Tuckman’s Forming Storming Norming Performing Developmental Model

We can find Bruce Tuckman’s Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing model, the most famous model for team development, has more relation to Tannenbaum & Schmidt’s Continuum theory and Situational Leadership Theory. Though he came up with four stages(forming-storming-norming-performing) in his initial publication in 1965, he added ‘Adjourning'(some refers this as ‘Mourning’) , to include team breaks after project completion, in later 1970s.

Tannenbaum & Schmidt Continuum theory explains the relationship between the levels of freedom that a manager chooses to give to a team, and the level of authority used by him. Resemblance between Continuum theory & this theory is in existence of different team developmental levels & movement between those levels as team develops.

Situational Leadership deals with the relationship between follower’s developmental level & leadership behavior(directive/supportive) based on the task/situation. SL resembles same structure if we represent the four stages in different quadrants.

Tuckman’s theory aims on the way in which a team handles a task from the initial formation of the team through to the completion of the project. Development level moves from one stage to the other sequentially as they mature as a team but time taken in each stage depends on understanding of and commitment to the goals of the team.

Forming Storming Norming Performing

The five stages of team development have been characterized as:


* Formation of team happens & the team comes together
* Members feel anxious and spend their time finding out about each other
* Individual roles and responsibilities are unclear
* Highly depending on the manager/leader
* Equivalent Situational Leadership style: Directing


* Team members come up with ideas through debates on how to proceed with the task
– about task priorities;
– clarity on purpose of the task;
– roles & responsibilities and
– processes to follow
* Influence of ideas and power struggles may arise
* Compromises may be required to enable progress
* Team members may challenge the leader & leader coaches
* Equivalent Situational Leadership style: Selling


* Work as a team starts
* Roles and responsibilities are clear and accepted
* Team begin to exhibit participative behavior & decision making happens by group agreement
* Commitment, trust and unity increases
* Equivalent Situational Leadership style: Supporting


* This stage is characterized by high levels of:
– goal orientation,
– interpersonal relations,
– independence, motivation,
– knowledge and
– competence in team members
* Team know what,why & how of the task they are executing
* High level of respect in the communication between team members
* Team expects delegation of task instead of instruction/assistance
* Equivalent Situational Leadership style: Delegating


* Happens when project completes
* Members moving out of the group after project goal achievement
* Everyone can move on to new things
* Achievement celebrated
* Members feel difficulty as they have developed close working relationships with other team members