Tuckman’s Four Stages of Group Development in Bartending
Group formation has been found by research to go through four stages of development. These stages are forming, storming, norming and the performing stage. (Tuckman, 1965) I am going to discuss how these stages related to my job as a bartender and what took place in all of the stages.
The forming stage is when the members are introduced and information gathering occurs. (PSU World Campus, 2013) With my job as a bartender, this usually happened in training. The person that was training the new hire would ask that person questions so they could get to know them and make them feel comfortable. The trainer also asked questions to determine their skills and knowledge. It was important as the trainer to assess areas where they were either lacking or very proficient. Some people had no experience. Other may have worked at a martini bar and was great at that but very unknowledgeable about wines.
The storming stage is “characterized by group conflict” and includes group members determining how a task will be executed. (PSU World Campus, 2013) I can relate this to my bartending experience because when you are really busy you have to make a decision about the best plan of action. The conflict in my scenario would be getting overwhelmed. When this occurred you would have to decide who was best and fastest at doing certain things. Some people dealt with customers better and others excelled at knocking out making drinks quickly.
Norming is when there is an “emergence of a leader and development of group norms” appear. (PSU World Campus, 2013) I think it is completely normal for a leader to appear in any group. In my experience with bartending this leader is usually someone who has seniority or the individual or individuals that perform the job the best. Usually people with seniority have been doing the job for a very long time and are very capable of giving people instructions and direction on what to do. People that are exceptional good get to almost bypass seniority status because they have the skills to back it up and influence people to the point where others listen to them and do what they say. People begin to work together better as a team after this stage because the leaders are apparent and everyone knows their place in the group.
Lastly is the performing stage. This stage is characterized by the group being functional and the goal is performance of group tasks. (PSU World Campus, 2013) In bartending, and with my experience, this takes place when all the people working together are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses as well as the other peoples. This is where there is sort of a flow. Everyone knows their place and everyone works as a machine to get the common goal reached. That common goal is having high sells and making good tips. Everyone plays up their strengths and covers other people’s weaknesses.
I think anyone who has ever worked on a team or participated in a group can correlate it to Tuckman’s four stages of group development. There will usually be forming, storming, norming and a performance stage. The image depicts how you don’t necessarily always go from stage two, to three, then four. (Bales, 1965)After forming it is possible to revisit stages in different orders. Groups can change when a member leaves or enters and the stages can then be revisited.
Bales, R. F. (1965) ‘The equilibrium problem in small groups’ in A. P. Hare, E. F.
Borgatta and R. F. Bales (eds.) Small Groups: Studies in social interaction,
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Pennsylvania State University. (2013). Lesson 9: Team Leadership. Retrieved from
Tuckman, B.W. (1965) Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological
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