Application of Tuckman’s Model in the Community Folk Team
Management in Community Education
East China University of Political Science and Law, Shanghai, China
Abstract: Tuckman’s model describes the five stages of group development. Each stage has its
own characteristics and it should be managed according to the features. The model has been
widely used in various of organizations. We apply Tuckman’s model to the community nongovernmental organization with the specific situation of China. And then we obtain some better
results and form the method of operation. This paper sums up the practical experience from using
the model to the non-governmental organization in order to provide a reference for other
community group development.
Overview of the Tuckman’s Model
The team develops and changes all the time. Tuckman’s model describing the stages of group
development was publicized by Bruce W Tuckman in 1965 and revised in 1977. It presents the
well known five stages of forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. The model
has a profound influence on the development of organization theory.
The first stage of the model is ‘testing and dependence’ (Tuckman 1965). In this stage, the
individuals attempts to discover the nature and boundaries for interpersonal and task by testing
interpersonal relationship, attempts to define the situation, establishes a proper relationship with
others, creates ground rules and exchanges information. In this stage, team’s objective, structure,
leadership are uncertain. The team members explore behavior norm that can be accepted by
groups (Tuckman, 1965).
The second stage of the model is ‘resistance to group influence and task requirements’ (Tuckman,
1965). The group identifies intergroup conflict. This phase is characterized by lack of unity and
polarization around interpersonal issues. In this stage, group members become hostile toward one
another or express their individuality and resisting the formation of group structure (Bone bright,
The third stage of the model is ‘openness to other group members’. (Tuckman, 1965). In this
stage, ingroup feeling and cohesiveness develop. New standards evolve and new roles are
established. Open exchange of relevant interpretations, intimate, personal opinions are expressed
(Tuckman, 1965). Task conflicts are avoided in an effort to insure harmony (Bone bright, 2009).
The fourth stage of the model is ‘constructive action’ (Tuckman 1965). In this stage, role
becomes flexible and functional. And structural issue has been resolved. Also, structure can
support task performance. Interpersonal structure becomes the tool of task activities. And group
energy is channeled into the task. In this stage, solutions can emerge.
The fifth stage of the model is ‘disengagement’ (Tuckman, 1965). Anxiety about separation and
termination, sadness, feelings toward leader and group members. The group have to evaluate
itself. At this stage, the team controls members’ behaviors through the implementation of positive
and negative motivation and is able to recruit new members after the old members leave. In this
stage, some teams may continue, some teams’ interrelations begin to loose until the dissolution.
The development of group is a dynamic process. Most groups changes frequently. Sometimes
several stages may also coexist at the same time, sometimes may leap forward one or two stages,
occasionally even some team will be back to the previous stage (Stephen, 2003). Tuckman’s
model provides a good theoretical basis for the study of team formation management. This article
from the government’s perspective, study the practice of Tuckman’s model in the community folk
The Development of Community Folk Team
In order to adapt to the continuous development of the society, residents’ demand to the
knowledge gradually increases, community folk organizations which try to meet these demands
are booming at a very rapid momentum. At the same time, in the process of promote the regional
culture inheritance in China, a number of folk self-management organization emerge as the times
require. Many citizens learn knowledge and show themselves by participating in these teams. The
organizations promote community cultural prosperity and play an important role in the
construction of a harmonious community. We define it as community folk team.
Community folk team is a non-profit organizations, its task is to improve the quality of life by
learning in community. At the same time, it also performs some social function such as
entertainment, sporting activities and public services. Team members are from the community
residents who have common interests, hobbies and form a team voluntarily. A group contains five
to forty members ordinarily. Usually the team has a trainer or leader. The leader is elected by the
However, these organizations are still exist some problems in the development. Firstly,
community folk teams have “inherent problems”, such as the lack of management system
necessary, the lack of team management experience, no plan and long-term goal. Secondly, there
would be no guarantee for location of activities, activity time, and stage for show. Thirdly,
community team members are mainly from local residents. The managers of the groups lack the
art of leadership and the spirit of innovation, those lead to team develop slowly.
In order to build the learning society, it should need that the government guides the community
folk team to create a learning organization, makes the team activities have more mass basis and
vitality, which injects new vitality into the development of community education. Finally, it will
become an important part of learning society of lifelong learning and lifelong education.
