Team Dynamics and Conflict Resolution are a common part of today's workforce. They are advantageous for the productivity and morale of the individual employees. Yet with all groups comes conflict. Knowing how to handle group conflict effectively and still work together is an integral part of a successful team. First, we will take a look at Team Dynamics understanding what a group is, types of groups, and the function of group members. Next, we will focus on social changes in the workplace, group development process, group roles and norms which include; basic building blocks of group dynamics, the effects of group structure, member characteristics on the group outcome, and a checklist for managers who wish to ensure proper group development. Secondly, we will focus on Conflict Resolution in today's workforce. We first will need to look at what "conflict" means, then discuss the three types of conflict in a group, two constructive and destructive conflict, conflict styles, approaches to conflict management, group cohesion, adapting to differences, and finally balancing conflict and cohesion in work teams. A "group" can be defined as two or more freely interacting people who share collective norms and goals and have a common identity. Individuals join groups, or are assigned to groups, to accomplish various purposes that are usually divided into two major groups, known as a formal or informal group. If the group is formed by a manager to help an organization accomplish goals, then it qualifies as a formal group: Formal groups wear labels such as work groups, team, committee, quality circle, or task force. An informal group exists when the members overriding purpose of getting together is friendship or common interests. Team Dynamics and Conflict Resolution in Work Teams 3
Formal groups fulfill two basic functions; organizational and individual which are listed below in Table 12-2.
A team of researches from Auburn University recently proposed the instructive model shown in Figure 12-2. They call it Workplace Social Exchange Network (WSEN) because it captures multilevel social exchanges within organizations, along with the complex network of variables affecting those exchanges.
Social relationships are complex, alive, and dynamic; every employee has social exchanges on three levels: with organization, with the boss, and with the work team as a whole. From the individuals perspective, exchanges at various levels can be favorable or unfavorable. They can be motivating or demodulating, depending on the perceived equality of the exchange. For example, someone may have quality exchanges with his Team Dynamics and Conflict Resolution in Work Teams 5 or her supervisor and work teams, thus wanting to be around them, are motivated to work hard for them, and be loyal to them. However, because the organization has a reputation for massive layoffs the employee-organization exchange would be looked at unfavorably, thus fostering dissatisfaction and possibility poor performances and turnover. The WSEN model includes three interviewing factors; organizational structure, organizational culture, and employee needs. Organizational structure may be in the form of reporting relationships, policies, and work rules- shapes the individual's expectations about what is fair and what is unfair. So do cultural norms and traditions create a context for judging the fairness of social exchanges? People are motivated when they have a realistic chance of having their needs satisfied. Overall the WSEN model does a good job of building a conceptual bridge between motivation theories and group dynamics. Also, it realistically indicates the multilevel nature of social relationships with organizations. Groups and teams in the workplace go through a maturation process. Agree among theorist that the group development process occurs in identifiable stages, they...