Whether groups are formed for social or task oriented purposes, the ability to produce and maintain a sense of affiliation, peer support and collaboration is important for overall group functioning. The cohesion of a social group is produced through the establishment of a set of group norms, which are later defined as a guide for conduct accepted within a group of individuals. However, in order for a group to perform and produce results, the team leader should guide his/her team through the proper stages of group development, which includes the following steps: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. Although teams should follow all these stages of group development, the forming and the norming stages are the most important,
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Then through the forming stage, the group members move away from differing group norms, interact and eventually find common ground within the group and establish a unified group norm. The importance of developing a group norm is also illustrated in an experimental study done on group norms and self-aggressive behaviors, which indicated that the establishment of a group norm played a crucial role in the expression of self-inflicted aggression. This tendency to conform to a group norm was shown to influence individual behavior, such as the enhancement of self-image associated with group identification. Therefore, the formation stage in a group process is important, since it develops group norms by requiring the individual to gather data and impressions on similarities and differences within the group and rely on a strong authoritative leader for guidance.
The second important stage in group development is the norming stage, which emphasizes interpersonal relations and group cohesion. This is the stage at which the members are actively acknowledging each other through learning about one another and developing group cohesion. Through this stage, individuals begin to share leadership roles and dissolve former cliques and contribute to the overall success of group functioning. This will also increase the sense of group belonging, and individual invested interest in solving any issues within the group. This stage is