In 1965 a short article was written by Bruce Tuckman called ‘Developmental sequence in small groups’. Though the 27 year old Tuckman went on to become a well known figure in educational psychology, but this early work (amended in 1977) has long been seen as the definitive work on how groups grow and interact. Though we spend most of our time education people and organizations on the online interaction of individuals and groups, Tuckman’s insights are as valid today as they ever were. While the fifth and final stage of group interaction (Adjournment) may not be easily applied to the online group, there is no question that the four stages of group interaction that he defined in 1965 are as valid today as they ever were.
Here is a terrific infographic from the good folks at ColumnFive that explains clearly and simply how we interact in groups – I hope you find it as informative and entertaining as I did.