Understanding Cog’s Ladder

Cog's Ladder


In a company newsletter of 1972, George Charrier, an employee of Procter & Gamble published ‘Cog’s Ladder – A model of group growth’. In this model, Charrier tried to explain group dynamics and ways to improve its efficiency. This model after becoming successful for Procter & Gamble was adopted by a number of organizations including U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Naval Academy.

Objective of Cog Ladder

The objective of Cog Ladder is to make a group of people work efficiently towards a particular goal. It does this through five steps mentioned as follows.

i) Polite
ii) Why we are here
iii) Power
iv) Cooperation
v) Esprit

Describing the 5 Steps

1. Polite

‘Polite’ phase is the introductory stage of group formation where members get introduced to one another. This phase is so named because in this introductory phase members tend to remain polite to each other and try and seek information. This is a phase where members stay pleasant and avoid conflicts. As members are in a mood to be liked they actively participate in all activities. Actions are simple and devoid of conflicting ideas. Normally probation period of members in a group represents ‘polite’ phase.

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