Cog's Ladder

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Cog's Ladder of group development is based on the work, "Cog's Ladder: A Model of Group Growth", by George O. Charrier, an employee of Procter and Gamble, published in a company newsletter in 1972. The original document was written to help group managers at Procter and Gamble better understand the dynamics of group work, thus improving efficiency. It is now also used by the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, and other businesses - to help in understanding group development.


The basic idea of Cog's Ladder is that there are five steps necessary for a small group of people to be able to work efficiently together. These stages are the polite stage, the why we're here stage, the power stage, the cooperation stage and the esprit stage. Groups can only move forward after completing the current stage as in Jean Piaget's stage model.

Polite Stage

An introductory phase where members strive to get acquainted or reacquainted with one another. During this phase, the basis for the group structure is established and is characterized by polite social interaction. All ideas are simple, controversy is avoided and all members limit self-disclosure. Judgements of other members are formed, and this sets the tone for the rest of the group's time.

Why We're Here Stage

Group members will want to know why they have been called together. The specific agenda for each planning session will be communicated by the moderator or leader. In this...
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