Phases in Group Development: The Negative Evidence

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Evidence contrary to the widely held view that groups move through discernible developmental phases is analyzed in detail. Definitional issues relating to "phases in group development " and "group types " are considered. Reviews and thirteen studies (to 1981) cited by others as not supporting the existence of developmental trends are mterpreted in this context. Methodological and conceptual problems are noted. The negative evidence as such does not seem persuasive. It ts concluded that researchers' attention should no longer be devoted to trying to provide a yes or no answer to the question "Do groups change?" but rather to identifying significant differences and similarities in group development among various groups and types of groups, and to relating variations in developmental processes to important group outcomes.

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Small Group Research, v. 15, issue 1, p. 3-32