Strategies for Resolving Team Conflict

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Intenational Affairs

Strategies for Resolving Team Conflict

Ciuchi Madalina
Comanescu Andreea
Ivan Adrian

Group 412
2nd year

Strategies for Resolving Team Conflict

    Many organizations, including colleges and major corporations, have begun the process of implementing work team systems. Teams present a greater diversity of knowledge, ideas, and experience than any one individual can offer. This diversity often helps to improve quality, create collaboration, enhance information exchange, and provide a sense of community and support to the team members ; however, it can also foster conflict. Conflict is a part of everyday life and is generally caused by individual opinions and differences. “When individuals work in teams, differences in power, values, attitudes, and social factors can all contribute to conflict”. Avoiding conflict completely is impossible; however, the resulting outcome does not have to be negative. Using effective strategies to manage conflict can present positive consequences as well.

Preventative Measures

    Prevention is usually the best cure for most problems. When all members participate in setting rules and guidelines, open communication and mutual understanding is created within the team that may defuse a conflict before it becomes a problem. “It is, after all, easier to agree on guidelines and processes everyone believes are fair when things are going well, rather than when the team members are in the midst of conflict”. When the team makes these decisions as a group instead of receiving direct instructions from an authority figure, they are able to take ownership in the decision made and enforce it more effectively. In addition, various training courses and workshops are offered that team members can take advantage of to build awareness and acquire skills which could reduce or even prevent conflicts from arising in the first place. Some of these programs include team building, diversity training, communication workshops, and conflict management seminars.

                                              First Steps in Conflict Resolution

      Despite exercising preventative measures, the possibility that conflict may occur still exists. When conflict does arise, the first step is to analyze and understand the problem. The team members should try to discover the causes and reasons for the disagreement. Each team member should examine their own individual response to the conflict and determine if their reactions are supportive of or interfering with the overall success of the team. The team members should also examine the consequences of not being able to solve the conflict, as well as discuss ways to settle the conflict within the team. Finally, the team should decide which conflict resolution strategy to apply to the situation.

                                      Employing Conflict Resolution Strategies

    After the team members have analyzed the conflict and have a complete understanding of the situation, they are then equipped to resolve the conflict by employing the conflict resolution strategy which they have decided upon as a team. “Ralph H. Kilmann and Kenneth W. Thomas, authors of the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, have identified five general approaches to dealing with conflict:   avoidance; accommodation; competition; compromise; and collaboration” . Each style of dealing with conflict varies in the degrees of cooperativeness and assertiveness. Cooperativeness refers to the party’s desire to satisfy the other’s concern, and assertiveness describes the party’s desire to satisfy their own concern . While most people generally have a preferred conflict resolution style, different styles can be useful in different situations. No one strategy is appropriate in all situations—each requires a different amount of time, energy, and...
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