Symbolic Convergence Theory Definition, Example and Strengths & Weaknesses

Symbolic Convergence Theory: History, Description, and Structure.  Symbolic Convergence Theory Strengths & Weaknesses, and Example.  Examples of Symbolic Convergence Theory.

Table of contents
  • What is Symbolic Convergence Theory?
  • History of the Symbolic Convergence Theory?
  • Description of Symbolic Convergence Theory.
  • Symbolic Convergence Theory Strengths & Weaknesses.
  • Examples of Symbolic Convergence Theory.
1. What is Symbolic Convergence Theory?

According to Symbolic Convergence Theory,  People share common fantasies and visions and these collections of individuals are merged into a cohesive group. SCT presents an explanation for the appearance of a group’s cohesiveness, consisting of shared emotions, motives, and meanings. Symbolic Convergence Theory consists of three words such as symbolic, convergence, and theory. Group members cooperatively create and sustain a shared consciousness including shared meaning through interaction.

1.1 What is Symbolic?

Symbolic is serving as a symbol that represents or expresses something else such as an idea, an action, quality without using words such as Code Words, Phrases, Slogans, and Gestures.

Example of Symbolic:

Code Words: What does FF: AC stands for?

FF: AC stands for “Final Fantasy: Advent Children”. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is a 2005 Japanese computer-animated science fantasy action drama film.

For example,  K.L = Kuala Lumpur, K.G= Kilogram, A.C= Air Conditioner

Phrases: Friday becomes a cool, wet afternoon.

Slogans: Think different is an advertising slogan used from 1997 to 2002 by Apple Computer, Inc.

Gestures: The common thumb up sign represents something approved and accepted.

Symbolic Convergence Theory (SCT)- Code Words Phrases Slogans Gestures

1.2 What is Convergence?

Convergence means forming a new unified whole or evolving into one through coming together with two or more things. Convergence comes from the prefix con- and verb verge. Here, prefix con means together, and the verb verge, which means to turn toward. We can use convergence to explain things that are in the process of coming together, like the slow convergence of your opinions with those of your mother, or for things that have already come together. For example, a crowd of mass people all move together into a group.

1.3 What is Theory?

The theory is a set of principles on which the practice of an activity is based. It is a formal concept or set of ideas that is aimed to explain something. For example, the Tw0-step flow of communication theory, Groupthink Muted Group Theory, SOCIAL IDENTITY THEORY,  Tubb’s Theory- Small Group Communication, and so on.

Symbolic convergence: When 2 or more private symbol worlds incline toward each other, come closer, or overlap, it is called a symbolic convergence.

Symbolic Convergence Theory

2. History of the Symbolic Convergence Theory?

Ernest Bormann established Symbolic Convergence Theory in 1972. SCT was first proposed by Ernest Bormann in the Quarterly Journal of Speech in 1972. Bormann and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota introduced SCT as a framework for discovering, describing, and explaining the dynamic process by which humans come to share symbolic reality.

SCT is a communication-related theory introduced by Ernest Bormann who is a Professor at the University of Minnesota in the United States. American communication theorist knew as the originator of symbolic convergence theory (SCT) and its attendant method, fantasy theme analysis, which both explore how the sharing of narratives or “fantasies” can create and sustain group consciousness.  He argued that group consciousness can occur at any level of communication, from within small groups to mass media. Thus, he identified symbolic convergence as a general theory of communication.

3. Description of Symbolic Convergence Theory

Symbolic Convergence Theory offers elucidation for the appearance of a group’s cohesiveness, consisting of shared emotions, motives, and meanings. Through SCT, members of the group can build a community or a group consciousness that grows stronger if they share a cluster of fantasy themes. Although this theory allows theorists and practitioners to anticipate or predict what did happen and what will happen it does not allow for control of human communication.

It attempts to explain how communication can create and sustain group consciousness through the sharing of narratives or fantasies. To foster this cohesiveness, dramatizing or using fantasy stories are significant types of communication involved in SCT. SCT explains that meanings, emotions, values, and motives for action are in the communication contexts by people trying to make sense out of a common experience. It is a process through which collectives create and share a consciousness and develop a common symbolic reality.

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Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development Model- Pros & Cons of Tuckman’s Theory.

Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development Model, Pros & Cons of Tuckman’s  Theory. Tuckman’s Model- Five Stages of Group Development are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. Advantages and Disadvantages of Tuckman’s Model.

Table of Content
  1. Tuckman’s Model.
  2. Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development
  3. Advantages and Disadvantages of Tuckman’s Model.
1. Tuckman’s Model

Bruce Tuckman introduced his group and team development model in 1965. In the 1970s, he added the fifth stage adjourning to his four stages of group development model. In 1977, Tuckman and Mary Ann Jensen added the fifth and final stage into Tuckman’s model. The name of the fifth stage is Adjourning which represents the happiness of achieving the interdependent group goal. Therefore, it is known as Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development Model.

