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Analyzing Team Development Models- A Comparative Study of the Five-Stage Model and the Punctuated Equilibrium Model

Analyzing Team Development Models- A Comparative Study of the Five-Stage Model and the Punctuated Equilibrium Model


The formation of high performance is critical for the success of projects and modern conglomerates. Leading global corporations such as Walt Disney, Google, and Ford Company have attained success by relying on their high-performing teams. The inception of digital technologies has been of great importance to these modern teams. It alters the workplace environment so that team members can collaborate towards team objectives more conveniently. High-performance teams are individuals with skills in cross-sectional areas who come together and work towards common team objectives. Such a team usually has shared values and vision, which guides them towards their collective objectives. High-performance teams must also be innovative when it comes to solving problems they encounter throughout the project life. Such teams are also characterized by high-level collaboration and communication, which helps them attain the required harmony to achieve the shared objectives. A high-performance team has specific attributes which separate them from other ordinary teams, helping them attain team goals before schedule and at a lower budget.

Team Experience

Together with my team, we recently set out to market a newly established local fitness centre. Fitness marketing strategies are crucial to get people to know about the existence of the establishment. Since a gym often focuses on the locality where it is located, marketing by word of mouth would ordinarily be enough. However, with so much competition and large-scale unawareness about fitness training, a marketing strategy was inevitable. Besides, low-income clients who are part of our target audience are hard to convince towards embracing healthy living. The campaign duration was set for six months to allow monitoring and evaluation of results.

The exercise started with setting the goals that we wanted to attain by the end of the marketing period. Top among our objectives was to influence new customers into the business. The campaign also sought to enhance loyalty and repeated patronage. Additionally, we sought to raise average ticket sales to accommodate more clients. These were overall goals that were broken down into specifics for easy implementation.

Project Activities

Stating the budget

Determining the target audience.

Choosing marketing media.

Creation of messaging

Evaluating the outcome.

Address the Development of the Team

Tuckman’s Five-Stage Team Development Model

According to Brabender & Fallon (2009), no team can hit the ground running immediately it is formed. A team, just like a relationship, requires both parties to fulfil a set of requirements to succeed. For a team to attain high-performance standards, there should be patience, support, and effort in every recognizable step of a project. Bruce Tuckman’s five-stage team development model outlines the strategies for forming successful teams. To form highly successful teams, there is a need to focus on critical steps, including forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.


Forming is the first stage in Tuckman’s group developmental model. The stage is often characterized by anxiety and uncertainty since members are strangers (Tuckman & Jensen, 2010). Team members tend to be discreet towards each other at this stage since they do not understand each other well, hence looking for approval. Besides, conflicts and controversy are avoided at this stage, even when members have understood one another to judge. The consequences from the stage include; defining the team’s purpose, organizing activities, and assigning responsibilities to each member depending on their abilities. Also, team members come up with the schedule, rules, and regulations that will guide team members towards their goals.

Storming Stage

Next is the storming stage, which is the most critical stage in the five-stage team development model. The stage is characterized by conflict resulting from personality differences and differing work styles (Tuckman & Jensen, 2010). Performance may reduce as members disagree on strategies and values. The team leader also ought to pay attention to cliques that may form within the team due to disagreements over principles. The only way team members can avert conflict and competition at this stage is by understanding and recognizing each other’s strengths and weaknesses and resorting to working in harmony. Although some teams are confident of skipping the stage, it is crucial to expect some level of conflict and stay prepared.


The third stage is the norming stage, which is essentially focused on deriving cooperation and integration. By now, team members already understand each other well and can adopt a give-and-take relationship (Tuckman & Jensen, 2010). The stage is also characterized by open communication and mutual respect among team members. It is now easier to resolve conflicts arising from diverse work styles and personalities than the storming stage. Although group leadership is still vital during the norming stage, the leader can take a backseat to allow members to initiate the way forward.


Next is the performing phase. This stage is the most cohesive when compared to the preceding stages (Tuckman & Jensen, 2010). Besides, morale among team members is at the highest level since team members now understand and acknowledge each other’s talent and unique skills. Also, the stage is characterized by members having a sense of belonging, which drives focus on team objectives. Other characteristics that motivate members during this stage include flexibility, trust, and interdependence. During this stage, leadership is distributive, a factor that allows members to adjust to the needs of group members.


Also known as closure, adjourning signals the completion of a team project. As team members scatter, the focus is on the welfare of the individuals rather than team growth. The group leader ensures members are compensated, and those other agreements before the project starts are fulfilled.

