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Phase Models

Phase models, like the well-known Team Clock or the Group Dynamic phases, are often used for the understanding of teams. This has a relatively large disadvantage: they focus on the ‘group’, i.e. on the social aspect of the team and not on the group goals and their formation, processing and regeneration. With this, though, the priorities are unfavourably displaced. At the same time a rigid sequence (clock!) is assumed, which cannot be found in real life. Phase models suggest a false sense of security and have a need to explain where there is deviation. Ultimately, they easily succumb to a hidden ‘maturity logic’ (mature teams!) and, therefore, are threatened with becoming static and normative (“Are you a mature team yet?”).

As so often, the alternative is to remember that temporal processes can only ever be understood paradoxically. At any ‘one’ time, the respective present, only one side of the distinction can be utilised! Teams process ‘many’ ‘opposing’ goals and are not ‘one’ group!

Analysis, supported by theory, about how teams process unavoidable paradoxes, which hide in the guiding distinctions and in the subsequent further decision-making necessities, appears to us much more efficient than group phase models. In this way, patterns and situations of teams can be grasped and influenced much more, specifically and situationally.