There are many group development theories and models that can be used to study and categorise group development. All these theories use different methods that apply to the development of a group, but some of them are way too complicated, while others are simply inefficient.
Tubbs' systems model, developed by Stewart Tubbs, sits in the category of simple to understand yet insightful.
Tubbs proposed that there are four different phases of group development.
The first phase is orientation. Here, the group is actually formed while people talk to each other, form bonds, friendships and talk about their problems. During this phase they also examine the potential limitations of the project that they are working on and think about its future and prospects.
After the orientation state, a group will go through the conflict stage. The conflict stage is necessary, as it is where people evaluate ideas and come up with new ideas. The word conflict can carry negative associations but if this phase is facilitated effectively it may not necessarily be negative. The way in which the team behaves will have implications for the rest of the project as it is here that culture is born.
The third stage is the consensus. During this phase, the conflict ends and group members try to select the good ideas or find alternatives to them. This stage is important, as it leads to the final decision, which is made in the closure phase.
During closure, group member are viewing the actual result of group development and agree once again to the decision they supported in the first place. As a final phase closure is very important, but it can't simply exist without the other phases.
Tubbs' systems model is very useful for anyone interested in group development, as it provides a good way of actually checking the processes that people go through.