Conflicts in Teams
Working in teams is growing throughout both the professional and academic environments. The definition of a team is a group that has the same commitments and goals (What is a Team, 2001). Teams are used in the academic environment for many reasons. Teams in the academic setting helps students learn the information better. For some students, information that they have trouble grasping, may help to hear it from a peer who can put it into a different perspective. Another main reason an academic settings uses teams is to get students used to working with others to produce a product. Many organizations use teams to produce a product or wanted outcome. Starting teams during education helps students prepare for this. Teams are used in the professional setting for several reasons as well. One reason teams are used in professional atmosphere is to produce a product. Another reason teams are used in the workplace is to make the proper decisions for the company as a whole. When working in teams conflicts can arise, in fact it is inevitable. According to De Janasz, Dowd, and Schneider (2001)
Conflict is any situation in which there are incompatible goals, cognitions, or emotions
within or between individuals or groups that lead to opposition or antagonistic
interaction. It is the struggle between incompatible and opposing needs, wishes, ideas,
interests or people. (p.242) Conflict is inevitable, learning how to cope, solve, and even avoid the conflict as well as how conflict can help a team, is crucial information to know in order to continue the team. Why Conflicts Arise
Conflicts arise in almost every team situation. There can be many reasons why conflict may arise within a team. Conflict happens when two or more people from a team, has opposing ideas or feelings, which may cause them to “butt heads.” A reason conflict might arise in a team because the team members may make assumptions, these assumptions at times may be wrong and unfounded, leading to disagreements and conflict between team members (Poter, 2003). Another reason conflict may arise is because of miscommunication or a misunderstanding. Unclear or even an abrasive tone may cause conflict as well. If a team member has a harsh tone when explaining something to other team members, even if this person does not think their tone is harsh, it may cause conflict. Lastly, conflict may arise due to just a difference in opinions on how things in the team should be handled. There are many reasons why conflict may arise within a team. Miscommunications, unclear tones wrong assumptions and just difference of opinions cause conflicts that can be avoided with the right information and resources. Avoiding Conflict
If the right steps are taken, some conflicts can be avoided. People working in teams need to take several steps and techniques to ensure there are as few conflicts as possible. A main way to avoid conflict is with communication. Communication can make or break a team. Team members have to be aware of both verbal and non-verbal communication. When communicating it may be best to use “I” language (De Janasz, Dowd, & Schneider, 2001). This is taking responsibility when communicating. Using this language will help other team members avoid getting upset. When people use language using the words “you”, it tends to make the other teammates feel that all the responsibility and even blame is on them. Another technique to use to avoid conflict is to remember that not everyone will agree, when this arises take the others ideas into consideration, and then with good tone explain other ideas and how they will help the team (De Janasz, Dowd, & Schneider, 2001). Lastly, the technique of agreeing to disagree can be helpful. Conflicts can never always be avoided. When a conflict does arise, you must first analyze and understand the conflict. Understanding Conflict
When a conflict arises before it can be resolved or even managed, we first have to understand it...
References: De Janasz, Dowd, & Schneider. (2001). Conflict: Sources & Solutions. Interpersonal Skills in Organizations. McGraw-Hill Companies.
Esquivel, M. A., & Kleiner, B. H. (1997). The importance of conflict in work team effectiveness. Team Performance Management. 3(2), pg. 89. Retrieved January 30, 2009, from ProQuest database.
Intro to Teams: What is a Team. (2001). Unit 1 Introduction Retrieved January 30, 2009 from http://www.apollolibrary.com/ltt/download/introdutiontoTeams.pdf
Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary. (2009). Retrieved February 12, 2009, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arbitration
National & Community Service. (2000). Resolving team conflict. Retrieved February 12, 2009, from http://www.nationalserviceresources.org/practices/17109
Poter, S. (2003). Managing Conflict in Learning Teams. Retrieved January 30, 2009 from http://www.apollolibrary.com/LTT/download/ManagingConflict.pdf
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