where members begin to find their place as team members. The team members now feel more comfortable giving their opinion and challenging the team leader's authority and recommendations. Some members may become dissatisfied and challenge not only the tasks of the team and how these will be carried out, but also the leader's role and style of leadership. This is the start of intragroup conflicts.
  • Norming: Team members begin to use their past experiences to solve their problems and pull together as a cohesive group. This process should result in the team establishing procedures for handling conflicts, decisions, and methods to accomplish the team projects.
  • Performing: In this phase the team has achieved harmony, defined its tasks, worked out its relationships, and has started producing results. Leadership is provided by the team members best suited for the task at hand. Members have learned how to work together, manage conflict and contribute their resources to meet the team's purposes.
  • Adjourning: The team dissolves when the team has completed the project. It may be reoriented to continue in a next phase of the project.

In addition to Tuckman's model, the development approach proposed by Neve (2010) is helpful. He explains team development along four phases.

  • Beginning – Goals and expectations: This phase, which parallels with the forming-storming stages of the group development model by Tuckman (1965), deals with clarifying learning goals and expectations. The focus of this phase is on providing information to all teams, motivating students towards achieving the expected outcomes and helping them to build their teams.
  • Midpoint – Developmental coaching: This phase deals with assessing team progress and with providing feedback for individual and group development. It parallels the norming-performing stages of the group development model by Tuckman (1965). The instructor’s role is that of a coach and facilitator who is available for, and initiates, consultation and support. The focus of the midpoint intervention is on helping each team improve their team processes and deal effectively with problem members or disruptive behaviours.
  • End – Evaluation: This phase deals with two distinct processes: (a) evaluating the team’s projects and individual students’ contributions for grading purposes, and (b) assessing each student’s individual teamwork competencies.
  • Future – Assessment for programme improvement: In both work and educational settings, there are three distinct but related purposes for assessment: evaluative, developmental, and outcome assessments. While evaluative and developmental approaches are used to provide feedback to an individual about his or her performance, the primary goal of outcome assessment is to determine how well a programme or a pedagogical approach is meeting the desired learning goals.

In the developmental phases proposed by the two group development models, teamwork involves particularly building relationships and working with others. This involves:

  • Working cooperatively
  • Contributing to groups with ideas, suggestions, and effort
  • Communication (both giving and receiving)
  • Sense of responsibility
  • Healthy respect for different opinions, customs, and individual preferences
  • Ability to participate in group decision-making.

Being a good team member is learning how to understand your personal strengths (what you have to offer) and where you might need to draw assistance from others. Becoming a functional member of a team is learning to understand what you bring to the group and what you might need from others (Hashim at al., 2015)

Moreover, teamwork brings in other skills like:

  • Active listening skills
  • Clarifying and summarising skills
  • Time management skills
  • Flexibility with team rules
  • Conflict management skills.