Kuhn, T., & Poole, M. (2000). Do Conflict Management Styles Affect Group Decision Making?. Human Communication Research, 26(4), 558.
Unlike most studies of conflict which are focused on the immediate outcomes of the conflict episode, the authors here have tried to prove through systematic investigation that conflict styles established early in a group’s life influence its later activities. The attention of the study is on conflict management rather than conflict resolution. To prove this, authors have proposed a hypothesis based on the effectiveness of three categories of group conflict management style: avoidance, distributive, and integrative styles. They also have a research question explaining the relationship among the level of task complexity, conflict management style, and group decision-making effectiveness.
The three categories of group conflict management style discussed here are avoidance style, distributive style, and integrative styles. Avoidance describes behavior that serves to minimize addressing the conflict explicitly, either ignoring it or quickly shifting conversation to a different issue; it is both unassertive and uncooperative. A distributive style is a confrontive approach that results in one side conceding to the other. Finally, an integrative style is one in which parties employ cooperative behaviors intended to pursue mutually favorable resolutions. Integrative conflict management implies an attempt to come to the best (or at least an acceptable) solution for all concerned parties. These conflict management styles have various influences on the decision making effectiveness of the group, in both performance outcome and subjective outcomes.
The study’s design employed direct observation of established groups over a considerable period of time. The sample data used is from a field study that videotaped group meetings in their natural context, and is of 11 groups of two organizations. These groups usually met twice monthly,...
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