Groups That Work: Structure and Process

By Paul H. Ephross; Thomas V. Vassil | Go to book overview

9
Stages/Phases of
Group Development

OVER THE PAST FIFTY YEARS or so, a series of formulations of stages of group development have appeared. Early social and behavioral formulations included those of Bennis and Shepard (1956), Bales and Strodtbeck (1956), and a variety of others, which have been summarized well by Tuckman (196$).Within social work, there have been several influential formulations, among them, those of Garland, Jones, and Kolodny (1965), Sarri and Galinsky (1967), Northen (1969), and Hartford (1972). Among social psychologists, stages have been conceptualized by Mann (1967), Mills (1984), and Glidewell (1975).Table 9.1 summarizes the various formulations.The similarities are striking. Each of the frameworks posits a sequential series of stages, or phases. The specific stages vary somewhat, in that the number of specific stages and the titles assigned to them differ.Thus Garland, Jones, and Kolodny posit five stages. Tuckman's previous four-stage model may be extended to a five stages by including termination as a phase. Sarri and Galinsky listed seven stages; Hartford five, and so on.

A number of authors have suggested, at first indirectly and later directly, that women's groups, groups exclusively made up of women or groups that are staffed by women, particularly groups of a therapeutic purpose, may go through different stages or a different progression of stages from either mixed groups or groups that are composed of men. Among these writers are Reed and Garvin (1996), Schiller (1995), and Garvin (1997).

The best developed of these stage theories is Schiller's, which suggests normative differences for feminist groups and for women in groups. While accepting the first and last stages of the Boston model (Garland, Jones, and Kolodny, 1965), she suggests that stages 2 through 4 for women in groups are: (2) the establishment of a relational base; (3) mutuality and interpersonal empathy; and (4) challenge and change.

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