Affiliated Organization

Indiana University, USA


Group development research has proposed various models to explain how new groups form, work together,and disband. Most of these models fall into one of two categories: stage models, often exemplified by Tuckman,(1965); and the punctuated equilibrium model of Gersick (1988). In this paper we develop an integrated model ofgroup development that combines these two types of models into one model. We studied six newly-formed medicalgroups that worked on similar projects over a seven week period. Three groups worked normally, while three useda Group Support System (GSS) that was new to them. The behavior of the three “normal” groups followed thepunctuated equilibrium model while the group behavior for the groups that used a GSS more closely resembled thestage model. We use scripts (behavioral templates that guide a person in thinking about how to behave in commonlyencountered situations) as the foundation of our integrated model of group development. We argue that when groupmembers enact similar scripts, ones that fit with each other, they can quickly begin work on the task with littlediscussion (similar to the punctuated equilibrium model). When group members do not share common scripts andenact scripts that are not compatible, group members must first work to integrate their scripts and negotiate how theywill work together before work on the task can begin (similar to the stage model).