Business analysts and communication experts typically identify five stages of organizational development. Although there is some consensus among professionals and others with an interest in organizational development, the referenced five stages bear a multitude of different monikers. With that noted, the five stages of org development are:


The formation stage is precisely what the moniker suggests. This is the stage in which the concept for an organization is developed and the entity itself is launched. Typically, these efforts are led by an individual, or multiple individuals, who have a vision for the organization. The founder or founders leave a significant imprint on the organization during its formation phase. Indeed, insights and suggestions from outside a core group associated with the founder or founders are not likely to be considered.

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Early Period

The early period of an organization’s development cycle is also known as the storming and the childhood phase. The early stage of org development is turbulent and exiting. This stage typically lasts for between three to five years, although there is not specific timeframe set on concrete.

Normalization Period

The third stage of org development might best be called the normalization period. Others refer to this stage as the norming or adolescent stage.

During the normalization phase, organizational policies and procedures become the norm within the entity. Duties associated with the operation of the organization are dispersed among an increasing number of individuals. These individuals have a tendency to act cohesively and as a unit during this phase of development. The period if not marked by intense competition between individuals associated with the organization.

Peak Period

The peak period is also referred to as the performing or mature phase. This is the stage in which an organization typically proves to most productive. At this stage, an organization is relying upon firmly established policies and procedures.

During the peak period, a new cadre of leaders may begin to rise within an organization. Competition between people associated with the organization begins to rise, at least to some degree.


The last phase of organizational development is a reevaluation. Other names applied to this stage are adjourning or renewal. Adjourning is not the best term of art for this phase because it signifies an ending. The reality is that the stages ooforganizational development are not linear but are cyclical.

When an organization reaches this stage, a comprehensive re-evaluation occurs. This includes an examination of policies, procedures, and personnel. Based upon this examination, different changes are expected to occur in regard to everything from personnel to policies and procedures to the structure of the organization itself.

Because significant changes are likely to occur a this stage, the developmental process typically circles back. There is something of a reformation that occurs in this phase that sends the development process back around to the proverbial “start.”

By having an understanding of the five stages that typically occur within the growth cycle of an organization individuals involved with an entity have a better idea of to perform their designated roles. The five stages of organizational development also provide a structure around which short and long term planning effectively can be undertaken.