Hingst, Raymond D. (2006) Tuckman's theory of group development in a call centre context: does it still work? In: 5th Global Conference on Business & Economics, 6-8 July 2006, Cambridge, UK.
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[Abstract]: Tuckman’s four stage model has endured as the most widely accepted explanation of group development since its inception in 1965. Largely by virtue of the appeal of the rhyming phases: forming, storming, norming and performing; but also because the model has held an intuitive appeal to those who have experienced group dynamics as a process of evolution from formation to termination. Based on a review of research into group development over a near twenty year period, Tuckman’s model had a firm foundation in published evidence. The model was subject to revision in 1977, with Mary-Ann Jensen, when a fifth, adjourning stage, was added. The most obvious impacts of the addition of the extra stage were the more explicit alignment of the model with the concept of finite group duration; and further exposition of the model’s limited ability to effectively encompass changes in group membership. Those few researchers who have pursued the challenge to develop group theory which adequately addresses temporal change to membership have invariably noted the paucity of research in the field. Unfortunately, this has also led to the construction of complex models, usually derived from laboratory research, which retain neither the simplicity of Tuckman’s original, nor show evidence of being tested within the wider scope of working life within organisations. This paper presents findings which indicate that Tuckman’s model remains relevant to the development of groups within call centres, particularly during the period of initial training of newly selected employees and subsequently, with minor modification through the inclusion of an additional temporary ‘phase’, to describe conditions imposed on groups by transience of group membership within the operational arena on the ‘floor’ of a call centre.
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