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Functional Conflict

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  • Feb. 10, 2013
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Functional Conflict

Functional conflict within a team can be defined as the process by which diversities and misunderstandings arise in a workplace, including the processes to resolve them. These differences cause friction between members and hinder (or completely halt) performance. Functional conflict consists of managing these misunderstandings, viewing the areas of collision from another’s perspective, compromising on the disagreement and becoming more sensitive to team issues in the future.

Workplace conflict has been documented as far back as the late 1800’s.¹ It is, for the most part, perceived as a negative subject because it can detract from continuing with productivity and personally impact team members. The main sources of discord erupt from underlying issues that build up because they are not vocalized properly. Other issues happen immediately either externally or between differing morals of each member. Disagreement is the negative part of conflict and it must be properly solved to ensure the ‘Functionality’.

It is natural and healthy for people to discuss pertinent scenarios that arise. The important issue is using conflict to become more ‘functional’ in the workplace.² To bring functionality to the conflict it is first necessary to understand the individual team members and why they are struggling.³ Each member will have different values and find resolution to the conflict in varying manners. The next step is talking individually to people; this will help generalize the problems. Also, allowing members to be vocal with their issues will diminish the stress about being heard, and allow everyone to be more sensitive. When member’s beliefs are properly addressed it will increase their morale, boost teamwork and make conflict resolution in the future a much smoother procedure. (Understanding each individual member of your team can be very complex. Focus on common topics that are relatable to all parties. Everybody person has different...