Punctuated Equilibrium Model

According to Dennis, Garfield & Reinicke (2019), the punctuation equilibrium focuses on more than group formation and extends to organizational changes resulting from group changes. The punctuated model requires that group objectives be set on the first day of the group’s meeting. However, a group’s response to their roles is based on long-term changes throughout the life of a project.


The first stage of the punctuated equilibrium model is associated with the team members meeting, relaxing, and socializing at the initial stages of the group’s inception. Group members are aware that the project’s deadline is way ahead, hence no pressure to deliver on tasks (Hurt & Trombley, 2007). However, the pressure is transferred to later stages when members are under pressure to deliver on predetermined goals.

The second stage of the punctuated equilibrium model is also referred to as the transitional period or midlife crisis. Unlike the first stage, the second stage is characterized by increased urgency as members feel that the time for delivery of tasks is running out (Hurt & Trombley, 2007). As a result, the team puts more effort towards the attainment of group objectives. Team members confront the problems head-on and are ready to accept criticism. The result is increased performance due to members’ response to a deadline that is drawing near.

The third and last stage of the punctuated equilibrium model is associated with group changes meant to enable the group to accomplish the task at hand. Members of the team come up with a new direction as a result of the changes (Hurt & Trombley, 2007). One factor contributing to group changes is the realization that there is limited time to undertake the project, hence the newfound focus on accomplishing tasks. The burst of energy usually occurs during the group’s meeting, enabling them to accomplish incomplete tasks.

Tuckman’s five-stage team development model is best suited for the fitness centre marketing team. It provides real-life situations team members are likely to encounter while marketing the fitness centre. Most of the contracted marketers were recruits who had never worked together before. Following through the model will enable them to develop the team spirit required to create an effective team.

 Which Situational Factors Positively or Negatively Contributed to the Performance of the Group? 

One of the factors that positively contributed to good performance by the marketing is the individuals’ working styles and their personalities. The team recruited to market the fitness centre is made up of enthusiastic fitness personnel who understand what it means to stay fit. Therefore, they could explain to the prospective customers what it means to stay fit and the costs thereof.

Another positive factor is the size of the group. It is hard to determine the optimal group size to handle a problem, but a smaller group is in a better position to sort out a problem (Brabender & Fallon, 2009). The marketing team required both quality decisions and consensus; hence the five-member team was appropriate to produce the expected results.

How Well Were Team Meetings Managed? 

The quality of leadership is crucial towards determining the quality of leadership in a team. A team leader is charged with ensuring team members meet team goals and individual results at the same time. Another contributing factor towards group quality was cohesiveness. Besides helping fellow members improve productivity, cohesiveness also means that group members defend their colleagues from external adversity. Team cohesiveness depends on the number and the members’ individual goals.


Brabender, V., & Fallon, A. (2009). Group development in practice: Guidance for clinicians and researchers on stages and dynamics of change. American Psychological Association.

Dennis, A. R., Garfield, M. J., & Reinicke, B. (2019). A script for group development: Punctuated equilibrium and the stages model.

Hurt, A. C., & Trombley, S. M. (2007). The Punctuated-Tuckman: Towards a New Group Development Model. Online Submission.

Tuckman, B. W., & Jensen, M. A. C. (2010). Stages of small-group development revisited. Group Facilitation: A Research & Applications Journal10, 43-48.


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Assignment Details

High-performing teams are teams whose members have specific roles and complementary talents and skills and are aligned in purpose such that they consistently produce superior results. A high-performing team can make the difference between merely completing a project and completing a project ahead of schedule and under budget. Before becoming a high-performing team, the team will go through five stages of team development.

Analyzing Team Development Models- A Comparative Study of the Five-Stage Model and the Punctuated Equilibrium Model

Analyzing Team Development Models- A Comparative Study of the Five-Stage Model and the Punctuated Equilibrium Model

In this assignment, you are going to reflect on a recently completed project that you took part in as a member of a team. This project could have taken place in the workplace, in the classroom, or anywhere else that you were part of a group. In a 5-page analysis, you should address the following:

Address the development of the team in terms of both the five-stage model and the punctuated equilibrium model. Which model does a better job of describing the development of the team and how so?
From among the situational factors affecting team development listed in your text, which factors positively or negatively contributed to the performance of the group? How were the negative factors overcome or what could be done in the future to overcome them?
How well were group meetings managed? What was done particularly well and what was not done well? What specific recommendations can you provide about how groups should manage meetings on future projects?
Be sure to cite your sources using APA; include your references and in-text citations.

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