Conflict Resolution in Groups

Topics: Conflict, Conflict management, Conflict process Pages: 11 (2879 words) Published: November 4, 2008
Conflict Resolution in groups
Robert (Bob) Mahon
English 1150: Composition
Matt Norsworthy
Summer 2006
National American University

This paper will delve into the area of conflict and how conflict resolution can be effective in a group setting. Conflicts can arise in our daily lives whether it is in a personal situation or a business environment. Knowing how to recognize the conflict and then addressing the issues in a structured manner can make all the difference in coming to a successful resolution without offending the members in the group.

Conflict Chaos
What is Conflict? According to Webster’s New World Dictionary (1967, New World Publishing) “Conflict: to clash; be antagonistic, incompatible, etc. A fight or struggle.” This description of conflict only touches the surface of what it really means. There are many ways to describe conflicts. People can conflict with scheduling, religion, age, sex, and gender. We encounter these conflicts almost on a daily basis. In a group setting, most of the conflict is within the people themselves. Human beings are a very stubborn species. We like to have everything our own way. When we are in a group setting, we cannot always have our way. In a study conducted by Plato in the 18th century, he studied how humans reacted in group settings versus individual behaviors. Plato discovered that most people were prone to behaving in a hostile manner when banded together in a group. Another study conducted by Publius concluded; “In very numerous assemblies, of whatever character composed, passion never fails to wrest the scepter from reason. Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob” (American Psychological Association (pg698). During the 18th century, historians were trying to figure out what caused conflicts. Conflict arises on occasion when you bring new and different people together to participate in interactive activity. In an office environment, many different personalities work together, which is not always an easy task. Different personalities may arise such as the Giver, Thinker, Organizer, and the Adventurer. Different personalities can be beneficial to an office. The benefits to having different personalities can bring qualities and quantities to a company and organization. The different styles of thinking such as a Thinker can bring harmony to the accounting department with new ideas on managing money. An organizer can find new ways to keep files and important documents in order. Different people around each other can bring out the best in others and open eyes to attitudes and opinions. The most common incompatibility in groups of people is conflict of interests. Interpersonal conflict occurs when the actions of one person attempting to maximize his or her own goals to prevent, block, or interfere with another person attempting to maximize personal goals. Common examples among group members include control over resources (“I want to use the computer now!”), preferences over activities (“I want to meet at the coffee shop now!”), and a range of relationships issues that often result in name calling, insults, threats, or physical aggression (“You are a real jerk!”).(Johnson & Johnson, 1995a). Differences of opinion and attitudes will make drastic changes to various personalities. These changes can affect the group both positively and negatively. The people in the group will learn how to negotiate and solve their problems amongst each other. This is an important trait to learn while working in a group environment. Team Performance

Conflicts can affect team performance both negatively and positively in various forms. Two types of conflict that are most prevalent in groups are substantive conflict and emotional conflict. Substantive conflict is defined as a breakdown in the decision making process....
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