Cultivating Strategy of the Community Folk Team
Management Strategies of Forming Stage
Clearing Objectives, Giving Support in the Capital, Site and Personnel.
In the primary stage of team development, most residents of the community for the same hobbies
organize to make activities together. Members have high enthusiasm and motivation to entertain.
Objective, structure, leadership of the team are uncertain and the team has no planning and longterm objectives. Lack of resources and location of activities, activity time is not regular and
cannot be guaranteed, condition of activities and facilities is very simple and crude. So the
management focus of this phase is to clear the team’s expectations, encourage and help the team
to make goals and work plans, develop team activities.
Management Strategies of Storming Stage
Building Platform, Guiding in Classification, Highlighting the Characteristics.
In the second stage, the objectives of the team begin to get agreement in team members. In this
process, the belonging to the team and a sense of identity of members is further strengthened. The
expectation of serving the community will rise, but the team culture has not yet formed.
According to these characteristics, managers should encourage the team leader and team
members to develop a clear plan for self-development, which should be consistent with team
development goals. Consciously creating conditions to help them to grow, creating a platform,
expanding its space activities, attracting them to participate in community construction. Guiding
the team in classification forms the unique culture of the each team.
Management Strategies of Norming Stage
Training the Core Members, Encouraging Innovation.
In the third stage, team members begin to form a close relationship between themselves. They
will have a strong team sense of identity and friendship. The motivation of team members who
joining the team is changed from enjoyment to get happiness though service to others. This stage
focuses on formatting team spirit. During the formation of team cohesion and team spirit, team
leader and backbone play an important role. So it is important to pay attention to train team’s core
members. In this stage, the teams become matured, can be leaded to keep pace with the times, be
closed to the residents’ lives. In this stage, the members in the community should develop mutual
help and improvement among the different team. Gradually, they will innovate the learning style
of the team; lift the learning efficiency of the team.
Management Strategies of Performing Stage
Using the Method of Evaluation to Encourage, Lifting the Self-Manage Ability of the Team.
In this stage, the ability and high cohesion of the team is obviously enhanced. The team makes a
contribution in building civilized communities, plays a role for the maintenance of community
harmony and stability, and wins the recognition of the society. According to Maslow’s hierarchy
of needs, respect and self realization need become the main motivation of this stage of team
members to participate in activities. The incentive should reward team achievement, also
recognize individual contributions. In this stage, a lot of loose and highly arbitrary groups have
gradually grown up to the folk teams having some self-management ability and discipline after
Management Strategies of Adjourning Stage
People-Oriented, Strengthening Humanistic Care.
After several years of cultivation, the management systems of some community folk teams
become more perfect, which produces a batch of brand team with well- known characteristics in
the community, the city and even in the country. They integrate the existing resources of
community and adopt a variety of novel form to guide the community residents to participate in
community construction by using the propaganda position in community; however, some team
also appear phenomena such as disorganized, loss of members, dissolution etc.. It is encouraged
that the team do succession planning and actively recruit new members. In the adjustment phase,
it should pay attention to strengthen the humanistic care, highlight the concept of people-oriented,
understand the change of emotion of members, improve the enthusiasm and creativity of the team
and stimulate the potential of team members.
This research was supported by 2015 Shanghai Social Sciences Planning Project under Grant
2015JG009-BGL307 and 2017 National Social Science Foundation under Grant 17BGL099.
 Tuckman, B. W. Developmental Sequence in Small Groups [J]. Psychological Bulletin,
 Tuckman, B.W. and M.A. Jensen. Stages of Small-group Development Revisited [J]. Group
and Organization Studies, 1977 (4): 419-427.
 Bonebright D A. 40 Years of Storming: a Historical Review of Tuckman’s Model of Small
Group Development [J]. Human Resource Development International. 2010(13)4: 111-120
 Robbins S P., Judge T A. organizational Behavior. Renmin University of China press. 2003
 Robbins, H., and M. Finley. Why Teams don’t Work. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.2000.
 Nash, S., and C. Bolin. Teamwork from the Inside Out: Fieldbook. Palo Alto, CA: DaviesBlack2003.
Application of Tuckman’s Model in the Community Folk Team