≡ Menu

Tubb’s Theory- Small Group Communication


The studies regarding the group development have been done by the researchers for many years. As the result of this study diverse model have been proposed. Tubb’s theory is one among the linear models of group development.

tubb's theory small group communication

Source: Rawpixel Ltd/Adobe Stock

This theory was proposed by Stewart L. Tubbs, professor of management at The Darrel H. Cooper. He completed his studies from the bowling green state university and doctorate from the University of Kansas. As recognized as an outstanding teacher and scholar, he also has been awarded for his conduct as a teacher by the University of Kansas and Academy of business administration of London. He is the author of popular books such as human communication, principles and contexts etc.


Group communication involves the interaction between two or more people and transmits verbal and nonverbal messages. This interaction can be influential and will try to persuade one another. Researchers have framed several theories to explain the effects of group interaction and their evolution.

Decision making in a group communication is a very important factor to come up with an idea unanimously. As a group, the decision making includes reflective thinking and standard agenda. It was developed by John Dewey.

A careful systematic approach to a problem is reflective thinking and making use of a six step guide to take their decision is called standard agenda.

  • Step 1- Problem identification: To identify the problem and finding the reason to that problem.
  • Step 2- Problem analysis: Analysing the problem and identifying the forces that play in the group’s situation.
  • Step 3- Criteria selection: Identifying the goals of the final decision.
  • Step 4- Solution generation: As a group come up with many solutions.
  • Step 5- Solution evaluation and selection: Select solution as the criteria.
  • Step 6- Solution implementation: Implementing the solution.

Brainstorming is a decision making tool. Here the members of the group are asked to come up with as many ideas as possible. Everything is noted down and in the end the best one is chosen.

The Nominal group technique is usually employed after a brainstorming session. Here the group members are asked to write down all the possible solutions for the existing problem and asked to rank them. Then the facilitator will give the ideas an average score. The highest priority will have the lowest rank.

Related: Creativity in Groups

Tubb’s theory is based on four definite stages that the group endures before it finally resolves. This theory we can see the model experiences a group change as a consistent variation through a series of stages.

Four stages of Tubb’s Theory

  1. Orientation-The first step is about getting to know each other. Here the members share their problems and will prepare the restrictions and opportunities assumed in confronting the problem.
  2. Conflict– At this stage the problem is analyzed and each individual tries to convey get into a solution through their perspective. In a small group communication this type of responses increases individual’s participation and the groupthink can be avoided. A high level of individuality can be sustained.
  3. Consensus– Out of the many solutions by each individual, as a group they will reach to an agreement and will select the best feasible answer to the problem.
  4. Closure– In the final stage, the announcement of the decision taken by the people. The final solution is confirmed by the people to support their ultimate decision.


Satchi & satchi, an ad agency is being approached by Pepsico to create an ad campaign. The demand was to make the campaign unique and crowd pulling. The agency people assured the quality of the campaign.

In order to come up with a unique idea, brainstorming session was conducted by dividing the employees into small groups. By applying the tubb’s theory, we can see how the group come up with a solution to the problem.

  1. Orientation– The employees understanding the demand of the client and the agency.
  2. Conflict– Understanding the demand, each of them tries to come up with an idea.
  3. Consensus – Evaluating each idea and picking the best out of them.
  4. Closure – Announcement and application of the idea chosen for the ad campaign.


The application of his views is difficult to apply in real world situations. The problem solving in a small group is more complicated than the proposed theory.

As a group, finding a solution where everyone collectively agrees is a very challenging position when it comes to a group. The theory fails to bring up the actual problem a small group is confronting such as the fear among the members to communicate openly within a group which leads to groupthink.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Khaled Alyami January 17, 2020, 6:38 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing but my question is this:
    What is the difference between Tubb’s model and Fisher’s model? Aren’t they the same thing with a little difference in naming the last two phases of reaching a decision?

Leave a Comment