According to Tuckman’s model, Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. It is one of the appropriate theories for explaining the behavior of group members with dynamic characteristics. A perfect theory to describe how to group and team members adjust and adapt in a group gradually.

 

Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development Model

Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development Model

What are the five stages of group development?

Tuckman’s Five Stages of Group Development are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning.

Although, in 1965 Tuckman proposed a four-stage of group development model but later he added the fifth stage called adjourning. Tuckman’s model assists group members to overcome the obstacles in the group and adjust in the group gradually.  Therefore, it is known as a group facilitation theory. Tuckman’s group development model consists of five stages that facilitate group formation and development, for example, forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.

1. Forming Stage:(Orientation)

Forming Stage of Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development Model

  • Members carefully explore both personal and group goals.
  • Tentatively feel uncomfortable about working with a group of strangers or unfamiliar colleagues try to understand and test personal relationships.
  • Orient itself to itself.

Primary Tension of Tuckman’s Five Stages of Group Development Model

  • Social unease and stiffness that accompanies the getting-acquainted stage in a new group
  • To be overly polite with one another
  • Members don’t interrupt one another
  • Often speak softly and avoid expressing strong opinions also talk less and provide little in the way of content.

How to Solve the Tension?

  • Be positive and energetic so that other members build positive attitudes toward you.
  • Smile and Laugh at others
  • Nod in agreement and Exhibit enthusiasm, because it is a very useful non-verbal cue to hold effective interactions.
  • Be patient and open-minded knowing that certainly, the primary tension will decrease with time.
  • Finally, Be prepared and informed before your first meeting so you can help the group focus on its task.
2. Storming Stage: (Power Struggle)

Storming Stage of Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development Model

  • Conflict ⇒ cohesion dialectic.
  • Leadership ⇒ follower ship dialectic.
  • Group members become argumentative also emotional.
  • The most confident members begin to compete for both social acceptance and leadership.
  • Many groups try to skip this stage in order to avoid competition and conflict
  • Conflict is necessary to establish a climate in which members understand the value of disagreeing with one another.

Secondary Tension of Tuckman’s Five Stages of Group Development

  • Frustrations and personality conflicts experienced by group members as they compete for acceptance and achievement within a group.
  • Members have gained enough confidence to become assertive and even aggressive as they pursue positions of power and influence.
  • High level of energy and agitation
  • The group is noisier, more dynamic, and physically active
  • Members speak in louder voices, interrupting and overlapping one another so that two or three people may be speaking at the same time.
  • Members sit up straight, lean forward, or squirm in their seats
  • Everyone is alert and listening intently.
How to Solve the Tension?
  • Making jokes.
  • Work outside the group setting to discuss the personal difficulties and anxieties of group members.
3. Norming Stage: (Cooperation)

Norming Stage of Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development Model

  • Actually, members start learning to work as a cohesive team and task-oriented.
  • Start developing “rules of engagement”.
  • Feel more comfortable with one another and are willing to disagree and express opinions – communication becomes open.
  • Finally, a feeling of trust and clear goals emerge.
4. Performing Stage: (Synergy)

Performing Stage of Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development Model

  • Members are fully engaged and eager to work at this stage.
  • Adjust and adapt, Members start solving critical problems.
  • Group identity, loyalty, and morale are generally high.
  • Disagreements do occur, but members usually resolved intelligently and amicably.
  • “Interaction patterns reflect virtually no tension; rather, the members are jovial, loud, boisterous, laughing and verbally backslapping each other”.
5. Adjourning Stage (Closure)

Adjourning Stage of Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development Model

  • Members have usually achieved their common goal and may begin to disband. It also represents whether the group members will work together or form a new group.
  • Disband = confront relational issues (For example, how to retain friendships with other members).
  • Finally, they are happy for what they have achieved but feel a sense of loss when the group dissolves.

Pros and Cons of Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development

Advantages of Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development Model

  • Firstly, this model clarifies the specific stages of any group and team for instance forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.
  • In addition to that, this model helps to learn more about primary tension and secondary tension also how to solve them.
  • Furthermore. It strengthens the relationship among group members and motivates them to be productive.
  • Finally, Tuckman’s group developing model shows the perfect way of solving group uncertainty issues.

Disadvantages and Limitation of Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development Model

  • Tuckman’s Theory consists of five important stages that really difficult to maintain one by one. Group members need to follow different instructions at every stage to maintain effective communication and a good relationship with group members.
  • Additionally, there is no specific solution that can solve all conflicts in group communication although suggested some recommendations to reduce conflicts.
  • Furthermore, it did not mention what would have happened if the storming stage had not been ended.
  • Finally,  this model has been failed to discuss why the group change over time.
Citation for this Article (APA 7th Edition)

Kobiruzzaman, M. M. (2021, January 30). Tuckman’s Model Five Stages of Group or Team Development Theory. Educational Website For Online Learning. https://newsmoor.com/tuckmans-model-five-stages-of-group-and-team-development-theory/