Organizational Consultation XXIII: Empowerment (Part Three)

Organizational Consultation XXIII: Empowerment (Part Three)

Stage 4: Performing

During the fourth stage, emphasis is placed on constructive action directed at the successful completion of the task. The distinction between task and interpersonal behavior fades here, for the energy that was previously invested in interpersonal issues now will be devoted to the task. In the area of task behavior, the final stage of group development may be identified as the emergence of solutions. It is at this stage that genuine attempts are made toward the successful completion of the task.

In the area of interpersonal behavior, the fourth stage can be described as functional. Because the subjective issues of interpersonal relationships have been dealt with during the first three stages, group members can now function objectively as instruments of effective problem solving. In the realm of task behavior, group members in the performing stage attempt to answer the question: “How can we successfully complete this task?” In the realm of interpersonal behavior, group members attempt to answer the question: “What can each of us contribute to the successful completion of this task?”

Implications of Group Development Model

If groups develop through predictable stages over time, as Tuckman’s model suggests, then three consequences for group leaders and members become apparent. First, a developmental sequence in the behavior of groups is in some sense inevitable, and group members would be well advised to appreciate this inevitability and provide time for this multi-stage development. A high level of task performance cannot be expected from groups at early stages in their development. Second, leaders can help groups move smoothly from stage to stage. If a conscious effort is made to help group members answer the appropriate questions at each stage of the group’s development, the transition to the performance of stage four can be made more quickly and directly. Third, this four-stage model of group development can help group leaders and members diagnose current problems the group may be having as a function of a particular stage of the group’s development. This appreciation of the stages through which groups inevitably move is key in the creation of an appreciative organization.


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William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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